Before The Test

Find out what the test will cover. What will the questions look like? Pay attention to any pretest samples of items on the test that you go over in class or receive prior to taking a test. Know as much about the format of the test as you can so that you do not have to puzzle out any directions on the day of the test.

Prepare yourself physically for the test. Get an adequate amount of sleep and eat a good breakfast before the test. If the test will be long and you will have a break, bring a nutritious snack to eat such as a cereal bar or a piece of fruit. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and heavy meats or fried foods that will make you nervous or burn off quickly and leave you tired. You cannot do your best if you are sleepy or hungry. Likewise, dress comfortably and dress with layers you can put on or take off if the room temperature is too cold or too hot.

Prepare yourself psychologically for the test. Arrive at your testing room early so you can relax before the test. Know that you will probably encounter some questions that are difficult for you but that you can get many of them correct. Sometimes the format alone will give you clues even if you do not know a word or have never seen material about a particular subject before. Trust yourself to think through the items you encounter. Know that you can do well. Like everything else, taking tests well requires practice; and, with practice, you can improve your scores. In fact, sometimes the passages on a test are interesting because they may be different from your regular class work.

Take a watch with you so that you can keep track of time without having to look around the room. On many tests you will need to pace yourself to finish all the items in the time allotted. Some students take their watches off and put them in front of them on their desks so that they can look at them frequently.

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