The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking a Test

Test taking is already stressful as it is, so why do we over-complicate the process? Today I’ll be going over things that you SHOULD do, versus a few things you should probably be more mindful of when test-taking.


DON’T try to pull all-nighters. This is more so for studying before a big examination. Cramming information into your brain all at once isn’t effective, or efficient, for that matter. Especially at night. As an example, if you were running a marathon the next day, you probably wouldn’t choose to ‘train’ for seven hours the day before. Similarly, trying to learn everything the night before isn’t a sustainable solution for test-taking. Instead, try studying for short periods of time every day leading up to the test!


DON’T do the questions in order. Although doing every question in numerical order might seem faster and more logical, it really isn’t. Skim through your questions and answer some obvious and easy ones first. After completing those, that’s when you should flip to the first page and work through the exam question by question.


DON’T allow yourself to get stuck on a problem for too long. It might be frustrating when you come to a question that challenges your knowledge, but don’t beat yourself up about it. If you get stuck on a problem, don’t fret. If you don’t understand it, you don’t understand it. There’s really not much you can do at this point. Try all the other questions, and when you’ve finished writing your test, go back to those unsolved problems to try them again.


*However, if it’s a multiple-choice question, choose ‘C’. (More on that later).


DON’T ignore your teacher’s directions. Most teachers will preface a test by saying general rules, such as: no cheating, no devices and no talking. But it is also customary for some teachers to state some test directions, like, which page corresponds to which page, what materials you may need, and which questions should be fairly easy to do. Pay attention to these instructions, because although a lot may just be common sense, you may find some really useful gems in there.


Moving on to things you should do…


DO skim your paper. The work ‘skim’ can be used in different contexts and mean completely different things. (Ex. skim milk) In this case, though, the word ‘skim’ means to briefly scan through your given assignment. This can be helpful in identifying the easier questions and can also make the test-taking process faster.


DO choose ‘C’. In a case when you’re stuck on a multiple choice question, choosing choice C would be your best bet. According to PrepScholar, Quora, Business Insider and many other sources, picking C on a multiple-choice problem has the highest probability of being correct!


Finally, DO study even if you think you know it all already. Oftentimes, you don’t. It is possible that at one point, you DID know everything, but it’s highly unlikely that you will retain all this information up until the day of your test. I strongly recommend studying before your assessment to renew your knowledge, learn new knowledge and discard any false knowledge that you thought was true but actually isn’t.


“If you don’t do your revision properly, you know what’ll happen? YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

- actor Sir Ian McKellen




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