Test Taking Strategies

Tips for successful test taking.

When preparing for any test, students should keep in mind that good English language instruction is an essential foundation. Language proficiency can be achieved only after continued study and practice.

  • Take plenty of time to prepare for each test. Use available preparation materials to familiarize yourself with the test's structure and guidelines. Instructions on taking computer- and paper-based tests are generally available for each exam.
  • Use available sample questions and exercises. Examples of authentic questions and previously used topics are often available as well as sample tests. Get in as much practice as you can before taking the actual exam.
  • Simulate the test situation. Find out as much as you can about the test environment, and practice in a similar setting. Allow yourself only the time allocated for the actual test, and work on moving through sections as quickly and effectively as possible, identifying and focusing on areas where you need improvement.
  • Take advantage of all the resources available to you. The more you know about a test and how it is scored, the more efficiently you can approach it. The Web is an excellent resource, and most online information is free. Make the most of the advice and materials that can help you achieve success.
  • Follow directions. Read all instructions thoroughly and completely before beginning any test. Make sure you understand your objectives and how to achieve them. Don't worry if you don't know an answer - concentrate on the current question, and do the best you can, but don't spend too much time on any one item. Pace yourself so you have enough time to answer every question.
  • Be relaxed and confident. Get plenty of rest before any exam. Remember, the more rested and better prepared you are, the more comfortable and positive you'll be during the test.

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