Test Taking Tips

Revise in short periods, often and early, rather than in big blocks closer to the test. 

When revising, focus on trying to remember concepts and facts rather than trying to remember the specific words themselves.

The worst way of revising is mindlessly reading over notes.

The second worst way of revising is mindlessly writing out notes.

Better ways of revising are: reading over notes for a paragraph, THEN covering the notes, and explaining out loud (to somebody or just to yourself) what you have just read. OR writing out notes in YOUR OWN words, and then explaining out loud what you have just read.

Other ways of revising:    use colour pencils to mark certain kinds of notes: e.g red for main point, blue for detail, yellow for dates, green for formulas etc.   Use a colour system when you are underlining notes as well. Be creative – write a song with what you need to remember, draw a picture of the concept or use lego or playdough to represent a concept.

Keep in mind that trying to understand something is not really revising. Revising is when you already understand it and are going over it and committing it to memory. 

If you have to cram, go ahead and do it. BUT don’t try to learn completely NEW information on the morning of a test– instead just go over the concepts you are already familiar with.   

For the breakfast or lunch before the exam/test: Avoid fatty or sugary foods (eg bacon and eggs and coco-pops!) as these will take longer to digest and divert blood into your stomach and away from your brain! Get a longer term energy boost instead from wholegrain breads and cereals. 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions or make requests in the exam. Ask for windows to be closed or opened, for a better desk, a less wobbly chair – whatever you need. Don’t sit there uncomfortable.

Other ways of revising – have index cards, write the question on the front and the answer on the back. Test yourself and ask others to test you.    Teach your baby sister/brother/dog/budgie about the concepts you have learnt – you will find out what you don’t know. Do old test papers, review questions/old exam papers. Put the concepts on tape and listen to them while AWAKE!

Don’t fall into the trap of revising the material you know because it’s easier while not revising the material that needs more work. If you really really know it, stop revising it, and look at something else.  

Always remember exams and test do not test YOU. They test your knowledge (and sometimes do a bad job of that anyway). Tell yourself often that YOU are WORTHWHILE, VALUABLE and IMPORTANT regardless of any number or letter that comes back on your exam.