Test Taking Tips
You found it! This page contains some of the best test-taking tips available. They will be good to increase your exam score by at least a few percentage points.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to merely put in the required hours of study when preparing for your licensing exam. As you may, or may not know, no school writes the licensing exams. Us schools have no control over what questions you encounter on your exam. Most schools have no idea what students will face on the licensing exam, other than what is found on the content outline.
So, with all that in mind, let’s get to some test-taking tips and tricks that will help you get the 3-5% points that will make the difference in passing your license exam on your first attempt. You’re welcome!
Lastly, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page here.
Before the Exam:
How Do I Study?
Well, there isn’t one great answer for this one. Our tip is to study whatever way is most useful for you. Everyone learns differently. Some learn better by reading, while others learn better by watching an instructor. Whichever way works best for you, use it.
Additionally, you are headed down a long road where there is a lot to learn. You want to do so as quickly and effectively as possible. Create a study calendar for yourself and follow it. If you study for six months, chances are by the end of the six months; you forgot what you learned in the first month of your studies. Then you have to start all over again. Sheesh!
Condense your calendar, dedicate your time, and get it done!
PS – Unless you are taking randomized exams, such as the exams in our exam prep courses, don’t take the same exam over and over in one sitting. Doing so will lead to you unknowingly memorizing answers, versus understanding the concepts behind them. You don’t want to do that.
Can I Memorize These Questions?
No! The answer is no. The questions on your exam will not be the same as the ones you have been or will study. If you can memorize the answers to the questions in your study material, then congratulations. However, you will not pass your exam. Why? If you change one word in a question, then the answer to that question changes as well.
It would help if you studied as many practice questions as you can get your hands on, including the ones in our courses. The most important thing to ensure is the questions you study come with detailed explanations, such as ours. To successfully pass your license exam, you need to be able to determine not only why the correct answer is correct, but why each incorrect answers are incorrect in the practice exams you study.
Heck, if someone had an actual copy of the license exam, don’t you think they would be selling it online? Plus, the testing companies have thousands of questions in their databank. Even if you bought a copy, chances are you would get a completely different one at the test center. So much for memorizing the questions.
Listen. We know you have been studying your butt off for this exam. You are either prepared or not. No one knows which it is better than you do.
When was the last time you stayed up all night? Chances are, it has been a while if you have ever done so at all. Losing sleep and staying up all night cramming for your exam is a bad idea. The less rest you get the night before your test, the slower your brain will react to the questions you encounter on the exam, and the more you will answer incorrectly.
Don’t modify your regular sleep routine at all the night before your state exam. You want to be well-rested and ready to rock!
Morning Person, or Night Owl?
Do you naturally wake up early ready to rise and shine and take the world by storm, or do you hit the snooze button five times and need to guzzle coffee before you can process anything? Everyone is different in this respect. Well, aren’t you lucky you can generally take the license exam at your convenience throughout the day? It is true to get the exam date and time you want; you will most likely have to schedule well in advance, but still.
If you roll out of bed ready to rock and roll, take the test first thing in the morning. If you take a few hours in the morning to get moving, schedule your exam later in the day. Going against the grain in this respect is sure to cause you to obtain a lower score than you usually would, and we want you to PASS, so please consider this.
Day of the Exam:
Where Are You Going?
So, are you familiar with the part of town you are taking your state exam? You may be taking the test 10 minutes down the road, or you may be traveling for hours to get to the testing center. One thing is for sure; you don’t want to get caught in a traffic jam, or worse, get lost on your way to the testing center. Luckily, you can now visit the test center without ever leaving your home online using Google Maps. We recommend doing so and planning out your route well in advance of the day you will be taking it. There is no reason to add any stress to this process by being unprepared for your trip to the test center.
Remember those closed book exams you used to have in elementary school? Sometimes your teacher would be kind enough to let you review your book or notes for five minutes before the test. Your licensing exam is a similar situation.
Just before you go into the quiet room to take your exam, they will give you a piece of scratch paper to use throughout your test. Once your test begins, write down any facts or formulas you have compiled during your studies for quick reference while you are taking your exam.
