In a few weeks, students across the country will be taking the December Administration of the SAT. Midterms may also be just around the corner for students with semester classes. Even if your student isn’t in high school, he or she will sit down to complete a high-stakes test at some point this year. Regardless of the test ahead, there are some strategies you can provide your student to pass exams.
Simple tips to pass exams
Know the directions and formats ahead of time
If you are taking a standardized test, the directions and the format are the same every time. Taking practice tests and reviewing the directions in advance can save you precious time when you arrive to the test.
If possible, arrive early to the test site so that you can get comfortable and take a big breath. Get relaxed and feel confident!
Read the questions first
Reading the questions first can help provide a purpose for reading. For example, if you know question 5 will ask you to determine the meaning of a word in line 67, you can circle that word before you even begin reading. Then, when you get there, you know to think about that word’s meaning in the context of the essay or story.
Pass exams by predicting the answer
If possible, predict the answer. This will help you save time to find the answer that best aligns with your prediction. Read the other answers to be sure that yours is the best.
Eliminate wrong answer choices
Somewhere along the way, someone started the rumor that “if you don’t know, you should just guess C.” Instead, I always tell students to cross out what they definitely know is wrong. Even if you end up guessing, at least you’ve eliminated some of the distractors and increased your chances of a correct answer.
Look for key words
Look for words like always, never, except, most, or least and circle them. The test is looking to trick you and see if you are paying close attention.
If you think you know the correct answer or have an initial reaction, don’t second guess yourself. Trust your instincts because you are probably right.
Pass exams with essay tests
Paraphrase the question
Make sure first that you understand the question by writing it in your own words. Underline key words like define, compare, explain, etc. to help you stay on task.
Outline your ideas first
Before you begin writing, take a minute to outline your ideas. This will help you organize your thoughts and make sure that your essay is the strongest essay possible. If you take a few minutes in the beginning to outline your idea, you will save time overall.