Improving Your Score: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Test Takers [Teen Article]

Becca is a 16 year-old from West Palm Beach, FL. She loves to cook and travel, and she would like to study International Business in the future.7 Habits of Highly Effective Test Takers
May is the month of AP and IB testing and is consequently many students’ least favorite time of year. We all want to maximize our results, so here are the

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Test Takers:

1. Start studying BEFORE the night before

For some students, cramming is both helpful and essential, but you shouldn’t depend on it as your only study habit. If you start reviewing earlier, you’ll increase your chances of remembering a larger amount of information for the exam.

2. Repeat

Creating a studying routine will get you in the habit of preparing well. To retain data in your long term memory, you have to practice what psychologists call “memory maintenance and rehearsal.” Repetition and routine will make it easier for your brain to recall information when you see a question on the test.

3. Study with friends

If you know that you’ll be able to stay focused, group studying can be extremely helpful. You should try to engage as many senses as possible when you study, and group settings will help you use senses such as sound more often than individual study will.

4. Sleep

Getting sleep the night before the big exam is a balancing act. Obviously, you want to be well rested for the test. However, many students will try to go to sleep significantly earlier than they normally do on school nights. Their bodies are simply not used to this and, consequently, will actually keep them up long past when they first climb into bed. Try to go to sleep a little earlier than your normal bedtime, but also keep in mind that a normal REM sleep cycle lasts about eight hours and is essential for finalizing memories.

5. Come prepared on test day

You never know if your test room is going to be boiling or freezing, whether they’ll have pens and pencils, or if you’ll be able to see the clock. Wear layers so that you can be comfortable during the test regardless of the temperature; bring at least three sharpened pencils and three pens with black or blue ink; and wear a watch.

6. Gum or mints

Chewing gum or mints during the exam can actually help increase concentration and focus. This is especially true for kinesthetic learners (types of people that “learn by doing”).

7. Make plans

Having plans for after the test is actually a helpful way to relieve test anxiety. Ask your friends if they want to go to the mall or a movie or catch a bite to eat after you finally finish the test. This will allow your brain and body to de-stress after the exam. Remember- there’s nothing you can do once the test is over!

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