Tips for Taking a Test
As an elementary school student, your teachers use different strategies to help you learn. Whether it’s a classroom activity or a field trip, there are various ways for you to participate and engage with the material. But what happens when your skills are put to the test?
Test-taking is something you will have to get used to. It is especially important in high school and university, where tests are worth more and more marks and can have a big impact on your final grades. Beyond the number on your report card, tests are valuable because they challenge your skills. They require you to apply what the teacher has taught you to make sure that you know your stuff.
It might be more stressful to write a test than to participate in an activity or a field trip, so it helps to go into the process prepared. Here is some advice for taking a test at each stage of the process.
When a test is announced, pay close attention to the instructions given by the teacher. They will probably explain how the test will be structured, what material might be on it, and other hints that will help you when you’re studying. Make sure to mark the date well in advance, and designate some time in the days leading up to it for review.
Studying is definitely about quality, not quantity—you can study for hours and not register anything useful if you are distracted, pay attention to the wrong concepts, or try to memorize everything verbatim. Keep this in mind when you’re going over your notes, and ask your teacher for help if you need it.
Stay calm: remember, you came prepared. When you get the test, look over all the questions and take a few minutes to come up with a plan. You only have a limited amount of time, and some questions will be more lengthy or challenging than others. Do you want to tackle those first, or get the easy ones out of the way instead?
The test environment can be very stressful and distracting for some students. Try to stay focused on your own paper and pay no attention to what others are doing. Feel free to take tiny breaks to refocus if you need them, but keep one eye on the clock. You don’t want time to run out before you finish!
Reflect on how you felt during the test. Was it easy, difficult, or somewhere in between? Were the questions what you expected? Consider what you did well this time, and what you can improve upon when the next test comes around.
Many students choose to compare opinions about tests, or grades after they are handed back. You can definitely do this if it’s productive for you, but don’t feel pressured to disclose anything if you don’t feel comfortable. Sometimes, talking about grades can make students anxious or self-conscious. Focus on yourself: don’t spend too much time worrying about how everyone else did.