The Test-Taking Mistakes All College Students Need to Avoid

Many people identify as “poor test-takers”. There is a good chance that you see yourself in this position as well. Although it is a fairly common occurrence, it is still a problem that you need to overcome. After all, your educational career can depend on it.

The good news is that this is a fairly simple issue to solve. Of course, this is as long as you are aware of what mistakes to avoid when you are sitting down for your exam. If this is the kind of assistance you are looking for, then this is what you need to know:

Not Being Aware of the Format of the Test

Now, as you are aware, each exam has its own format. Some are made up of multiple-choice questions while others require you to write long, essay-type answers. Then there are those that are a mix of the two or consist of an entirely different structure.

It is important that you know just which structure you will be facing before you sit down to the test. Otherwise, you are going to end up confused and unable to answer the questions properly. This is something that may happen even if you have prepared well and know all of your material.

To prevent this from happening, look up prep sites and locate practice exams. Then, make sure to do several of these over a period of time. By doing this, you can familiarise yourself with the format and learn some interesting tricks to take the exam more quickly and efficiently.

Focusing on Hard Questions First

Every student knows what it’s like to face a difficult first question. It can stop you in your tracks and make you feel as though you are going to fail the entire exam. What’s more, it can capture your attention for longer, causing you to ignore all of the other questions.

If this is something you are guilty of, then you need to change up your tactics. This means finding the easy questions and answering them first. Thus, you can make sure that you will score these points, at the very least. Once you have managed this, then move onto the harder questions. However, don’t spend too much time on any one section.

Not Considering the Marking Scheme

Far too many students don’t know how long their answers should be for each question. As such, they end up wasting time on short answers while limiting their word count on the ones with higher points. Well, if you keep falling into this trap, there is an easy way to get out of it.

First, always check how much your answer is worth – this will be mentioned beside each question. You can then use this as a guideline to determine how much to write. For instance, if a correct answer will provide one mark, then answer the question directly and to the point.

On the other hand, if you find that an answer is worth several points, then you will need to come up with a long argument. It isn’t just about length, though. With more point-heavy questions, you need to make sure that you are covering all of the facts, necessary to support your more comprehensive argument.

Failing to Read Directions or Questions Carefully

Since there is quite a bit of anxiety associated with test-taking, it is only natural for you to want to speed through the paper and be done with it. Unfortunately, when you take this route, you risk missing important directions or instructions that are at the start of the paper or within the questions themselves.

So, make sure to always take a deep breath and read through all the instructions carefully. Underline or circle the important points that you need to remember. Do the same thing with your questions as well. This will greatly reduce the risk of you missing out on something that you need to do.

Being Overcome with Panic

As mentioned stress while sitting for an exam is fairly common. At the same time, panic isn’t going to do you any good. In fact, it can seriously impact your performance. If this is something that you have experienced in the past, then you need to get a handle on it before your next test.

Perhaps one of the more effective strategies for you with this kind of panic is adopting relaxation techniques. In particular, deep breathing exercises can help to get your anxiety under control when faced with an exam. However, this is something that you need to practice since you need to get used to it.

Thus, make sure to try and master these deep breathing techniques on a regular basis. This way, if you do start to panic at an inappropriate moment, you will find it easier to bring yourself back to a more relaxed state.

Writing Exam Essays without Preparation

When faced with an essay, it can be tempting to simply start writing. After all, you only have a limited amount of time to jot down your ideas. Nonetheless, you should never simply start an essay without planning it first.

To start with, jot down the main ideas that you want to mention in the essay. Then figure out the structure – introduction, explanation of main ideas, conclusion. After this, flesh each paragraph out a little more. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to include in your argument, then you can start writing.

When you do some prep work, you will discover that it is easier to write a more precise and intelligent essay. What’s more, there is often a better flow as well and you are far less likely to make silly mistakes. Overall, you will be able to write a much better essay.

As you can see, there are quite a few mistakes that you can make as a college student about to take an exam. However, now that you are aware of what the pitfalls are, you can take the appropriate steps to avoid them. In doing so, you will discover that it is much simpler to score higher marks.