Do you have a big test coming up? It’s normal to feel nervous. After all, if test taking were a breeze, they wouldn’t call it a “test.” However, there are ways to increase your confidence… and your chances of scoring a good grade. The best part is that these ideas aren’t difficult to implement at all. Embrace the challenge ahead of you and seek to ace the next exam by following these 6 tips.

STUDY TIPS

1.       Take short breaks regularly. Don’t overload your brain with too much information – cramming is not an effective technique if you want to ace a test. The secret to a successful test? Learn the information – and truly know the material. The only way to do so is to allow yourself time to process properly, which means you must account for regular breaks in between studying. Focus for 30 minutes, take a 10 minute break, and then repeat this pattern.

2.       That being said, don’t take too many unnecessary breaks. The mistake many make when giving themselves time for breaks is that it’s tempting to schedule breaks TOO often. Taking a break shouldn’t be an excuse to get away from the material, but rather to let it soak in and give yourself a moment to reflect. Breaks should be calm and connected to the study session – so, no video games and TV shows.

3.       Eat and hydrate. By now, you’re probably very familiar with the technical study tips for memorization (creating acronyms for terms, for example); however, this is only one piece of the puzzle. The biggest piece is to take care of yourself – eat a snack, drink water. Keep your mind in tip-top shape so you can feel good enough to learn and understand the material.

TEST TAKING TIPS

1.       If you don’t know an answer to a question, skip it and come back to it. This advice is tried and true; however, there is a very important exception to keep in mind. If you’re just skipping a question because you think you don’t know it, but haven’t taken the appropriate amount of to work the problem, you’re simply breaking your focus on a question you may have been able to solve. So, only skip a problem if you really don’t know it, rather than trying to find all of the easy questions first.

2.       Read every question and (if applicable) every possible solution in its entirety. This seems obvious, but – in the moment – it’s a tip that many neglect. Knowing what you’re getting into BEFORE you start attempting to solve the problem will help ensure you don’t have to redo a question after you thought you figured it out correctly.

3.       Implement self-care strategies to ease anxiety. Taking a test is a challenge – it’s meant to assess how much you have learned and retained. Along with these difficult questions comes a heaping amount of anxiety, even for the most confident test taker. Therefore, successful test taking comes down to the ability to calm yourself enough to remember what you already know. Find what works for you. Some examples include taking deep breaths, relaxing all muscles, rolling your shoulders and thinking positively.

The next time you have an exam on the horizon, don’t fret. Instead, take action. Study effectively, take care of yourself and keep calm through the process. With these tips as your guide, you’ll be well on your way to claiming an “A” on the test.