Tips for Test Takers

         Study in small groups

- Make sure your study group contains only students who are serious about studying, at least some of whom are of your ability or better.

- Go over as many different problems as you can (e.g., old homework problems, problems from the text). Don't quit on a problem until you are convinced you could do it yourself.

- Brainstorm possible things you could be asked and answers you might give.

- Leave the beer in the refrigerator until you are done studying.

         Make a crib sheet as though you were going to cheat on a closed book exam. If the test is closed book, know what is on the sheet. If it's open book, bring the sheet with you.

         Avoid all nighters the night before the test. You need to be at your mental best for an exam.

         Think about a backup system for your alarm clock for morning tests, e.g., a second alarm clock or a wake-up call from a friend.

         Arrange backup transportation in case your usual transportation fails.

         Be sure you have a backup pencil and good batteries in your calculator.

         Read the whole test first. If you can immediately answer a question, then do so. After answering the easiest questions, go back and answer the more difficult questions and progress to the most difficult.

         Stay in motion. Work on a problem until you're not sure what to do next. Think about it for a minute or two and if nothing comes then drop it and go on to another problem. You may often find that when you get away from a sticky problem and then later get back to it, the solution procedure magically appears.

         Budget your time. Don't spend 30 minutes sweating out an additional five points on a problem and run out of time leaving a 40 point problem untouched.

         Think partial credit. Make sure you write something for each part of every problem. If you don't have enough time to solve a problem, say something about what you would do if you had more time. An unanswered question always gets a score of zero.

         Show your work. You may be able to do the whole problem in your head and just write down the answer, but don't. If you are wrong, you will get zero credit.

         Identify your answer. Write legibly and make sure the grader can find your answer amongst all your calculations.

         Avoid marijuana. Taking a test stoned is a sure way to reduce your grade.

         If you don't understand a question, ask the instructor for help. You will often get some, and in any case it never hurts to try.

         Check your answers if you have time at the end. Have you answered each part of every question or did you overlook something? Do your solutions look reasonable?

         DON'T PANIC. If you feel yourself sweating, hyperventilating, etc., put down your pencil, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and consciously relax any muscles that you're clenching (jaw and stomach muscles are good candidates for this).