Below we’ll explore some proven tips, techniques and strategies for improving your overall performance on exams

General Exam Taking Strategies

  • Read section directions before the test.
    Study and review the directions for each section before the test. Use your test time for the test not for reading directions.
  • Answer the questions you know first.
    As you go through each section, answer all of the questions you know the answers to first. Mark all the questions you don’t immediately know the answer to and return and answer them later.
  • Eliminate incorrect answers. 

If you’re able to eliminate even one choice for the selection of possible answers then guess. Sometimes it’s easier to eliminate answers you know to be incorrect than to identify the correct answer. Eliminating all the incorrect answers often leads to the correct answer.

  • Be neat.
    Don’t be sloppy when filling in the answer grid for student-produced response questions.
  • Avoid stray marks.

Try not to put any stray marks on your answer sheet, especially if it is a machine scored exam. Scoring machines frequently can’t differentiate between a correct answer and an accidental stray mark.

  • Your first response is usually correct.
    Your first response to a question is usually correct. Don’t change an answer unless you’re certain you’ve made an error.
  • Pay attention.
    Make sure you’re placing your answers in the correct number space and section on your answer sheet. It’s easy to place your answer in the wrong place if you’re not paying close attention.
  • Budget your time.
    Pace yourself!.It’s easy to lose track of time so make sure to pay attention to how much time is allotted for each test and how much time is remaining as you proceed through each section. Pacing yourself requires practice so practice, practice, practice.
  • Make sure you understand the question.
    Make sure that you fully understand each question before you answer it. Sometimes easy questions are worded in a tricky way to confuse you.
  • Bring a watch or timer.
    Don’t forget to bring your own stopwatch to the testing center. There isn’t always an accurate clock at the testing center.