Junior Journey: How to Improve Test Taking Skills

Natalie Thompson
Natalie Thompson

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Do you wish you were able to get a top score on every test? Some people can easily do well on standardized tests… while others really struggle. If you do poorly on tests, there are strategies that can help. Let’s explore advice on how to improve your test taking skills.

Some proven test strategies for the SAT or ACT test include answering the easiest questions first, marking your test booklet if needed, and eliminating the wrong choices to clarify right answers. But there are proven test preparation methods that can help with most written exams.

Control fight or flight:

when we get stressed, our minds trigger a natural fight or flight mechanism. This means we want to run from or fight danger. When we become worried, we can become too nervous to do well on a test. For some this mechanism can make a person immobile.

Practice calming yourself down in stressful situations through thinking positively, controlling your breathing, or taking short breaks to think about something relaxing. This helps the mind to function more fully.

Write down your test worries:

Identifying what you are worried about can help you find ways to manage those worries. For example, maybe you worry about doing well at your future job, or question if you are intelligent. When you see your worries written down, you can look for strategies to alleviate them.

Practice focus and concentration:

To focus and concentrate better, need to take care of both your body and mind. You should:

  1. Get adequate and regular sleep.
  2. Eat a healthy diet including foods that are good for your brain.
  3. Develop your ability to focus on tasks to sharpen your mind. Better focus will assist with classroom work, testing, essay writing, etc. . .
  4. Drink plenty of water to improve focus and memory

Discover how you study to plan a study schedule:

Take the time to figure out at what times you are most alert and focused. For some that is in the early morning, for others the mid afternoon. Then time how long it takes you to study a subject thoroughly.

For example, it may take you 20 minutes to learn a list of 10 science terms. With this understanding, plan a study schedule so that you have plenty of time to study when your mind is at its peak.

Prepare for test day:

On test day, be sure to eat a healthy meal, exercise, and drink plenty of water. Remind yourself of your study helps (such as methods you used to memorize information, or essential formulas). Then use your strategy to calm yourself.

Ready to get started preparing for a big exam coming up? Feel free to talk to Empowerly about working with a counselor on planning your test strategy! We can advise you on how to improve test taking skills and more.

Questions? Let us know!