Sadly, we live in an age where tests are set to such a similar format throughout all disciplines that it is possible to get a passing grade through becoming good at taking tests over actually knowing the content needed for the exam. Here are a few things you can do to help you become good at taking tests..
Start going to bed at a routine time two weeks before the test
This is the tip that you can bark on about for years and people will still ignore you and pretend it is no big deal. If you follow any of the tips on this article then follow this one because it is important. Two weeks (at least) before your exam, you need to start going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. You cannot simply get a good night’s sleep a few days before your exam. You need to practice going to bed and waking up at the same time. You must also ensure that you are using your mind or your skills at the time you would be taking your test.
Therefore, if your first test is going to be at 9am, then you need to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time. You need to be awake and doing something related to studying at 9am. You need to train your mind to be at its most productive at 9am. If you do not then you will find yourself inefficient at that time and will only get into the swing of your exam near the end (when it is too late).
Use mock tests to find out the things you do not know
This is another tip you can bang on about and people do not do it. When you do mock exams and practice exams, you should be using them to find out the things you do not know. Do not use them to memorize test questions and do not use them to pat yourself on the back.
It feels good when you see your practice test and there is a whole section that you got right. It usually encourages a person to revisit that stuff in their textbook because it feels pretty good knowing that you know something. But, this is a mistake because you should see which parts you got wrong and then go back to your textbooks and study the entire section that contains the answers to the questions you got wrong.
Do not use the practice tests to memorize answers. Your teachers may even encourage you to do it, but you only win yourself a few extra points doing it that way. The examiners are not dumb and they know that people memorize the questions from previous years with the hopes of winning points.
The timer is your worst enemy
Time limits are what make you stressed out about your exam. If you were told that you could do your exams but take all day, or all weekend to finish, then would you really be as worried?
Practice with mock tests and set the timer, but stop caring about the clock. You have to purposely ignore the clock and simply do your practice exam as slowly as you like. When the timer goes off you will probably not have finished the exam. Mark your exam and you will still see that you have passed.
Do this exercise as often as you like and you will soon see that the timer doesn’t matter. You are still going to pass even if you do not get your entire exam finished on time. What is more scary is when you practice this and you finish your exam with time to space (even though you were going slowly). The exercise is supposed to help release you from the fear of time limits. Once you realize that the time limit is causing the pressure and stress, you will be able to work on your fear and become a better test taker as a result. When the fear and anxiety leave, the answers will flow from you more easily (and often more quickly).
Practice answering mock tests with bullet points
This is a trick you can try when doing any form of revision. Put your answer in a list of bullet points. They do not have to make any form of grammatical sense; they just have to make sense to you. Once you remove the fluff from your writing, you start to see how easy some test questions are. It is true that if you want to answer the questions properly that you will have to expand on your bullet points, but think of how easy your tests really are if you know the bullet point answers. Bullet point your entire textbook chapters when you revise if you think it will help you learn it better.