The bane of every college student is taking tests. When you think about a test, you are pitting yourself against the teacher. The teacher has a strategy for making up the test that’s based upon what you are expected to know. It’s your challenge to respond to that strategy. Now imagine the teacher as a computer game designer and yourself as the game player. Is there a lot of difference in taking a test and playing a computer game? Not really if you think about the test as a challenge in figuring out the teacher’s test strategy. Sure you have to know something, but if you followed the guidance in the section on Being an Efficient Learner, you’ll obtain the knowledge you need. Now what’s your game strategy?
- Go through the test and answer every question you are sure you know. This builds momentum and confidence and it can help with other questions you are not sure of.
- For the remaining questions, start with the ones that are the highest point value (if appropriate). Then go to the questions you think you know but are not quite sure of. See if your prior answers help give a clue. The same answer rarely appears more than once on a test.
- If you have a multiple choice question you are not sure of. See if you can eliminate some choices that are obviously not right. Next eliminate any choices that were answers to other questions. This should help you narrow down the choices to one or two. If you’re totally unsure at this point, select the answer you remember the teacher stressing in class.
- For true/false questions, look for unequivocal words such as always or never. Generally these questions are false because very little is that certain. Equivocating statements are often true because of the way the question is worded. If you are totally at a loss for an answer, guess false. It’s much harder to make up a false question than a true one.
- If you have a fill in the blank question or matching question, try to visualize your flash card (See the topic: Making Flash Cards). If you have looked at the flash cards enough, you should be able to recall what’s on the card that connects to the question.
- When you have finished the test, review your answers.If you panic when taking the test, close your eyes and count to 100. While you are doing this, think about something pleasant. This should calm you down. When you return to the test, find one question you are sure of and work from there.
- Check random answers on the scantron to make sure you haven’t missed a question and put your answers on the wrong line.
- For math/science/ engineering tests rework the problems you are unsure of when you just review your work, you are assuming your approach was right. You’ll maybe catch a wrong approach when you rework the problem.
- Don’t change an answer unless you have a clear reason to do so. Lots of points are lost when you second guess yourself.
- If you panic when taking the test, close your eyes and count to 100. While you are doing this, think about something pleasant. This should calm you down. When you return to the test, find one question you are sure of and work from there.
When you play a new computer game, you’re probably not very good at the start, but as you go along you begin to figure out the game. The same approach works for tests..