How to Ace a Test

Three Parts:Preparing in AdvancePreparing the Day of the TestTaking the Test

Nothing compares to getting the most notorious exam back, labeled with a big "A+" brilliantly displayed on the top corner. How would you like to get that feeling after every test whatever kind of test it is? Now you can! See Step 1 below to get started.

Part 1
Preparing in Advance

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    Study well before the test. Do not put off studying until the last minute. If you hold off until the night before or, even worse, that morning, you are less likely to retain all of the material because of stress. Start studying when you find out about the test, or the week of the test.
    • It may benefit you to make a study schedule. When you set aside time to go over the content, you're less likely to let the week slip by, never having studied once. If you're feeling extra ambitious, set aside different times for different sections of study. Say, 15 pages a day?
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    Get a study friend. Get a friend, family member, colleague, your girlfriend or boyfriend or husband or wife to help quiz you -- or at least to listen to you rattle off information. Talking to someone else and making the information interactive makes it that much more memorable. However, remember not to choose a friend who will goof around instead of studying!
    • Or get two or three study friends who are taking the same test if possible! Studies show that groups of three or four people that have a leader to keep them on track and cover all the necessary bases do better than those who study alone. And make sure everyone brings some snacks!
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    Take breaks. It's easy to think charging through a 6-hour study session will ensure you pass any test, but studies show that if you take breaks, your brain has an easier time absorbing information. Your brain is like a muscle and it needs time to relax to perform well, too. Aim for ten minute breaks every hour or so.[1]
    • And take breaks in your content, too. Instead of sitting down with the periodic table of the elements, sit down with just a row, for example Tomorrow take on another. And the next day and so on and so forth. This will also give you multiple times to go over all the information instead of putting all the pressure on yourself at once.
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    Relax. When you stress a whole lot about the test, this makes your body uptight and your brain less functional. So do something relaxing before you go to bed the night before the test.
    • Take a hot bath with some scented oil in it. Heat relaxes the muscles in your body and calms you down. Also certain scents are proven to effect the mind in certain ways. Coconut, lavender, and citrus reduce stress and anxiety but obviously in no way guarantee you will Ace any test.
    • Music and reading also help. Put on some relaxing music and grab your favorite book for instant relaxation.
    • If you have a hobby that is easy to do at home, do it. Doing something familiar makes it easier to relax.
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    Pay attention in class. Paying attention to the teacher, lecturer or trainer will improve your understanding and you can ask clear questions you may have during your instruction. You may also find that your instructor addresses certain test answers or elicits bonus options, so don't start snoozing!
    • When you're in a lesson, take notes on the material. Focus on concepts, definitions, and formulas that you think will be on the test. Use your highlighters and write in pictures and diagrams, too. The funner you make it, the more you'll enjoy it. And the more you enjoy it, the easier it'll be to remember!
    • If you have any questions after you finish your work, you can ask the instructor there instead of getting to the next study period early the next time or not asking them at all!
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    Do all available practice questions. Some may be assigned or in the textbook or on the textbook website and your instructor may use them for his or her test. Talk to your instructor? Or -- do they think this format is especially useful? Do they use the practice questions on their tests?
    • And take practice quizzes and tests, too, if available. You'll feel more prepared in addition to being familiar with the content and structure of the actual test.

Part 2
Preparing the Day of the Test

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    Get some sleep the night before. If you thought cramming was a good idea, you're in for a surprise. Your brain forms memories while you're asleep -- and on top of that, depriving it of the sleep keeps it from firing on all cylinders. So resist the temptation to cram, because it won't do you any good.[2] You'd be much better off shutting the book and getting some shut eye.
    • There's a few more things to add here when it comes to sleep. For starters, get good sleep in the days prior to the test, too. And try studying right before bed or right after you wake up -- studies have shown that the former leads to memories that are synthesized in your memory automatically (because sleep leads to memory formation) and with the latter, your brain is empty and ready to ingest information. But ultimately, you should study when you find it the most effective.[3]
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    Have proper meals before the test day. If you're stuffed or if you're famished, both will lead to your mind being other places. Make sure you're feeling neither hungry nor too full. So be sure to eat breakfast if your test is in the morning!
    • Eat normally, too. If you're on a vegetarian diet, you don't want to suddenly mix it up with a three-quarter pound cheeseburger. That could be very distracting in the worst of ways. It's hard to ace a test in the bathroom.
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    Have your test-taking materials assembled and ready. You are already nervous, so the last thing you want to do is panic if you cannot find your pencil or pen. Keep extra ones handy in your backpack or your pocket. Keep loose leaf ready and have it all organized to take to the exam.
    • Have your notes ready, too. That way if you wind up with 5 or 10 minutes of downtime, you can whip them out and go over them on the bus, between classes, or when waiting for a friend.
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    Listen to music you like. That whole "listening to classical music" makes you smarter isn't exactly true. What is true is that music calms you down and, if you like it, it can increase your ability to focus for about 15 minutes.[4] Prior to the test, play some tunes you like and revel in your new-found attention.
    • Classical music is good for stress, though. If you're feeling a little strung out about this exam, you may want to forgo your preferred gangster rap and settle on Mozart.

