Studying and Test-Taking Skills Tips

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Strategies for Academic Success, Test Taking, & Overcoming Test Anxiety


  • Study in a quiet space, without any distractions like a cell phone, where you can focus . at home, at school, at a library, at a coffee shop.
  • Prioritize your time efficiently so you are able to get all homework and studying done.
  • Turn in homework assignments on time. If a teacher does not accept late work, incomplete work on time is better than nothing.
  • Attend class every day, on time.
  • Attend tutoring with your teacher (by appointment) or with tutors in the library after school.
  • Make sure you know what you missed after an absence and make up the work. Having a classmate's contact information is ideal.
  • Make up any quizzes or tests that you missed or that you are able to retake ASAP.

Tips for Overcoming Test Anxiety

- Take time to prepare for a test...don't try to cram everything into your head at the last minute.

· Read, then repeat. Go over material again and again.

· Close your eyes and visualize material such as dates and facts. Then during the test, you can close your eyes and visualize the same information.

· Build up your confidence. Do something you are really good at prior to the builds up your confidence before an exam.

· Ask your teacher for advice or to go over any concerns you have about an upcoming test.

· Relaxation (deep breathing, muscle tensing/relaxing), visualization (guided imagery...a peaceful, natural, relaxing scene), and positive self-talk ("I can to do this', "I will do my best', etc.) can be used to replace any negative feelings associated with taking tests.

· Aerobic exercise can help reduce your stress and extra energy, thus reducing the tension in your body.

Preparing and Taking Tests

  • Study! Review the material thoroughly. Allow plenty of time. Find a comfortable location.
  • Analyze how you did on a similar test in the past, review your previous tests and sample tests provided by your teacher.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. Take a small, nourishing snack with you as well.
  • Be on-time for school/class.
  • Stress can be contagious so try to avoid talking to others who are worried.
  • Listen carefully to test directions. Ask questions if you are unsure what to do.
  • Stay calm, be comfortable but do not slouch.
  • Relax and be confident, remind yourself that you are doing your best. Take deep breaths.
  • Do your best, have a positive attitude, and expect good results.
  • Strategize--start with easier questions, then move on to more difficult ones. Make sure to complete those with most point values.
  • Review—Look over all answers in case you misread instructions or made a careless error. Resist the urge to turn the test in right away and give yourself time to go back over responses.
  • On objective tests-eliminate obvious wrong answers.
  • On essays, create a broad outline with key points in sequence.


  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Budget time appropriately. Start with the easiest questions first. Skip those that you are not sure about and come back to them later.
  • Check work carefully.
  • Read the entire item and all answers.
  • On essay exams, organize your thoughts in a brief outline or graphic organizer, start with a short summary or topic sentence, and then make your points.
  • On multiple-choice exams, eliminate clearly wrong answers and make an educated guess.
  • Read questions to passage first and then read passage.
  • Look for key words (such as who, what, where, why, and how) that tell you what to look for when you read the passage.
  • When you come to a word you do not know, look for context clues.
  • For fill-in sentences, always read the entire sentence before you choose an answer. Once answer is chosen, reread the sentence.


  • When answering questions about maps, charts, graphs, or reference sources, always look back at the diagram to answer the questions. Don't rely on memory.
  • Look for key words such as less than, greatest, between, nearest, least, closest, and so on.
  • Reduce fractions.
  • Remember an equation must stay balanced.
  • Check subtraction by adding; check division by multiplying; check multiplication by dividing.
  • Draw graphs, pictures, or visual aids to help you visualize the problem.
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