10 Pointers for Test-Taking

     With the end of the school year fast approaching, finals are on the minds of many. Here are several test-taking pointers to help our students:
     1. Plan Ahead. Get your rest and eat healthy in the days before you test. Optimal performance depends on your ability to focus. Also, start studying before the actual test date - "cramming" information will only store 5-7 ideas in your mind.
     2. Arrive early, relax, and listen. Plan to arrive at least five minutes prior to the test time. This reduces the likelihood of feeling rushed or missing out on vital instructions. Arrive early and take some deep breaths. Get your things situated (pencils, pens, papers). It's easier to focus on the test when you aren't tense or anxious because you were late or missed instructions. Also, be certain to listen carefully to the instructions, and to ask any clarifying questions. 
     3. Write your name on the test. Yep, you'd be surprised how many people forget this piece of the test because they are in such a hurry to get started - and done.
     4. Memory dump. Take a moment to write down (in the margins or on scratch paper) the things you believe you are most likely to forget (formulas, definitions, dates). Then you can relax even more and focus on the test.
     5. Read any written instructions carefully. Make sure you know exactly what you are supposed to do.
     6. Read each question twice before answering. Be certain you understand what the question is asking. Sometimes there is a single word that can change the meaning of the question, such as "Which is NOT...".
     7. Mark answers carefully. If it's a multiple choice test, be sure to read each answer. Eliminate the answers that don't make sense, or that are completely wrong. When you mark the answer, be certain your teacher will know what you chose (for example, don't make a circle that includes both a. and b.). For fill-in-the-blank tests, the teacher needs to be able to read the answer, so penmanship counts!
     8. If you have difficulty answering a question, you may want to go on to the next question. You can come back to difficult questions later. Sometimes other questions will give you hints that can help answer difficult questions
     9. If you finish the test early, go back and check your answers. Check to make sure you answered all the questions, especially if you skipped a few difficult ones. Be careful you don't start second-guessing yourself; remember, the answer that first pops into your head is usually correct.
     10. Keep a positive attitude and stay confident! You can do this!

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