How to Get Through a Timed Exam

Timed exams. There’s no getting around them. At some point you will face this test of knowledge measured against the relentless passage of time.

Before you fall into a complete panic, however, take a moment to relax. Anything can be overcome given enough dedication and practice. That includes the dreaded, timed test. Here are some smart steps to keep in mind.

Study the Course Material

No matter what kind of test you are about to take, the best approach is to study. Refresh yourself on all the major points of the material you are being tested on. Study virtually with your classmates. The better you know the material, the faster you will answer the questions.

Develop Sample Questions and Answers

Think like your professor. In your study group, have each person come up with sample questions based on the material.

Conduct a Mental Rehearsal

Sometimes, visualizing success is a great first step before achieving success. Imagine you are taking the test and doing well on it. Ask yourself questions and come up with the answers.

Get Some Sleep

You’ll do much better if you get some sleep before the test. Don’t pull an all-nighter.

Check Test Guidelines, Format and Question Types

Is the test multiple choice (you hope)? Is it filled with essays? Some combination of the two? For New England College students, it’s good to know that your professors will specify the type of test in the Learning Management System.

Also, have the practical issues nailed down. Is the test at a specific date and time or within a certain time frame? Must it be taken from a computer in a specific location? What’s the total amount of time to take the test? Know all this beforehand.

Check Your Computer

Whatever computer you use on the test, ensure it’s working properly before starting. Make sure all the hardware and software are running well and that you have a solid internet connection.

Find a Quiet Place to Study

You need extended periods of quiet time to prepare for the test. If you study at home, make sure everyone knows to leave you alone and that you’ve created a productive work space. If you study away from home, think more of a location like the library rather than the noisy chaos of a coffee shop.

Now that you’ve prepared yourself well, it’s time to go in and crush this test. Keep the following tips in mind when taking the exam.

Read the Directions

This simple step trips up many people. Make sure to thoroughly read through the exam questions and understand them. Tackle the easiest questions first and knock them out. Try to get down a partial answer on more challenging questions.

Keep an Eye on Your Time

Don’t get caught up in spending a long time on tough questions, especially at the beginning. During your initial read-through of the test, try to estimate how much time you will need on each section and do your best to stick to that.

Check Your Work

Go back over your answers. Make sure you’ve completely answered every question. As noted above, make sure you have at least partial answers on essay questions you could not complete in hopes of getting partial credit. Review everything for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Also, in case there is a technical glitch, make sure to keep a copy of your test answers.

While not easy, doing well on a timed test is certainly doable. Keep the above tips in mind. Working on these issues is better than spending time worrying or in fear of the test. Don’t panic. You’ve got this.

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