Your brain is crammed full of information from your studies. Release a little on your scratch paper after you start your exam, and it will help the rest flow freely during your exam.
Your Happy Place
We all have one. A physical place we have been or imagined which brings us to calmness with peace of mind. It could be laying on the beach soaking in the sun, or out on a hike in the woods. Whatever your happy place is, bring it with you to the test center. Whenever you feel yourself getting stressed, or even a panic attack coming on, close your eyes and go to your happy place. Take ten deep breaths and then open your eyes. This trick should help you calm down and refocus during your exam.
RTQ. Read the Question!
Sounds stupid right? Of course, you are going to read the question. Or are you? We don’t care how much you know about the content presented on your exam. We guarantee you the most knowledgeable expert would miss at least one question on a 100 question exam by misreading it. Don’t forget, the companies that administer the exam get paid by YOU every time you take the exam. Do you think it is in their interest for you to pass on your first attempt? NOPE!
They give you a time limit for a reason. Use it! Take your time. Read the question twice before you even look at the answers and read every response before you pick the correct answer. Answer A may sound good, but answer D may be even better. Remember, there is no blue ribbon for finishing your exam first. It is not a race! Take your time, and don’t let the testing company trick you.
Give me a Break!
Depending on your exam, you may or may not have a scheduled break during the test. It is also worth mentioning your test may be broken into two or more parts with a natural separation being between the national portion (general), and state regulations.
Whether or not you have a scheduled break, you should make your own, right in the middle of your exam. You should have more than enough time to take a five-minute break to get up, drink some water and use the restroom if need be.
Let’s face it, these exams are long, and our brains aren’t used to working so hard for such sustained periods. Give your most potent muscle a break, and it will be ready to come back even stronger than before.
To Mark or Not to Mark
As you take your license exam, you will have the opportunity to mark questions for review, so that you can come back to them once you reach the review exam screen. You will also have the option to review the entire exam once you have completed all the questions the first time.
Well, you either know the answer, or you don’t. If you know it, select it and move on. There is no need to mark a question for review to which you are sure of the answer. If you don’t know the answer, or you have it down to a 50/50 choice, mark the question for review. Heck, the test vendor may even give you the answer for one of the questions you marked later on in the exam. Wouldn’t that be great!
I have never heard of that before. It must be the right answer.
Sounds pretty stupid when you read that doesn’t it? Selecting an answer you have never heard of is another common mistake made during standardized exams. If you are taking your state exam, there is no doubt you have studied for hours and hours. Do you know it all? No. Do you know enough to pass? Hopefully.
The companies that administer the exam will make up words and place them as incorrect answers, commonly known as distractors. Unfortunately, they usually sound convincing. Have faith in your studies, and don’t pick an answer you have never encountered. Chances are it is made up.
All of the following statements are true EXCEPT:
The all are true except question format is the format of a notoriously tricky question for test-takers. This type of question is a double negative. The answers should include three true statements and one false, with the false statement being the correct answer.
These are the best questions EVER. Why? They are giving you three true statements related to the topic they are asking about in the question. Boom! Free information that could answer other questions in the exam. Yes, please!
Here is a trick that will help you with these questions. Sometimes there will be two answers that say the exact opposite thing. Such as, answer A could say 2+2 = 4, and answer D may say 2 + 2 = 5. Well, if you know 2 + 2 = 4 is a true statement, then 2 + 2 = 5 can’t possibly be true. Therefore, the correct answer is D, since it is a false statement.
Most hate them, and some love them. It depends on whether you are a math person or not. The good news is twofold. Although there will likely be a few math questions on your exam, they won’t make or break your score. Hurrah!
Are you running on E, or full?
There are two things you don’t want to happen during your exam. You don’t want to be starving, and you don’t want to be too full. Common sense here I know, but since you could be taking the exam at just about any time of the day, or even night, make sure you have something in your stomach which will keep you energized throughout your exam. You don’t want to hear rumbling from your gut during the test (and neither do any of the other examinees). You also don’t want to be so full you want to fall asleep. Stuff yourself after you pass, and then you can take a nap.