Preparing for a Test

When it comes to preparing for a test, staying up the night before and trying to cram as much information as possible into your head is not the way to go. In fact, test preparation starts well before the night before the test; it starts the moment your teacher gives you the first piece of information that will be on your next test.

Paying Attention in Class

A key part of preparing for a test is doing what you’re supposed to do: PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS! Listen to your teacher and take good notes. Often, your teacher will hint at what will be on a test by saying something like “this is important,” “make sure you remember this” or even “this will be on the test.”

Make sure you complete all homework assignments because teachers typically assign homework to test key skills and concepts that will be tested later. If you have trouble completing a homework assignment, ask for help. If something in class does not make sense, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question.

Studying Before the Test

Instead of studying the night before a test, take time to regularly review your notes. If your test is still a few weeks away, you only have to study your notes a couple times a week. The week before your test, however, you should be reviewing at least part of your notes at least 10 or 15 minutes every day.

Pay attention to any study guides or review sheets your teacher hands out. Use those materials to help determine what you need to study. Unless your teacher tells you otherwise, if it is not part of the study guide or on the review sheet, don’t waste time studying it. If your teacher does not pass out a review sheet or study guide, you can ask for one or make one yourself. To make your own review sheet or study guide list the keywords and topics you have learned on a piece of paper and choose to study a few every day the week before the test.

Preparing Your Body and Mind

You can pay attention in class and spend hours studying for a test, but if your body and mind are not prepared for the test, you will not do well. In addition to making sure you know what will be on the test, you should take a few steps to make sure you are ready, such as:

  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before the test.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of the test or a healthy lunch if the test is in the afternoon.
  • Think positive. If you think you can pass the test, chances are you will.
  • Push aside any negative emotions that you may be feeling, such as anger or sadness.

Perhaps the most important aspect of part of preparing for a test is to relax. If you pay attention in class, take good notes, study regularly and make sure your body is ready to test, there is no reason to be nervous.

Suggested Exercises
  1. Make a list of all of the tests you have coming up so you can start studying for them.
  2. Write out a schedule so you can review your notes for every class a few times each week.
  3. Pretend there will be a test on preparing to take a test in a week. Create a review sheet for that test.

Discussion Questions
  1. What are some words or phrases your teacher uses to point out what is going to be on a test?
  2. What are some healthy foods you can eat the morning of a test?
  3. Who are some people you can ask for help if you don’t understand what is going to be on a test?
  4. A famous poem by C.W. Longnecker says: “If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you like to win, but you think you can’t, It is almost certain you won’t.”
    Do you think this is true when it comes to preparing for and taking a test? Explain.