Checklist For You During The Exam

Why Use An Exam Checklist?

When taking a lengthy standardized exam, it is crucial to be as prepared as possible to help build confidence and walk away successful. Below is a checklist of strategies to use during the test to help relieve stress and stay focused.

1. Read the test directions and questions carefully

  • Understand what is being asked of you by reading all the directions and test questions completely. If you are confused by the directions or questions, slow down and reread the items.


2. Watch the clock

  • Keep the time requirements in mind but don’t let them overwhelm you on test day. Use the clock to pace your exam and also as a tool to stay on track.  


3. Don’t get distracted by others taking the test

  • Focus on your exam and don’t feel pressured if others complete the exam early. Take the time necessary to answer all questions and feel confident about your testing session. The exam is testing the knowledge you know, not what others are doing on test day.


4. Stay calm

  • Try to stay as calm as possible! If you feel yourself getting worked-up while taking the exam, stop and take a deep breath.
    • Take five deep and controlled breaths to calm your nerves. With each breath, inhale (count to five while holding the air in your lungs) and exhale (counting to five while allowing a deep breath out).


5. Anticipating the answer

  • Think about the question and what the possible answer/solution may be before you even look at the choices provided. This strategy will help you to better decide on the correct answer and feel confident in your choice.
  • To do this: 1) cover the answer choices and read only the question stem 2) think about the answer you would provide if it was an open-ended question 3) uncover the answer choices and select the option that matches your initial answer


6. First impressions are usually correct

  • The first answer that pops into your head is often the correct one. Don’t over think the problem! You can always come back if you have enough time and try to analyze the question further.

7. Process of elimination

  • Eliminate all the answer choices that are out of place or don’t make sense. To do this, read over each choice and decide if you think the answer sounds correct. If it doesn’t, eliminate that option and move on to the next.


8. Look for cues in the question

  • If two answers seem correct, look for cues in the question. Use logical reasoning and context clues to help locate the best answer choice. Pay attention to keywords such as none, always, never, all, and must because these words are often linked to incorrect answers. Remember, there is only one correct answer choice for each question.


9. Answer all the questions

  • Often you are not penalized for incorrect answers, so attempt to answer all of the questions. If the question seems confusing, make an educated guess. You may also want to skip the question and address it at the end.


10.  Check over the test

  • If you have enough time, check over your exam. Do not change any answers unless:

1) You have evidence to change the answer

2) you misunderstood the question and realize a mistake

3) you recall information for the text/question and find the correct answer


Finally – Decompress when the exam is done

  • When you are leaving the testing center, don’t forget to decompress. Think about your experience, embrace the negatives, applaud the positives, and move on. Don’t let the test consume your entire day.  


If you felt this Checklist was helpful, take a look at “Before the Exam Checklist”


How can MINDSPIRE help with any exam?


At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for any standardized exam, give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).


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