Good Test Taking Strategy (Not Just for Exams)

February 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Reading Time: 1 min 30 seconds

Had a test today and stumbled onto a good test taking strategy.  No, this doesn’t just come from a one time occurrence, but from a realization of things I’d learned a couple years ago. This will work best with short answer questions, where the answer isn’t right in front of you, but you have to search your mind for it.

Obviously, you want to have studied well, but specifically you need to read through all the notes you have as thoroughly, but quickly as possible.  This is step one.  Just take as much time as you have, an hour or two tops, and get through the notes at least once, maybe twice.  This does not replace your general studying, but is for review, to keep the material is fresh.

Then, when you sit down to the test or get to the short answer portion go through it relatively quickly.  The first time through spend no more than 20-30 seconds thinking about the answer or trying to remember.  If you remember it, good, then write it down.  But if you are having difficulty, then after about 20-30 seconds skip it, and move on.  Go through the entire short answer portion or exam like this.  Once you have come to the end, go back to the beginning and go through it again.  What you will find is that for many of the questions you couldn’t remember before, you will more easily remember what the answer is, and quicker.

What happens is that while you are continuing with your test, your mind is still trying to find what you were looking for.  And by going through the exam, other questions may remind you of the answer.  So when you get back to the question, your mind has done the searching while you were working.

This applies to life in general as well.  If you are trying to remember something, go back to whatever you have from that situation, anything that was present, especially something significant to the situation.  Often when people forget what they were going to say, I start telling them what we were just talking about in the minutes leading up to it, and they remember.  If nothing seems to trigger the memory, then move on, and come back to it later.  Your mind will continue to search for what you were trying to remember.  For more on how your memory works and how to make it work better read Mega Memory by Kevin Trudeau.  Hope this helps people.  God Bless.

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