Test-Taking Skills - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Test-Taking Skills

Tests are a big deal in middle school because they let your teachers know how much of the information you've actually learned. So go ahead and show off. If you've studied and paid attention in class, all you need to worry about is remaining calm and using some test-taking tips to score high.

Be Prepared

If your teacher has assigned it or talked about it, it might be on the test. Since you've been paying attention in class, you know what is most likely on the test. (You have been paying attention, haven't you?)

Listen Up

Listen to any directions your teacher gives you. Then pay close attention to the written instructions. If you don't understand what you're supposed to do on any part of the test, ask.

Stay Calm

If you're too nervous, try:

  • Taking deep breaths.
  • Reviewing some information you know well to give yourself confidence.
  • Putting your energy to good use by jotting notes, formulas and memory aids in the margin.

Read Ahead

Glance quickly through the test before you begin answering the questions.

  • See where the halfway point of the test is. You should pace yourself so you've gotten that far when the class period is half over.
  • Pick out the easiest questions to answer first, and then answer the questions worth the most points.
  • If the test has reading passages, review the questions you will be asked first, so you know what to look for as you read.

Focus

Keep a good pace. You want to finish the test in time, without rushing. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by others.

Move It

If you come across a question that stumps you, keep moving. Make a reminder note in the margin, then go on and answer other questions. When you finish the test, come back and answer any questions you skipped.

Make an Educated Guess

If you have to guess at an answer, first rule out any answer choices you know are wrong. Then choose from what's left.

Check It Twice

Use any extra time to review your answers. Double-check that you actually answered everything. Make sure all your answers make sense.

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