Study Strategies to Boost Your Preparation for Tests

  • No Distractions: You are encouraged to focus on one task at a time and reduce the amount of distractions including mobile phones, social media and television.
  • Use Active Testing or Recall: Force yourself to actively recall information. Make up your own mock test using the worked examples preceding the exercises in your book. Long term learning occurs during forced recall testing.
  • Spread learning out. Revise regularly. Spacing study sessions is more effective than cramming in a long session.
  • Mix up the practice of several interrelated skills. Revise material that combines questions about multiple topics.
  • Make a note of examples that you haven’t been able to do in the set exercises and ask for help with those the next time you have class. Go over these questions again before the test.
  • Combine spoken word with images. Use relevant visual images to assist your learning so that you can utilize all parts of your brain to boost your learning.
  • Use stories. Mnemonics and stories help you form associations between the content and the story. A personal story contextualizes the memory and enhances its meaning.
  • Look after your health, especially in the week before the test. – Get plenty of sleep, keep up your exercise, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and drink water.

Tips for the STEM Tests (which may apply to most of the subject areas and AST.)

  1. Organise the equipment you will need for your test the night before test day. Check that you have all the pens and other writing equipment you are likely to need, e.g. double check if your calculator has batteries and have your revision sheet ready when permitted.
  2. Arrive at the test 5 minutes early.
  3. Follow all test instructions, making sure you start and stop writing exactly when told.
  4. Use your reading time to find the questions you feel most confident with and to put yourself in a calm frame of mind.
  5. Write your response clearly for the marker to follow easily.
  6. Answer the easy questions carefully first and then make the best attempt you can at the harder questions.
  7. Try and write something for every question. We are interested in your thinking and working out more than the right answer to the question.
  8. Check that you have answered the question.
  9. Where relevant, check that you have included units or the correct number of decimal places or given answers in the simplest form.
  10. Allow roughly 1 mark per minute and pace yourself throughout the test. Use the marks allocated to each question as a guide to how much working out is expected.
  11. Never re-write the test question.
  12. Do not leave any multiple choice questions blank. Eliminate options that you know are incorrect and then guess from those that remain if you have to.
  13. Where possible, try and draw a graph, picture or diagram to help you solve the problem and to explain your thinking to the marker.
  14. Use your calculator as much as possible to check your answers or to help you solve problems more efficiently. Make sure that all the steps in your reasoning are very clear.
  15. If you are stuck with solving a problem, try another question and then come back to it later.  Make up a similar, simpler problem with numbers to help get your thinking sorted out.
  16. Stay calm, don’t give up and do your best.