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Test Taking Tips

​​​​​​​​​​Exam Tip Links

Prior To The Exam

  • Study: This is an obvious tip, but make sure to plan your study accordingly. If you go over the material each day that you have the class, you will retain the information better.
  • Use flashcards: This is a good strategy to employ, especially for a class in which you have to know definitions. It is important to include an example of the term that you are studying on a flashcard because, on an exam, a professor may give you an example of the term and not simply ask for the definition. Including an example will also help you to understand the term, rather than simply memorizing it.
  • Create a review sheet: This is a great way to review for an exam. At the end of each week (or each class), jot down some questions from your notes/reading assignments (you play the role of the teacher) but do not write in the answers immediately. A week prior to the exam start answering your own questions – now you have an “instant pre-test/review sheet.” 
  • Talk to the professor: If you have any questions at all, go see the professor. Professors are the best resource for succeeding in class. Show them what you are reviewing so you can see if you are on the right track. 
  • Review with classmates: Get a study group together or work with one fellow classmate because you can bounce ideas or questions off of one other. Reviewing the work aloud will help you retain the material. 
  • Tutorial assistance: The Tutorial Center, located in the Office of Academic Services (2nd floor of the Phillips Memorial Library), has content tutors for most subjects. Make an appointment if you are unclear on some of the class material or if you would like additional time to review. Some academic departments also run their own tutorial sessions​.

During The Exam – Quick Tips:

  • Preview the exam: Take a look at the entire exam to see what it entails and manage your time accordingly. Be sure to read the directions carefully.
  • Do a mind dump: This is especially effective for an essay exam. Write down on a piece of paper all of the information that you know on the particular topic. This will help in recalling the information, and in organizing the material for your essay response. 
  • Do the easiest problems first: Go through the exam, and if you come to a question that is costing you too much time, circle it and go on to the next one. You do not want to spend too much time on a particular question because you are allotted only a certain amount of time to complete the exam. Remember: the more time you spend on one question, the less time you can spend on the next one to which you know the answer! 
  • Never leave a question blank: In general, it is always better to hazard a guess. You could get partial credit for your answer. If you leave a blank, you are guaranteeing yourself that you will receive no credit. 
  • Ask the professor for clarification: While taking the exam, if you come across something that you do not understand, ask the professor. He or she will not give you the answer, but you may gain a better understanding of what the professor is asking. ​