Test taking skills are crucial for students and for professionals. Students will be judged by test scores to enter vocational schools and colleges. Professionals enter fields such as nursing, law or medicine on the basis of test scores. Some companies hire based on personality tests. In some cases, you may not be able to prepare for a test by studying in advance. In other cases, you may not have time to prepare. Lack of prior study need not be a reason to fail an examination. Instead, test-taking strategies can help you boost your chances to pass a test.

Gather information about the test. Even if you cannot or have not studied for an exam, you can ascertain what type of information is being tested and how it is tested. Get this information from others who have taken the test, from the resources and materials published about the test and from the test administrator.

Come to the examination well rested. Get a good night's sleep before the examination. By arriving well rested, you will increase your chances of passing the examination.

Bring all items you need into the examination. Make sure you know what you are allowed to take into the examination with you and what is prohibited in the examination.

Preview the types of questions that appear on the examination. When you begin the examination, look ahead (if permissible) to see what types of questions are being asked. There are certain types of questions that are on all exams (e.g., multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, short answer or essay).

Read every question thoroughly. Many test takers fail examinations because they do not properly read the question or because they do not know what is being asked. Careful reading of the wording will let you avoid careless errors.

Eliminate wrong answers. In multiple choice questions, you can increase the likelihood of passing the examination by narrowing your choices. Therefore, cross out wrong answers and choose between the ones that could be true.

Know how the test is scored. If the test penalizes you for wrong answers, then it is best not to answer questions that you have no knowledge of. In contrast, if you are not penalized for wrong answers, then your score will be better if you answer all questions.

Keep pace with the time. Many examinations have time restrictions. Be sure to know when the examination ends and pace yourself accordingly.


Do not cheat. No matter how unprepared you feel, cheating will be a sure way to fail the examination. In some cases, you will not be permitted to retake an examination if you have been found to have cheated.

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