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Read and understand the test instructions.

Know absolutely and clearly the requirements – then respond accordingly. For example – on a test – if a short question calls for only highlights, then don’t give details.

Identify key words in the question.

Words like explain, discuss, compare, contrast, analyze, and relate are trigger words to help you focus your answer. They’re like a signal pointing you in a particular direction – understanding what they’re asking for will make your task easier.


Build your knowledge with frequent review.

Take a few minutes at the end of each class or the end of the day to summarize the key points covered during a class, then review frequently.


Keep your “cramming” focused.

If you haven’t prepared yourself in advance for a test, then you will probably have to “cram”. Focus on sections that you think are the most relevant, skim important parts of the text, make flash cards or lists of the keys concepts, or memorize by audibly repeating key information.


Quickly look over the test before you start.

This exercise can give you a “reality check” of your situation. You’ll either gain a sense of confidence, or you’ll know that you have your work cut out for you and you’d better not waste time.


Multiple-choice questions on tests.

Read the multiple-choice question first and try to think of the correct answer before you look at the choices. Mark the questions you can’t answer and come back to them later. Never leave a Multiple Choice or True or False question blank – at least make a guess.


Go for quality over quantity on tests.

Professors want to see a focused response to a question – not a rambling, long winded response.


Create an outline for your written answers.

Instead of writing blindly about your topic, take time to write a quick outline of key points to focus on. Jotting down even a few words or phrases about key points and putting them into a logical order can go a long way to creating a focused response and save you time in the long run.

Answer the easy test questions first.

Start with the questions that you know how to answer, then go to the questions you’re less sure about.

Take time to review your test.

Leave yourself enough time at the end of your test to scan your answers. This lets you add something more to an earlier question that you’ve remembered while you were answering a later one. It also lets you clean up a mistake or fill in a blank that you may have missed.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009 Thompson Education Inc. All rights reserved.

10 tips from – your educational resource website.


I created the layout and design for this brochure for a school assignment. Photographs by Ryan McBride.

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