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Strategies To Increase Test Scores

We’re always striving to improve our test scores, but what do we do when we’ve already hit the books the hardest we can? To some degree, test scores don’t just measure understanding, they also capture our sleep habits, breakfast, and time management skills. Chances are, there are a few quick fixes to your test prep rituals that’ll bring your grades up.

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Truth be told, almost every one of us doesn’t perform as well on tests as we’d like. Yes, even the student who received a “perfect score” on their last reading quiz, has somehow convinced themselves they could’ve done better. Of course, the best way to improve test scores is by studying. Further, meeting with your teacher and discussing tricky test content is extremely important. However, this post is geared towards what we can do to boost test scores assuming we’ve studied hard and consistently leading up to our exams.

The week of the exam . . .

Truth be told, almost every one of us doesn’t perform as well on tests as we’d like. Yes, even the student who received a “perfect score” on their last reading quiz, has somehow convinced themselves they could’ve done better. Of course, the best way to improve test scores is by studying. Further, meeting with your teacher and discussing tricky test content is extremely important. However, this post is geared towards what we can do to boost test scores assuming we’ve studied hard and consistently leading up to our exams.

The night before . . .

Woo-hoo! Your exam is tomorrow, and despite feeling nervous, you’re ready. At this stage in the game, it’s important to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically for the exam. Before a big test day, I like to prepare my outfit, food, and backpack for the following day. Not only does this mitigate the risk of last-minute stressors or timely distractions, but it gives you a sense of preparedness and confidence that’ll propel you through the test. More importantly, sleep. Being well-rested the morning of the exam is arguably as important as studying. You could know the test material from front to back, but a bad night’s sleep can make that knowledge inaccessible. That said, don’t throw your sleep schedule out of whack. As long as you get to bed at a reasonable time, and get at least eight hours, you’re set. 

During the exam . . .

Before you do anything, aside from perhaps writing your name, read the directions on the exam. For one thing, your mind is the sharpest it’ll be for the entire exam, and after a little brain fatigue kicks in, even simple instructions may start to look like gibberish. Once you’ve read the directions, and raised any questions with your teacher, scan the test to see what lies ahead. Is there a matching section? How about a true/false? Knowing what kinds of questions lie ahead will help you pace yourself. Anecdotally, I like to answer the fastest questions I’m most sure of first because it brings me comfort knowing I’ve already completed part of the test. Moreover, if you begin to run out of time, you’ve already scored some guaranteed points. If you don’t know the answer, keep it moving.

These tips are only of use once you’ve already found your groove studying. If you haven’t quite spent enough time preparing for the test, all of this proposed studying routine will help, but it isn’t a panacea. In order to see the test results you’d like, you’ll need a combination of rigorous studying, and deliberate self-care. So, how exactly can we study most effectively? Are flashcards the way to go? Or merely memorization? Taking the time to audit your test preparation isn’t covered here, but it’s a worthwhile venture in improving your score.

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