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12 Test taking tips for high school students

Test taking can be a real struggle for many high school students. Even after studying for hours the night before, many students will have test anxiety during test time. 

Students become stressed and anxious, and become so worried about doing well on the test, that they can not remember what they studied prior to the test. 

Studying for a test is only half the battle! Taking the test and doing well is also very important, but for some, can be much harder. 

Test taking is a skill that students need to learn! Since every class has tests, test taking is an important skill that all students need for academic success. 

And students CAN learn this skill, with just a little bit of practice. 


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These test taking tips and strategies can help students learn the skill of becoming a better test taker. Most of these test tips should have been learned in elementary school. But in my 10+ years as a private tutor, I have learned that most teens that are struggling in school have not learned these tips that should have been taught to them prior to high school. 


So here are some test taking tips and strategies to help your high schooler become a better test taker, and improve their test scores.

1. Stick with your instinct. If you come to a question that you are unsure of, stick with the answer you immediately want to go with. Your mind has a good reason it wants to stick with that answer. Trust yourself and go with your gut instinct. 

2. Don't change answers. You may be tempted to want to change an answer if you are unsure. Don't do it! Most times when you want to change an answer, you change it from a correct answer to an incorrect answer. Review number 3 above, and stick with the first answer. 

3. Suck on peppermint. Studies show that peppermint helps recall memory. So sucking on a peppermint candy can help you better remember what you studied. 

4. Take your time. Take a deep breath, go slow and take your time. There is no reward for rushing through the test. You do not do better when you rush. Take your time and read every word to every sentence. 

5. Focus. It can be SO difficult to stay focused sometimes. Especially when there are so many distractions in the room. Try your best to block everything out and only focus on the test questions. 

6. Answer every question. Never leave any question blank. Even if you do not know the answer, go with your best guess. Any answer has a better chance of being right then no answer. 

7. Eliminate wrong answers. This really only works with a multiple choice question. But if you do not know the correct answer, eliminate the incorrect answers. By doing this, you have just increased your chances of guessing correctly. 

8. Guess B or C. For multiple choice questions, if you do not know the answer, guess B or C. Over 50% of the time, the answer is hidden in the middle. 

9. Review all questions. Once you have gone through the test once, go back through it again and review all the answers. You may see something that you missed before. 

10. Keep reviewing until the time runs out. Once you have reviewed the test once, review it a second and third time. If there is still time remaining in the class, there is no need to turn your test in early. Take advantage of the time and keep reviewing your answers until time runs out. You never know when you might catch something you missed before. 

11. Change an answer IF it was answered by a different question. On a rare occasion, a test question at the end of the test may answer a question towards the beginning of the test. (the question itself may provide an answer to the previous question.) Take a moment to go back, find the question, and correct your answer. 

12. Don't forget to write your name! So many times students rush into the test and completely forget to write their names. You will not get credit if there is no name, so make sure to leave a name. 

13. If you are struggling with a question, ask the teacher. If you are confused about a question, ask the teacher in a way that shows you are struggling with what the test question is asking. Many times teachers will help guide you in the right direction towards the correct answer.  

By learning these test taking tips, your teen can become a better test taker, and learn the skill for future academic success!


ps. Want to join a community of parents with teens that struggle in school? Our community is called Academic Accelerator for Parent of Teens. We provide support, encouragement, and resources for parents with teens and preteens that struggle in school!


My name is Rachael and I have been a private tutor for over 10 years. I earned my undergraduate degree in 2 and a half years and earned my graduate degree by age 22. I have tutored dozens of high school students, college students, and graduate students. I offer my resources and experience to help parents learn how to best help their teen or child that is struggling in school.