Part 3
Taking the Test

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    Go into the test in a positive manner. It's proven that if you think that you are going to do well on the test then most of the time your grade will be higher than if you think you are going to do poorly on the material. Sort of a "fake it till you make it" idea. But it works!
    • Take a piece of paper and write positive stuff like "I will ace my test!" on it. This will remind you to keep up the positive vibes. Be sure to take it out right before the test to get you in the uplifting zone.
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    Take deep breaths to try to keep calm. It's proven that your attitude during the test affects the result much more than how you remember the material. Relax. You've got this! You've done what you could -- now all you can do is stay calm and check the right boxes.
    • If your invigilator allows it, bring a peppermint or two to suck on during the test. Peppermint stimulates the brain and allows you to focus longer and harder.
    • If test anxiety is a thing you're too familiar with, try yoga, meditation, or listening to your favorite song before the test. If you get in a good place beforehand, you'll be more likely to stay there.
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    Read the questions carefully. Read the questions at least twice, in case you missed something before. Underline the keywords in the question. Don't rush. If possible, read the entire exam through before beginning to work. This will give you an idea of what is in store and will help you to manage your time better. It also prevents any nasty surprises with only a few minutes left.
    • If you're concerned about time, don't go over the entire test beforehand. If you're a slow test taker, wait to go over it until the end. You may need more time to write down your answers. Any answer is better than a blank answer!
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    Do the easy questions first. Look through the paper to check if there are any difficult questions that take a lot of time and leave them for last. You don't have to do the test in the order it is written. Work through easy problems first to build your confidence and calm yourself down.
    • When coming back to the tough questions, you will know you have at least made a decent grade, and you know how long you have left. Then if you get correct answer to these questions, it's like you have bonus marks. Win win!
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    Go with your first answer. Your first answer is probably correct and if you go back and change your mind several times, you are likely to make a mistake due to self-doubt. Often when we think about things too much, all reason and logic go away. It was your first inclination for a reason!
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    Use logic if you're stuck on a multiple choice question. Usually one or two of the question choices are clearly wrong, so take those away. Now you should have two answers, creating a bigger chance of you getting it right. Now go over everything and find the best answer out of the two. The key to multiple choice isn't thinking "Which one is right?" but instead "Which of these are not right?" and eliminating answers until you have only one left.
    • Try your best to work out the question. Guess if you have to, because a blank answer surely won't get you any points. But a guess? You could get lucky!
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    Review your answers thoroughly when you are done. Make sure you answered all questions, never leaving one blank. If it is multiple choice, you'll have a 25% chance of getting it right (assuming there are four options) if you don't leave it blank. It's worth a shot!
    • Also, a final look through is a good time to catch any obvious mistakes you might have made and you might remember something more to add to a question as well. Double-checking your work is always a good idea.


