- Learn the test structure, time period for each section, and directions for each section. Knowing this information has two benefits for you. First, you will know ahead of time what you are expected to do, so you can practice. Second, knowing what kinds of tasks you will need to perform will relieve some of your test anxiety.
- Learn the vocabulary of the subject matter. You will not be able to answer questions if you do not understand what the terms mean. The glossary at the back of your textbooks can be handy study guides.
- Annotate the questions. Circle, bracket, underline, checkmark—in some way highlight the key words in the question. Use these to help you find the right answer choice.
- Use the process of elimination when you are not sure about an answer.Even the College Board suggests that if you are not sure about an answer but can eliminate at least one answer choice as being wrong, guess. Use logic to work your way through the answer choices until, through the process of elimination, you can select one answer as your best "guess."
- Guess if you have to. Part of pacing is moving on when you come to a question that stumps you. But if, when you come back to it, you still are not sure of the answer and hesitate to use the process of elimination, think of these facts: A wrong answer deducts a 1/4 point from your score. A right answer adds a point. You would need to guess wrong four times to lose a whole point.
- Pace yourself; this is a major benefit of practicing for the test. You may be expected to answer 80 multiple-choice questions in 55 minutes and plan and write an essay in 35 minutes. Only by pacing yourself will you be able to come near to accomplishing these tasks. Work out a pacing schedule for yourself. Write it in your test booklet if you have to in order to remind yourself to work steadily and efficiently. It will help keep your anxiety level under control.
- Don't be careless in marking or erasing answers on the answer sheet. In other words, blacken answer ovals completely and erase your changes completely. You have probably heard this every time you have taken a standardized test, but it is true. Multiple-choice tests are scored by machine and the machine is not programmed to deal with pencil marks, only blackened answer ovals.
- If you skip answering a question, circle the question number in the test booklet, not on the answer sheet. The same reason applies; stray marks confuse the machine.
- If you skip a question, be sure you skip the answer line for that question.