Test Taking Strategies

Posted on 08.25.2015

Test taking can be intimidating no matter what. It’s especially pressure-filled when you’re testing for a national certification. We’ve put together a few strategies designed to help you ace your certification exam and earn your credential! (You can apply many of these strategies to the tests in the course, too!)

Thorough preparation is key to successful test taking. Delaying the preparation process is a common problem because if you’re intimidated by the test it’s easier to put it off than focus on preparing to ace it. But you can avoid this by focusing on small and simple preparation techniques.

First, learn the material thoroughly and review as you go along. Making sure you understand the information as you are learning it eliminates the need to cram for the test and decreases your chances of having to re-learn the information later on.

Second, it’s also best to read and study the curriculum in the order it’s presented throughout the modules and chapters of your CareerStep course. We’ve designed the course so that each concept builds upon the last, which makes the material easier to file away in your brain and then retrieve when you need it for the test.

And third, at the end of each unit or module, identify the most important information and create flash cards that you can easily refer to later on. Flash cards are also an awesome study tool because they’re easy to carry around so you can study just about anywhere!

Stay Positive
It is very important to approach any test with a positive attitude. Being optimistic about the task ahead decreases your stress level and helps you focus on the task at hand. A positive frame of mind can help you to concentrate and answer questions more efficiently and correctly. Bolster your confidence by reminding yourself about how well you have prepared for the exam and your past successes, and use relaxation techniques to calm your anxieties. Picture yourself being calm, cool and collected. Imagine you are scanning the test, knowing all the answers, and then turning in a passing test.

Develop a Plan
You should also develop a plan so you can successfully complete the exam. First, you want to “dump information.” What does this mean?  You will want to quickly write down all information you feel you may forget or get confused on as you are taking the test. Formulas, dates, names, etc.—dump the information on scrap paper.  Refer to the dumped information when answering questions. Second, read and pay careful attention to all directions. Read each passage and accompanying questions and respond to items one at a time rather than thinking about the whole test. Third, watch out for careless errors. Make sure you mark your answers in the correct place. Only change an answer if you are sure the first one you picked was wrong. Work as quickly as possible with accuracy. After completing the test, use any remaining time to check your answers.

Test Day
Get a good night’s sleep before the test. Do not cram all night before the test; a lack of sleep will most likely affect your performance. Eat a normal breakfast and try not to drink anything for an hour before your test. Arrive at the testing center early, organize your materials, and try to relax. Stay calm, if you start getting anxious take a few deep breaths. Pace yourself and keep an eye on the clock. Make sure you have enough time to complete the exam. Examinations are a part of life for students. The only time an exam should be a burden is when you are not prepared for it, lack a positive attitude, or don’t develop a plan. Mentally prepare yourself for the exam, develop a plan, and you will be successful.