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Successful Test Preparation Tips and Strategies

Preparing for a test or exam can be overwhelming, considering the pressure of coping with voluminous course content or the fear of failure. You cannot pass a test or exam without going to the centre and taking it, but success does not begin in the exam centre. The secret to success is good preparation. Your success is determined by you well in advance of the test/exam.

The following are proven strategies that have helped many students improve test scores and prepare more effectively for exams. Some of them are drawn from EducationCorner (

Attend Classes

Attend classes and be attentive to the teacher. Participate in test review sessions and ask questions about unclear concepts. Never be ashamed to ask questions.

Plan Your Study Time

Make time for studying. Setting aside regular time to study is critical for achieving high test performance. We recommend preparing a term calendar, weekly schedule and daily schedule that includes regular study sessions. It is so easy for other activities to quickly take precedence over studying, so plan your study time. As you progress towards the test/exam date, it is okay to amend your study schedule to meet your needs, but make sure you plan study sessions – and that you stick with them.

Prepare an Outline

Prepare an outline of the main topics and concepts that will be covered during an exam, then use this sheet to study. This will help you memorize key facts and other information you will be tested on.

Use Visual Aids

Visual aids, including charts, diagrams and graphs are great study helps – especially if you are a visual learner. Organizing information into diagrams and charts helps to condense and simplify information and improves recall at test time.

Review Early. Review with a Group.

Start a final review of all lecture notes, reading assignments, and other class materials that will help you prepare, some days before the test. You can do this review by yourself or as part of a study group. Working as part of a study group is an excellent way to review in preparation for an exam. Reviewing in preparation for a test as part of a study group will allow you to improve your notes, fill in any gaps in your understanding, more fully explore complex concepts, maximize your time, cover more material, gain additional knowledge about what might be on the test, and provide you with a support system.

Don't Procrastinate. Don't Cram.

One of the most important test preparation tips we can give you is to give yourself enough time to study. It is best to begin preparing long before the day of a test. Make it a habit to complete reading assignments on time and frequently review lecture notes. Organize your time so you can dedicate more time to those exams that are more important or are going to be more demanding. Don't procrastinate! Don't cram! Cramming does not allow for long-term retention of knowledge. Studies show that students who spend more time upfront studying and less time cramming the night before typically perform better on tests.

Arrive Early on Test Day

Show up to the centre early on test day, so you are relaxed before the test begins. You will increase your confidence if you take time to relax. You will be able to narrow your focus for the upcoming test.

Stay Healthy

Getting plenty of rest and exercising regularly will enhance your ability to perform well on a test. It is unwise to stay up all night studying before the test day. Get plenty of sleep the night before a test. Eat a nutritious meal before taking a test to be alert and focused.

Stay Hydrated and Use the Bathroom

Be sure to use the bathroom before the test begins. If you must visit the restroom during the test, it can waste time, and in many cases, students are not permitted to leave a room once a test begins. It can also be extremely uncomfortable and distract your concentration. However, it is also important that you stay hydrated. If possible, bring a bottle of water with you to the exam.

Next week, we will share some test-taking tips and strategies with you. Watch this page.

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