Test and Exam Strategies

Developing effective strategies for tests and exams could be the difference between failing and succeeding. Good techniques can help you in finding the focus you need to achieve good results.

It is important for students to spend some time thinking about what they have done for test or exam prepartion in the past that hasn’t worked so well. There are many test and exam techniques that can allow for maximum success if enough study and preparation has been done. Well before a test or exam, students should find out what types of questions will be asked. Knowing this information provides an opportunity to plan out what questions should be completed first. This is a personal choice; some students like to do multiple-choice questions first, as they believe it is easier and quicker, others like to do extended responses first so as not to ‘forget’ key points. In order for students to know what works best for them, trying a variety of combinations in mock-style tests and exams completed under 'exam' conditions can be a good way to see what order is more comfortable. Note, once this decision has been made, students should stick to it; last minute changes can result in unnecessary confusion and stress.

Follow these simple in-exam techniques for optimal exam success:

  • Use reading time effectively – look over the question(s) that you are going to do first, and use this time to prepare your answer(s)
  • Use allocated marks to give you clues on how much information to include. Generally, 1 mark is allocated for1 key piece of information in your response to a question
  • Make sure answers are concise, correct, and complete
  • Keep an eye on the clock – make sure you allow yourself enough time to complete the test or exam, and have time to revise any answers you might not be sure about