Test Taking Skills

Taking the test:

Studying for college classes may be challenging in ways you have not experienced before. The tips on the next few pages will help you make the most of your study time.

  1. Arrive early.
  2. Make sure you have prepared yourself mentally and physically in advance.
  3. Breathe!
  4. When you get the test, briefly look it over.
  5. Read and re-read the directions.
  6. Write down key words, formulas, ideas and concepts in margins.
  7. Answer true/false questions first, then short answer, then essay.
  8. Keep track of the time.
  9. If you get stuck on a question, move on and come back to it later.
  10. Look for answers within other test questions.

Multiple-Choice Test

  1. Answer questions in your head before reading the given choices.
  2. Skip over questions you are unsure of and go back to them later.
  3. To guess:
    • If two answers are similar except for one or two words, choose one of them.
    • If the answer calls for sentence completion, eliminate answers that would not form grammatically correct sentences.

Short-Answer Test:

Make sure to write down key words and facts.

Open-Book Test:

  1. Write formulas on a separate sheet.
  2. Put tabs on important pages of book.
  3. Prepare carefully — these are some of the most difficult tests.  Review your notes and course material before the test and organize and mark these reference materials.
  4. Practice writing out the answers to review questions if available.


  1. Write a quick outline, making sure that you address all parts of the question.
  2. Have a clear thesis and get to the point quickly.
  3. Support your basic argument with specific points and facts.
  4. Write clearly.
  5. Review for grammatical errors and readability.