Top Tips For Passing Those All-Important Tests


You’re about to sit an important test. Do you stare at the paper with a blank mind? The words written on it look familiar but for the life of you, you can’t make any sense of them. After what seems like endless minutes, you finally make sense of what you’re looking at but the problem now is that you didn’t prepare for this particular topic.

Variations of this situation have probably happened to most of us at one time because tests are part of life. Want a driver’s licence? You have to pass several tests. Trying to get a degree or diploma? There’s almost always a test standing in the way of you and that piece of paper. However, with a bit of savvy, effective preparation you don’t have to live with that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you you’re nowhere near as well prepared as you thought you were. Or that you’re running out of time to get it done before the ‘pens down’ signal is given.

Preparation is key. Start preparing well ahead of your date with an exam paper. Leaving things to the last minute is the very last thing you should do. If possible, start thinking about the exam looming at the end from day 1, and be aware of where your problem areas are. These are the things you don’t particularly understand, and may need to spend a bit of additional time reviewing just before the test.

Make a point of understanding each lesson or lecture as you go; go back through your notes, do extra research but if you truly understand the subject matter, there’s not much a test can throw at you that you won’t be able to answer. Knowing that you know your topic also gives you confidence, and it means that come exam time you’re not swatting at the last minute, or staying up all night studying. You can give yourself a quick refresh the night before and then get a good night’s sleep.

Stay calm and relaxed when you walk into that exam room. Read the questions properly, and make sure you clearly understand what is being asked. Getting the last minute jitters will make you question your knowledge, and preparedness. You could start over thinking the questions and begin to think you’ve misunderstood what is being asked. That in turn could lead to you actually making mistakes.

Study the paper right through and get a feel for how long it’s going to take to answer each section. You can then plan your time accordingly.

Start with the easy stuff first. This is a great confidence booster. By the time you get to the harder questions, you’re on a roll. Not only that, it’s also effective use of time. The faster you get through the easy questions, the more time you’ll have to spend on the harder ones. If you do it the other way round, you may find you’ve spent so much time on the difficult questions that you don’t have time to do the easier ones justice.

Study Guides Help Focus Study Efforts

Some courses make it a lot easier for students to study, and pass tests. There may be study guides available for example that use questions from previous exams. By studying these, you can get a feel for the types of questions that will be asked, the topics that are likely to be included, and the format those questions will take. You can then focus your study efforts accordingly. The Fire Officer 1 study guide and other similar guides for those taking fire service certification exams are good examples of these types of study guides.