How to succeed in tests 25

Do stay calm by breathing deeply, repeating a mantra, visualizing a calm, happy place.

Always read through the test first to get a feel for it. You can use a pencil to number the order in which you will work through the questions.

Even if your mind goes blank and you panic when you first turn the paper over ( it might suddenly seem to be written in Egyptian!) , take a deep breath and coach yourself through. Say to yourself- my first impression is that I know nothing however I am going to look again at the questions until they start to make sense!

Work out roughly how long you have for each question. (Don’t spend 10 minutes doing the math!)

Spend the amount of time per question to suit the number of points available.

Choose the question that you feel more confident on and start with this. Warning!! Don’ t be tempted to spend half an hour in this comfortable zone however.

Move through the other questions leaving your most difficult ones until last.

Trust your gut instinct- often the first response you think of is the correct one!

Remember to stick to facts. You can use your opinion as long as it is linked to a fact.

When you practice your essays remember some phrase introductions that you have used in the past to introduce ideas/theories/facts.

E.g. Evidence suggests….

It is accepted that…

This theory has been criticized because…

Assume that the person reading the paper doesn’t know much about the topic. What I mean is don’t think to yourself- My Biology teacher knows how the heart works so I don’t need to go into detail!...sounds obvious but can catch you out.

For Maths/Physics/Chemistry:

Write any formulas that you need to know on the back of your test as soon as you receive the test paper. Once you have become involved in the test, it is easy to stress out and forget the formulas. 

Read each question carefully. Circle every verb to make sure that you do everything the test has asked of you. Show your work on the test. You may earn partial credit if the teacher can see that you understood the process but only made a simple error. 

Check over all of your answers. If time permits, rework each answer, watching for simple errors. Check and recheck. 

Every test:

Test-taking stress can be avoided by studying ahead of the time. Pay attention in class (this is when most learning takes place) and take good notes. Use illustration where you can. At the end of each day, review any materials you were taught that day. On Sunday, review the material from the week before. This will avoid the feeling that an all-night study session, which often fails to give the desired results, is necessary. Little and often

Get plenty of rest and eat a good meal before the test. A sleepy head or an empty stomach affects your concentration.

Study with a partner. This simple technique can help you digest what you have been taught. Explaining it to someone else helps you remember better. It also highlights which areas you are weak in.


Remember you can only do your best. Set yourself realistic goals. Unrealistic goals will leave you feeling like a failure and dissatisfied.