How to Prepare for College Tests

In high school, one bad grade on a test did not mean that much mainly because of the opportunity to make it up. In college, however, every single test you are given counts and there are almost no make-ups.

Many veteran students advise freshmen students if they do nothing else, be sure to study for major tests. You have to know what you are preparing for before you can prepare for a college test.

Here are a few things to consider and think about:

  • Is the test format a true/false, fill-in, multiple choice or some combination of these?
  • What content do you need to know and what information will be tested?
  • How much of the test is based on the textbook, on your notes and how much on class work?
  • Will the test be an hour or two hours long?

By reading your syllabus you can usually find the answers to these questions. You can also gain this information by listening in class or by checking your professor’s website.

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Be sure to arrive early so you have some time to settle in.

Some professors turn away late-comers and lock their doors when giving an exam. This is another reason for making sure you arrive on time if not a bit early. It can be distracting sitting by friends during a test.

  • Consider where you sit with this in mind.
  • Arriving early will also give you some time to calm down and focus on the task at hand.
  • Be sure to choose your seat carefully.
  • Be sure you have any necessary items for the test such as pens, pencils, erasers, calculators, rulers and so on.
  • Put the needed items in your backpack the night before the test so you are sure not to forget them.
  • Be well-prepared the day of your test.
  • Carry extra batteries for any electronics you may need.

Read the directions carefully and pay close attention to what you are to do.

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You should ask yourself the next questions as you review the directions. There are some tests where you have to answer all the questions and on other tests you only need to answer a few. You might have a special answer sheet or a blue book where you must write your answers. Be sure to find out where your answers are to be written for the test.

In math, you might be asked to show your work. In English, you may be asked to include a paragraph or two in your essay. Whatever the case might be, find out how much information you need to include.