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Successful Test-taking Strategies

Is your test-taking strategy working? Do you keep up with lessons or put out fires only when test deadlines loom? Do you stay awake the night before the exam, cramming notes (and an inordinate amount of coffee and junk food) into your system? Some students modify their study skills and testing stratagems during their learning careers. What once worked when you could devote your life to your classes may not be so effective when you're juggling work, family, and online courses.

ETS, creators of standardized college and graduate admissions tests like the SAT and GRE, recommends that you keep up with your studies throughout the semester, ask your instructor how the tests will be scored, relax as you review without cramming, and eat well the day of the test.

Here are some other ways to reduce stress and put yourself in the best position to succeed on your exams:

Plan Ahead
Create your own count-down calendar to test dates. Look over the syllabus to determine exactly which areas will be covered in the exam and map them to your online or print research notes and texts. Review the materials constantly, noting where your knowledge seems thin.

Work With Others
Form a study group or join an existing one. Compare notes with classmates. Review materials together and round up lecture notes you may have missed.

Sleep Like a Baby
Your brain and body need adequate rest. Worry is no way to approach exams. Stress will take you out fast. On test day, arrive early and work a few subject-matter problems ahead of time to jump-start your mind.

You're Get Stuck
Your attitude makes all the difference. If a question seems impossible, leap to the next one, marking your spot for review later. While you're answering other questions, your mind will work in the background on the problem. And an answer for a subsequent question can spark the necessary knowledge to solve the one you think is unworkable.


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