Wayne State University

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University Advising Center

How to take exams

During your college career, you will take many of exams of all sorts: essay, multiple choice, short answer, true/false, etc. Becoming savvy about preparing for and taking tests during your first terms of college will certainly enhance your level of success and contribute to a competitive GPA at graduation.

  • Find out about the test beforehand by asking what type of test will be given (essay, multiple choice, short answer, etc.).
  • Be sure of what textbook material, lecture topics, or outside reading assignments will be included on the exam.
  • Plan your study time well in advance of the exam and schedule review sessions frequently throughout the term.
  • Organize the needed review activities into a logical sequence and set deadlines for meeting them.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam.
  • Stay away from such stimulants as coffee, tea and cola drinks before an exam.
  • Prepare for an exam by creating sample questions about the material that will be covered and formulating answers to those questions.
  • Listen to the directions given very carefully and read over all written directions before beginning an exam.
  • In the exam room, choose a seat away from friends and distractions.
  • In approaching multiple-choice exams look for such qualifying words as "always", "never" and "only" to give clues about the correct answer.
  • Read through the entire exam before beginning to see if information in one question will help with an answer a question whose answer you are unsure of.
  • If there is no penalty for guessing, make an educated guess by eliminating answers which are clearly incorrect.
  • Eat lightly before an exam and stay away from foods with high sugar content.
  • For true-false exams pay close attention to every detail of the question.
  • Connect with other students in class to form a study group at least a week in advance to prepare for an exam.