One constant in life is that sooner or later, there will be a test. Many times, the only way to measure comprehension or competency is through objective testing, and that can trigger anxiety in even the most well-prepared student. There are a number of test taking tips which can take much of the sting out of the testing process, many of which have little to do with the actual material covered on the test itself. An experienced test taker can often earn a passing score in a subject he or she has never studied prior to taking the exam.
One test taking tip involves anxiety reduction and physical relaxation. Whenever possible, visit the area in which the testing will take place. Familiarize yourself with the ambient sounds of the room, the seating arrangement, the lighting levels and so on. Some people do not do well on tests if they are overwhelmed by an unfamiliar test taking environment, so it pays to become familiar with the surroundings so your mind won't be distracted during the actual test.
Other test taking tips include avoiding complete sleep deprivation before taking the exam. Some people do benefit from cram sessions the night before testing, but the mind needs some time to process the flood of information it receives from intensive studying. Consuming power drinks or other highly caffeinated beverages won't necessarily help a person retain information. There is usually a crash several hours after consumption, and this crash may occur during test time if the test taker does not take time to sleep. Get sufficient rest and eat a healthy meal before taking an objective test.
There are some test taking strategies which have become very familiar to students over the years. One such strategy involves narrowing down the choices of a multiple choice test. Test creators strive to make their tests random, which means the likelihood of the same letter being the answer more than three times in a row is very low. Answers such as "all of the above" or "none of the above" are generally used sparingly, and logic dictates if even two answers are clearly wrong or right, the rest should match.
Some experts on test taking tips also suggest when in doubt, charlie out. This means whenever a test taker is guessing the answer to an unfamiliar question, the most likely response is "C", or in some cases the longest answer. Statistically speaking, it is often better to guess an answer than to leave it blank, since there is a 25% chance of getting it right through guessing, but a 100% chance of losing credit for not answering at all.
Time management is also critical when taking objective tests. If a test proctor or instructor places a strict time limit on a test section, you may want to skim through the questions quickly and complete the easiest ones first. By getting those questions out of the way, more time can be spent on the difficult or unfamiliar questions. It may also be easier to put the timer out of your mind as you work on the test. Some people perform better on a test with no time limits than on a similar test with strict time limits or a penalty for unanswered questions.
If there is an official study guide or test preparation book, it would be to your advantage to obtain one. The guide may contain any number of test taking tips specific to the demands of the actual test. Sample questions can prove very useful when taking standardized tests such as college entrance exams. There may also be complete practice tests or pre-tests available for a nominal fee. Going through the motions of a test can make it much less traumatic whenever it's time to take the real thing.