So, you’re going to take a test today. A geometry test. Or a calculus test. Or a physics test. Doesn’t matter. You walk into the room, your teacher hands you the exam, and you find a seat. Then, you look at the test, glance at the clock, and start working. How do you feel? Stressed? Relaxed? Powerful? Did you give up before it even started? Forget everything you know about test taking and try this method!
Spend a minute or two reading the test. This is especially important for taking the ACT. Just look over it! Get a feel for the questions and the length. Touch it, smell it, tear the pages a little (don’t), and get comfortable with it. Find out what you know for sure and what you’ll need to spend time thinking about. Recall any equations you’ll need and how you would set up any problems. Relax and take all the mystery out of it!
Easy Questions First
Now that you know what your test looks like, it’s time to knock out the easy questions! Go through the test from beginning to end and take care of any questions you can answer correctly in one or two minutes. You’ll likely finish a big part of the test quickly and gain some confidence in the process. If you ever choose to get SAT prep help for your upcoming standardized test, your tutor will teach you how to focus on easy questions first. Then you can build a marking system to categorize more difficult questions as you go along.
Set Up Anything You’re Unsure About
Tricky questions take time. Use it wisely. Go back to the beginning and start doing some of the harder questions. If you’re taking a multiple-choice test, take the time to quickly jot down short definitions or explanations. If you’re solving equations, write out the first couple of steps you’d take to solve them. Then leave it alone and move to the next tricky problem. When you’ve gone through it and set up all the questions you can, go back and begin solving them. This will do two things for you. One, you’ll approach each question with brand new eyes. You’ll be able to find the answers because you’ve already started each question and are now focused on the small details. Two, you’ll save time and reassure yourself that you know what you’re doing. Remember, you’ve studied hard for this test, don’t let your confidence fail you!
Dive Deep, But Come Up For Air
Tackle those questions that give you the most difficulty. Give each of them your undivided attention. Take the time to think and make sure you’re on the right track. Once in a while, though, look up from your test and look at something else. Focus on something else for about 20 to 30 seconds. Glance at the clock, stretch, and do what you need to do to make yourself comfortable. Then, get right back to it.
One Last Look
When you’ve finished, take a minute or two to review your test and make sure you’ve answered everything to the best of your ability. Then:
Turn that thing in…
and forget about it.
That’s right. Put it out of your mind. You’ve studied, you’ve prepared, you’ve done your best, and now the test is over. Now go and live your life. Get some ice cream.
Take the test, don’t let the test take you! Sometimes taking a test feels like going into battle. You’ll need a good strategy if you want to win. Try our techniques, and we guarantee that you’ll emerge victorious!