7 Successful Test-taking Strategies for Students

It is natural for most children to be a little weary of tests and examinations. Surprise tests are what worst nightmare are made of for students and all of us have been caught wrong footed at one time or another during our student life, when the teacher made the unexpected announcement. Our reactions ranged from mild alarm to downright panic.

So the topic raises an old question - is doing well in examinations and tests a true indicator of a student’s worth? Opinion is equally divided right down in the middle.

One half argues that it is not, while the other half opines that exams and tests prepare the students for a real life situation, where things always happen unannounced. Being exposed to tests will prepare the students to expect the unexpected and take on the challenge confidently, they add.

So how can we get students to get over the phobia of exams and tests? Here are a few tips to help students to ace the tests of both variety - normal or surprise.

1.     Pay attention in class: Most of us can recall lectures and lessons by some of our teachers years later. Good teachers possess the ability to influence our minds in a positive way and all we have to do is pay attention. This strategy also eliminates the need for last-minute cramming and remains the #1 strategy used by top-performing students.
2.     Follow up: Have a daily and weekly lesson plan to reinforce what you have learnt in school. The learnings from school which are still fresh in our memory are revisited, rough edges are smoothened, and committed to our internal knowledge bank for later use.
3.     Personal discipline: Knowledge and hardwork need a disciplined approach to be effective. Relegate TV viewing and similar activities to the weekend. Instead, encourage children to spend time outdoors. Fresh air can do wonders to their thinking ability.
4.     Regular habits: Burning midnight oil never helps. A sleep of at least 8-9 hours a day and during regular hours is absolutely essential for all. Going to bed early and rising early is a good way to start one’s day. Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Pepsico counterpart Indira Nooyi start their day at 4 AM!
5.     Be organized: Make a checklist of all things you need and round them up well in advance. A dried up pen or a missing log book on exam day can make you hit the panic button and potentially affect your performance negatively.
6.     Devise a strategy: Take time to read the question paper thoroughly and prioritize the questions and the order in which you are going to tackle them. Some students prefer to answer tougher questions first, and some others like to answer easier questions first.
7.     Manage time: Effective time management is an essential part of a successful strategy. Do not panic if you get stuck and do not spend an inordinate amount of time on the question. Move on to the next question. You can always revisit the tough one later.

Finally, eat well and sleep well before an important exam. Always revisit and re-read your answers before you hand over the answer sheet to give yourself a chance to spot and correct the errors you may have overlooked the first time around.