Do Better on Tests

There are plenty of ways to do better on tests. If you aren’t happy with your test scores or if you simply want to do better on tests in order to perform your absolute best, there are plenty of ways to do better on tests. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Have scheduled study times. One of the best pieces of advice for college students I ever heard was that you should treat college like a job. Work at classes and class-related stuff from about nine to five on weekdays. That way, you’re breaking down your studying as you go, refusing to cram, and still have most of your evenings and weekends free to do what you like.
  • Study with a group. This doesn’t work with everyone, but if you’re a social person who wants to do better on tests, it might be the best option for you. Study groups can help you identify information that’s difficult, and by teaching others about concepts you understand fairly well, you can learn the material better yourself.
  • Take practice tests. Many professors will pass out practice material that can help you do better on tests if you pay attention. For instance, review guides or sheets you’re required to fill out before the test can act as practice tests to help you see what you know and what you still need to work on. If your professor doesn’t automatically pass these things out, ask if you can see copies of old quizzes and tests to use for studying now.
  • Find a good place to study. Studying in a calm, organized place can actually help you do better on tests. You can also try techniques like listening to classical or other lyric-free music when you’re studying, as such things can help put your brain in the right state to really grasp new material so you’ll do better on tests.
  • Go over your old quizzes and exams. Quizzes in college and high school courses might seem like a drag, but they’re around for a purpose. By studying smaller, low-stakes quizzes, you can figure out what information you still need to learn for the higher-stakes tests. Review your old tests, too. This is especially true for written tests, where you need to learn not only how to give the “right” answer, but also how to give enough information for the particular professor who wrote and is grading the test.
  • Stay organized. One of the best ways to do better on tests is to simply stay organized for each class. Keep notes, worksheets, concept sheets, and other items all in one place so they’ll be easily accessible for you when it’s time for you to study. That way, you won’t miss any information that you needed to study when you’re preparing for a test.
  • Relax. Studies show that a relaxed brain is more likely to remember better. So if you relax when you’re studying and relax before and during a test, your memory and recall ability will improve. Do what it takes to relax, whether that means going for a walk before a test, stretching during your study sessions, or talking to a friend about your test anxieties before or on test day. Learning breathing techniques might also help you let go of tension that can interfere with your ability to think and remember when you’re studying for or taking a test.

These simple techniques can help you do better on tests, but only if you implement them regularly! By regularly using techniques like these and by relaxing when it’s test time, you’ll be able to improve your test-taking abilities dramatically.