Your First College Test

Now that school’s been in session for a while, you may find yourself face-to-face with your first college test in the near future.

Some professors—especially those presiding over lower- and freshman-level classes—will run their classrooms and their tests pretty similarly to what you experienced in high school.

They’ll help you prepare for their tests by giving you study guides and letting you know exactly what’ll be on the test in an effort to ease your anxiety, and you’ll probably have been given some pretty comprehensive handouts or PowerPoint slide printouts that you can use to study from. You’ll also know exactly which parts of your textbook that you’ll need to read to be on the test. This, however, is pretty rare. Especially after freshman year.

Instead, you’ll only have a vague idea of what’s on the test—you may know that it’ll be on everything that you’ve covered so far this semester, or that it’ll cover a few specific units. It’s also possible that you won’t have a very clear idea of what you’ll need to know. This depends very heavily on your professor and, often, the academic environment of the college that you’re attending.

Some schools are pretty easy on students, and you’ll be likely to have professors that make it easier for you. Other schools are more rigorous and less sympathetic to the stresses of being a student. You’ll just have to feel this out for yourself.

No matter the type of college you’re attending, you’ll find yourself studying a lot for your tests. Especially if you’re not very sure of what will be on it.

When in doubt, study everything that you’ve learned in class, as well as all of the readings that you’ve been assigned from your textbook. Get in the habit of using effective studying strategies to help you out—find a few that work for you and use them for all of your tests.

Another thing that you may not know is the format of the test—will it be multiple-choice? Essay? Short answer? A combination of these? Another format?

You’ll probably have at least some idea of what it’ll be like, but you should definitely be prepared for anything. Be ready to write, be ready to read, and be ready to take on any type of format that you can think of.

While there are some pretty significant things that you may not know about the test, keep in mind that professors won’t test you on things that you haven’t learned, or been assigned to learn.

Professors don’t use tests to stress you out—they do it to make sure that you’re learning. And they don’t do it in the hopes that you’ll fail. They’ll usually do what they can to help you out.

So do what you can to prepare, relax, take your first test, and you’ll get a good feel for it so you know what to expect next time.

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