Test-taking: tips and tricks

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BYU students must discover and practice good test preparation and test-taking skills each semester to effectively balance their workload. Whether students choose to take a course to master testing skills or choose to develop their own routine, success can be found as they experience testing at BYU.

Student Development 214R is a course that teaches testing strategies designed to help students assess testing problems and overcome them. This course instructs students in how to develop study guides, use test time wisely and avoid distractions in the testing center.

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Student Development 214R is a course that teaches testing strategies designed to help students assess testing problems and overcome them. This course instructs students in how to develop study guides, use test time wisely and avoid distractions in the testing center.
“The teacher is in control of the test and you are in control of the way you take it,” said W. Kerry Hammock, instructor of Student Development 214R. “Those who apply the concepts from the class see dramatic changes. It is up to you to change your behavior.”

Many students have not taken this class but have established their own test preparation techniques to find success. Sara Luke, a junior majoring in early childhood education said she likes to study in different places to keep her concentration. She advised students not to procrastinate.

“Preparation is the key to test taking,” Luke said. “You can’t skirt around good preparation.”

Nate Jones, studying molecular biology, from Oneonta, N.Y., said he prepares for tests by going back through his lecture notes and attending review sessions. He suggested students should eat before they take a test or bring food with them so they can take their time.

“I’d rather take a test in the testing center more than in class because it gives me another day or two of studying and I can take it at a time that is convenient,” Jones said.

Positive psychology and spiritual preparation can also assist in doing well on tests. Hammock recommends relaxation techniques like the audio files offered by the stress management lab intended to calm students.

Nick Redmon, a film studies major from St. George, strives for both a positive attitude and spiritual guidance before he takes a test.

“I review everything I’ve learned about a topic, let it soak in, pray about it and do the best I can,” Redmon said.

Regardless of the type of test, Hammock said he knows testing techniques at the college level are created to assess students’ knowledge rather than deceive them.

“Teachers are not trying to trick those who know the material the most, and award points to those who know the most at the highest level,” Hammock said.

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