STEM Test Taking Strategies

“Test Today” may be one of the scariest phrases to see on the chalk board. Even if you studied, this phrase will raise your blood pressure. BreakThru has two modules specifically designed to assist with test issues: “Test-Anxiety” and “Test-Taking Strategies.” Be sure to read and practice the tips in both modules.

This section is broken out into several smaller sections that address specific strategies. You will probably also want to do the module on Test Taking Anxiety.

General Rules for taking a math or science test:

  • Start preparing for the test one week prior to test. Cramming for a test does not work.
  • Use a Memory Dump. After the test is handed out, write down all the formulas, rules, and other information you want to remember for this test on a scrap sheet of paper. This dump will be a reference sheet for you as you progress through the test. [video of a student preparing a mental cheat sheet and conducting a memory dump]
  • Skim the test questions. Mark the ones that you know how to do and then the ones you will have to think more about. Do the problems you know how to first. These will build confidence and help you to relax.
  • Do the questions you are less certain about next. Remember to show all your work.
  • Do the hardest problems last.
  • Review your work for careless errors. This is much more important than most students realize.
  • Staple or attach your scratch paper to the test. You may get extra points.
  • Review the following common test taking errors and make certain they don’t happen to you.