Test taking skills are really a culmination of all other study skills. Generally, if you are well prepared, you will do well on tests. The trick is to be well-prepared and to know when you are well-prepared.
Always keep in mind that test are supposed to measure what you have learned. As a result, don't take any knowledge for granted. It is often difficult to write everything we know down because we think, "Well, the professor knows this." Of course, but you want to show the professor that you know the material, too. Being too brief or cryptic in the answers doesn't show one's true understanding of the material.
Preparing for a Test
First find out the testing format. Will the test contain multiple choice , true/false, short answer, or essay questions? Will the test be a combination of some or all of these?
Find out the type of knowledge the professor will be testing: Is it straight memorization and comprehension? Are you required to apply this knowledge to new situations? Will you be asked to analyze (or compare and contrast) different scenarios?
Check out the instructor's webpage and/or office for any clues, and definitely look at the course goals, objectives, and learning outcomes listed in your course outline. These can be true gold mines.
Tests and exams
- This is a helpful pdf with the motto “success comes through PETS: preparation, exam skills, time, self-confidence.” The first section is called “Preparation: Revise During the Semester" which includes an explanation of the SQ5R method (survey, question, read, recite, review, reflect). The next section on preparing for exams elaborates on keeping a positive attitude, keeping fit and healthy, drawing up a revision timetable early, and finding out exactly what is required for the test/exam.