  • You do not have to be the first one finished. Calm down and take your time.
  • Study as much as you can. The more studying, the higher your grade will get. Study smarter, not harder.
  • Stress causes your body to release a chemical called cortisol, which can block your brain's ability to recall facts and memories. So, the most important thing is to stay calm and relaxed. Remember that if you don't do well on this test, it's not the end of the world.
  • Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep. If you are tired, you will not be able to concentrate.
  • Use the entire time given. Even if you finish early, check and see if everyone else around you is done, if they are not, you probably missed something, or they are checking their work!
  • If you can't remember something, use simple logic to make a good guess.
  • Keep a calm state of mind. Instead of saying "Oh no! I can't remember all of this!" Say, "It's okay. I can remember all of this." Tell yourself whatever you can to keep calm. Act like you don't care.
  • Don't spend time on information you already know, just what you do not know and it will free you up to learn.
  • When a teacher says something in class and repeats it, write it down. It will likely be on the test.
  • The day before the test, make a study aid with a summary of everything and look it over on your way to school and before class. Fit in all the studying you can.
  • Every little detail matters when learning something new. If you are looking to get a perfect 100% or a 92% A- for students, then you must train yourself to not only grasp the main idea, but to also pay attention to the more discreet information.
  • If you are stumped on a question, skip it. You may remember later on, or another question may unknowingly give you information that you can use for the one you were stuck on.
  • Using note cards to study is a good idea and helps you memorize things a lot quicker and easier. You can even quiz yourself easier! But beware--if you only study the note cards in the same pattern, you won't be studying the information, you'll be studying the order it's in. So switch it up a little bit.
  • Life happens. While taking a test try to put your personal life in the back of your head. Although this is impossible to do with some situations, such as relationship drama, thinking about these problems during the test will make it harder to perform well on the test.
  • Make some flashcards for really important facts, dates, and formulas.
  • It is said that if a student exercises before a test, they will do better on that test.
  • When you are reading material, skim through it first, and then read it thoroughly. After you are done, summarize what you have read in 1-5 sentences without looking at the text. This does wonders for helping you retain knowledge.
  • If the teacher does not object, write your acronyms or memory at the top of the page so you do not forget, and then erase before handing it in so you are not stressing trying to remember them.
  • Take a short nap after studying. It'll help you remember the material better.
  • If your teacher gives you a website that has practice tests or anything that will help you study, go for it! Those help so much. Or Google some websites that will help you.
  • This may not work for everyone, but chewing gum works wonders for concentration and stress. Careful though, some teachers do not like to see gum in their classrooms!
  • Learn mnemonics: an example to remember the "classic" named colours of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet), it can be easier for some people to remember the mnemonics "Roy G. Biv" (a made-up name) instead. Or in reverse "VIBGYOR" pronounced "vib-GYOr". Or easier: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. Most of the time, you need to use something familiar to you.
  • There will usually be questions, which are not directly translated from the book or information source. Try to predict what questions will be asked on the test related to the concepts you are learning, and go the extra mile to take note of as much extra information as possible.
  • Find your learning style. Do this by thinking about what you are good at, how you remember things like dreams, memories, or what you find relaxing. Is it easier to just memorize things or do you need to understand how they interrelate? Do you remember what people say, what they're wearing or how you felt about something? If you are an auditory learner, have someone read the study material aloud to you or read aloud yourself. If you're a visual learner you might find it useful to draw pictures of key concepts or emphasizing it in your notes. If you learn best from reading, read the study material thoroughly. If you are a kinesthetic learner (you learn through movement) then try walking around while reading or doing flashcards. It's important to note that people are often combinations of these styles. It's about finding what works for you.
  • Read your questions carefully and be sure of what the question is asking you to do. If you don't, you will lose out on vital marks and will kick yourself later.
  • If you absolutely do not know the answer, choose B or C. Studies show that B and C are correct more often than A or D. Only use this if you just have too, though. Relying on this alone when you don't get the answer right away will only result in a failing grade.
  • Remember those pretend games you played as a child? Pretend you're in one of those! If you look at it like a game, it helps reduce stress, helps gain some imagination, AND it could make the whole thing a little bit more fun.
  • Sometimes, it can be better to find the hard questions and do them first. Then you can breeze through the rest of the test knowing there will be no surprises and that you've done the hardest questions already.
  • Take the notes you have taken in class and some that you took from your learning source (ex. textbook) and type them out while paraphrasing (putting it into your own words in a condensed form.) After you're done, take a break and read them again right before you sleep. Sleeping after you read something is proven to help your memory.
  • When you are finished with the test or have 5 minutes left, use that time to check over your work.
  • Use flashcards to study, have someone ask you the questions then make a pile of cards you don't know then go through that pile until you know them all really well.

Also ask someone else the questions, preferably someone who doesn't know the answer (I often ask my parents), correcting them will actually help you study.

