You can prepare yourself to succeed in your studies.
Try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  • Take responsibility for yourself.
    Responsibility is recognition that in order to succeed
    you can make decisions about your priorities, your time, and your resources.
  • Center yourself around your values and principles.
    Don't let friends and acquaintances dictate what you consider important.
  • Put first things first.
    Follow up on the priorities you have set for yourself, and don't let others, or other interests, distract you from your goals.
  • Discover your key productivity periods and places.
    Use the time you are most alert, such as in the morning. Find study spaces where you can be the most focused and productive. Prioritize these for your most difficult study challenges.
  • First understand others, and then attempt to be understood.
    When you have an issue with an instructor, for example a questionable grade put yourself in the instructor's place. Now ask yourself how you can best make your argument given his/her situation.
  • Look for better solutions to problems.
    For example, if you don't understand the course material, don't just re-read the material. Try something else! Consult with the professor, a classmate, or the AcademicSuccessCenter.

Tips for terrific test taking

When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material or perform certain tasks. Successful test taking avoids carelessness and results in achievement.


  • Analyze your past test results.
    Each test can further prepare you for the next test.
    Use your tests to review when studying for final exams.
  • Arrive early for tests.
    Bring all the materials you will need such as pencils and pens, a calculator, a dictionary, and a watch.

This helps you focus on the task at hand.

  • Be comfortable but alert.
    Choose a good spot and make sure you have enough room to work, maintain comfortable posture but don't "slouch."
  • Stay relaxed and confident.
    Remind yourself that you are well prepared and are going to do well.

If you are anxious, take slow, deep breaths to relax. Do not talk with others about the test prior to taking it. Anxiety is contagious.

Test Taking

  • Read the directions carefully.

This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors.

  • If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview.
    Note key terms, and jot down brief notes.
  • Answer questions in a strategic order
  • First easy questionsto build confidence, score points, and mentally orient yourself to vocabulary, concepts, and your studies (it may help you make associations with more difficult questions).
  • Then difficult questions or those with the most point value. With objective tests, first eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong, do notseem to fit, or where two options are so similar as to be both incorrect. With essay/subjective questions, broadlyoutline your answer and sequence the order of your points.
  • Review
    Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items. Review your test to make sure that you have answered all questions, not miss-marked the answer sheet, or made some other simple mistake. Proofread your writing for spelling, grammar, punctuation, decimal points, etc. Change answers to questions if you originally misread themor if you have encountered information elsewhere in the test that indicates that your first choice is incorrect

Decide on and adopt study strategies that worked best for you.
Identify those that did not work well and replace them.

Test Anxiety

Most students experience some level of anxiety during an exam.
However, when anxiety affects exam performance it has become a problem.

Use test preparation to reduce anxiety.

  • Approach the exam with confidence. Use whatever strategies you can to personalize success, such as visualization, logic, talking to yourself, practice, team work, or journaling.
  • View the exam as an opportunity to show how much you've studied and to receive a reward for the studying you've done.
  • Be prepared! Learn your material thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test.
  • Choose a comfortable location for taking the testwith good lighting and minimal distractions.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time,especially to do things you need to do before the test and still get there a little early.
  • Avoid thinking you need to cram just before.
  • Strive for a relaxed state of concentration. Avoid speaking with any fellow students who have not prepared, who express negativity, and who will distract your preparation.
  • Physical exercise may help sharpen the mind.
  • Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam.
  • Do not go to the exam with an empty stomach. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress. Stressful foods can include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, eggs, fried foods, junk foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, chips and similar snack foods, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices.
  • Take a small snack, or some other nourishmentto help take your mind off your anxiety.

During the test

  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Budget your test taking time.
  • Change positions to help you relax.
  • If you go blank, skip the question and go on.
  • If you are taking an essay testand you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind. Outlines are also a very good idea.
  • Do not panic when other students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for being the first done.

If you find yourself tensing and getting anxious during the test

  • Relax! You are in control. Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Do not think about the fear. Pause and think about the next step and keep on task, step by step.
  • Use positive reinforcement for yourself. Acknowledge that you have done, and are doing, your best.
  • Expect some anxiety. It is a reminder that you want to do your best and can provide energy. Just keep it manageable.
  • Realize that anxiety can be a habit and that it takes practice to use it as a tool to succeed.

After the test, review how you did

  • List what worked, and hold onto these strategies. It does not matter how small the items are for they are building blocks to success.
  • List what did not work for improvement.
  • Celebrate that you are on the road to overcoming this obstacle!

If you are aware that you have a problem with test anxiety,
be sure your teacher or instructor knows before any testing begins (and not the hour before!). In addition, the ASC is always available to help!