How do I Score Well on an Achievement Test?

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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
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Strategies for scoring well on an achievement test include adequate preparation, test taking practice, and sufficient rest. Focused study and skills drilling before test day is important for understanding and retaining information. High quality achievement test prep courses can be useful for learning test taking strategies and for becoming familiar with test formats and question types. For people who suffer from test-taking anxiety, practicing breathing exercises and meditation on test day can effectively decrease stress and increase relaxation. Eating a well-balanced meal and drinking enough water on test day will also help to reduce mental and physical fatigue.

Attaining a high score on a standardized achievement test often requires extensive preparation. Such preparation usually takes place across months and years, and cramming information at the last minute seldom leads to positive outcomes. Paying attention in class, reviewing the subject matter daily, and researching unfamiliar information are ways to master test content across time. For skills-based aptitude tests, adequate preparation entails repeated practice of specific skills, such as doing math drills or practicing writing skills. Extensive preparation might also include using test prep workbooks and flash cards to review information.


Performance on an achievement test may also be enhanced by enrolling in test prep courses. This strategy is especially useful for becoming familiar with the format of a specific achievement test. When choosing a prep course, the better choices are offered by reputable test prep schools with talented teachers who have achieved high scores on the same test. Test-taking is a skill in itself that requires reading directions carefully and staying highly focused. An experienced test prep instructor will help students to master test formats, quickly eliminate wrong answers, and increase test-taking speed.

For people who struggle with anxiety on test day, effective strategies include rest and conscious relaxation techniques. A good night’s sleep is important for efficient brain functioning. Breathing deeply increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and assists clear thinking. Other techniques might include meditation activities that encourage focusing on the present moment and relaxing the body. Arriving at the test site early eliminates potential frustration related to getting lost or being stuck in traffic.

Eating a well-balanced meal on the day of the test is helpful for generating brain power. A nourished body will assist clarity of thought and eliminate mental and physical exhaustion. Drinking water well before the start of the test is also important for staying hydrated and overcoming potential mental fatigue. These strategies are especially important for parents to keep in mind for children who tend to skip meals due to nervousness or anxiety.


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