Everyone hates tests: Math tests, driving tests, certification tests. But in order to excel, tests are often a required step. And in order to do well on a test, you must have both good knowledge of the information that is being tested and a strategy for taking the test that allows you to show what you know.
Here are some tips and tricks to excelling on your next certification, or math, test:
During the Test
- Get to the test site early so you can select a seat, organize your materials and get relaxed. Be prepared with everything you need; pencils, paper, calculator, etc.
- Read directions carefully. Ask questions if you don’t understand or need clarification.
- Get the big picture. Survey the entire test before you answer any questions. This will help you to get an overview of what's expected and to strategize how you will take the test.
- Take a few deep breaths to relax tense muscles. Repeat throughout the test. This process will help you to stay relaxed and to make more energy available for remembering, thinking and writing.
- Do a quick “mind dump” of information you don’t want to forget. Write it down on scrap paper or in the margin (if you are allowed to write on the test).
- Answer the easiest questions first, to help yourself calm down. Matching questions are often good to start with because they provide a reminder of important terms and definitions.
- Use these strategies for answering multiple choice questions.
- Look for the central idea of each question. What is the main point?
- Statements that begin with always, never, none, except, most or least – are probably NOT the answer. Underline these or other key words if you are allowed to write on the test paper.
- Try to supply your own answer before choosing an alternative listed on the test.
- Mark an answer for every question. If you have to guess:
- The length of choices can be a clue.
- Choose the longest.
- If two choices are similar, choose neither.
- If two choices are opposites, choose one of them.
- The most general alternative is usually the right answer.
- Additional tips for multiple choice:
- Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won’t throw you off or trick you.
- Eliminate answers you know aren’t right.
- Read all the choices before choosing your answer.
- Don’t keep changing your answer, usually your first choice is the right one, unless you miss-read the question.
- In “All of the above” and “None of the above” choices, if you are certain one of the statements is true, don’t choose “None of the above” or, if one of the statements is false, don’t choose "All of the above".
- In a question with an “All of the above” choice, if you see at least two correct statements, then “All of the above” is probably the answer.
- A positive choice is more likely to be true than a negative one.
- Usually the correct answer is the choice with the most information.
- Keep an eye on the clock. Make sure you’ll have time to complete the test sections with the highest value, if not the entire test.
- If you have planned your time correctly, you will have time to review your answers and make them as complete and accurate as possible.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you excel on your upcoming exam – TCIA wishes you luck!