  • Ask a friend to quiz you and circle the ones you do not know or missed. Later on when studying make sure to go over them several times or even better, make flash cards!
  • Always have a good night sleep.
  • When you study with a friend, make sure you stay focused and don't gossip.
  • When studying, make it fun! Add little rewards you can get if you get a question right. This will make you more focused and motivated.
  • Don't cram everything the day before, trust me it doesn't work.
  • The teacher doesn't always know how to teach or someone is distracting you. If that is possible talking to your teacher is the best solution.
  • Have someone quiz you over the study guide to be confident. Try to print it out and have a go before the test.
  • Get a good night's sleep.
  • Don't be embarrassed or scared to ask questions about the test or something that might be in the test! Other people might have the same question!
  • Read your notes the night before and morning of the test. This helps you remember your study options.
  • Flash cards! Good old way to remember things! Card, subject, meaning. Helps, A LOT.
  • When doing a comprehension test, you should read the questions thoroughly because the questions always give a hint, and this can help you to understand the article better.
  • Broaden your knowledge by reading other material and study hard for your tests. Write down your goals on a sheet of paper as that will help you keep being motivated or give yourself a treat when you get 100%.
  • If you haven't done well on a test, get some extra worksheets or extension activities from a teacher or a tutor. Once you've done, check if you have improved later on.
  • Don't sweat it. Do your best and you'll get what you deserve.
  • If taking a two part quiz and you do not do so well on the first part, don't let it discourage you and your ability to do good on the second part! If you think you are going to do poorly on the quiz, then you probably are right. Thinking negatively helps nothing.
  • Chew the same flavor of gum during your study session and the test. Your brain will connect the information you studied to the taste of the gum, so it will be easier to recall.
  • Be sure to keep calm. Don't stress. Constantly remind yourself that "this test is given to me to simply see just about what I know for this particular topic/subject. It will help me improve and expand my knowledge. I will do great!"!
  • It's not a race. Slow down and take your time. This will help.
  • Revising old tests help you with what is going to possibly be on the next one. It also aids in refreshing your memory for long term memory recall of pertinent information that you need to know in the unit.
  • Do not let negative thoughts creep in. Then you will be fine! Also use your time wisely.
  • Study all the material in detail. Use the guides provided from school to learn more efficiently.
  • Don't copy from someone else's test. If you get caught, you'll fail the test - and even if you don't fail, the person might have the answer wrong!
  • Make your own test notes and study from them , it's easier to study from notes.
  • If you are stuck or unsure about the answer you have put down, circle the question number and come back to it later.
  • If you have finished studying and you feel prepared, go on the internet to find some tests you can copy on a piece of paper. Use those questions to practice the feel of the test. You can also use it to practice the time - set your time to the limit your teacher usually gives you.
  • Recall what you have read after reading it.
  • Eat a good meal before the test.
  • Make sure to eat a good breakfast before a test. Testing on an empty stomach will make you lose concentration.
  • Always talk with friends after each class! It will help you refresh your mind for the next class.


  • Don't be too hard on yourself. Too much stress can be a bad thing.
  • Studies have shown that your brain only stays focused for about 25 minutes at a time, study for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. If you have more than one subject, move on to than and go back and forth.
  • Don't waste your time on one problem if you are not sure of the answer. Do the easy questions first and the harder ones near the end. Sometimes there are other clues in the test that can give you an answer to what you were stuck on.
  • Don't rush. It almost always leads to a lower score.
  • Some people can ace tests without studying or cheating. It's a risk to try to do it their way, so always study just in case. You have nothing to lose by studying.
  • Don't spend all your time on rewriting everything the textbook says without digesting it and slowing down. By just reading carefully, you can save time and get better results than just copying everything the textbook says.
  • Don't stay up all night when it comes to studying! You will be so tired that you will not be able to process what you are reading, you will feel so stressed, and tired you will not be able to concentrate on the test. Also don't cram it in! It does not work and makes you stressed.
  • Don't cheat. You will likely be caught cheating, and you may receive an "F" or a "0" on the test as a result. You might also face further disciplinary action and it can and will follow you through life. Plus, it may not be the right answer anyway - always trust what you know. If you are going to study to ace a test, why copy from a person who didn't necessarily study as hard as you?

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