Ready for test day? Preparation is critical to a great score but even the best prep can go awry if you fall into one of these test traps. Sail through your test season by knowing these 9 things to never do:
- Be late. Pack everything you can the night before test day, triple-check your alarm and make sure you have a full tank of gas and directions. Leave even more time than seems ample.
- Neglect to bring adequate supplies. Make sure you have the right kind of writing instrument, a calculator (charged) if you need it, water and a snack.
- Misunderstand the format of the test. Some tests penalize you for guessing, and some don’t. Some require an essay at the end, and some are all multiple choice. Feeling confident about what’s expected with no surprises will help you approach the test calmly.
- Jump in without reading the directions. Sometimes the wording can be tricky. Make sure to read it thoroughly – and then re-read it to make sure you’re answering the question they’re actually asking.
- Choose an answer without reading all the choices. Sometimes at the end they offer “all of the above,” or “A and C” or another multiple answer option – you don’t want to have answered “A” and moved on without reading the rest.
- Dwell on a question that you don’t know the answer to. If you don’t know something right away, don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Move on and then come back if you can.
- Triple guess yourself. If you have time to review your answers and you find a silly error, by all means fix it. But most times you want to go with your gut, rather than overthinking your answers.
- Forget to watch the time. You really want to pace yourself on the test. Read through the entire test so you know how many sections there are – and if some are going to be more challenging than others. Create a rough plan for how you’ll divide up the test and move on when you need to. You can always go back if you have extra time.
- Get too stressed. Brain freeze can sink your test. Breathe deeply, repeat a mantra like “I’ve got this” and get through it.
Mastering the “art” of test taking can be a huge advantage. Preparation and confidence can give you that extra boost to nail your tests.