Recipe for Success | Quantum Prep

Recipe for Success

Last Updated on December 14, 2016
Solomon Berman

Recipe for SuccessOur Holiday Recipe for Successful Test Taking

Holidays are a great time of year to share and try new recipes. So what could be more fitting than a recipe for successful test taking?

Taken from the pages of our comprehensive Test Taking Tactical Training Manual, here is my recipe for a tasty holiday test!

Before you begin cooking, scan through the list of ingredients

Take a moment to scan through the exam. Take a look at how many questions there are, how long the exam is, and what types of questions are being posed. Mark the questions that look easiest, and the questions you will need to budget more time for.

Follow Directions Carefully

Read each question carefully. Students lose many points on exams simply by not reading the questions carefully. The sheer number of points lost is stunning.

Clearly identify the information that is being asked for, including units. Mark what you are given. There is absolutely no shame in writing all over your exam with highlighters, or by underlying words, in order to make the question clear for yourself. Remember, you only get credit for answering the actual question, not the misread question.


1/2 Cup of Relax

Stress is the body’s method of reacting to a challenge, often triggering the fight or flight response. While a test is certainly a challenge, we are neither fighting it, nor running away, so relax!

Stress will not help you remember or calculate an answer. You have already prepared as much as you can. Now all you need to do is respond, and staying relaxed is the best way to prepare to respond.

2 Cups of Confidence

Trust yourself. If you have done all of the studying and assignments correctly leading up to the exam, trust that the exam will be no different and that you will do well.

Keeping your confidence and a positive attitude during exams is as much a part of success as studying and doing your assignments.

1 Cup Common Sense

Check to see if your answer makes sense. There are not 1000 kilometers in 1 meter nor will a block of wood go down a sandpaper covered ramp faster than the speed of light. Scrutinize your answers using logic and reason. If an answer does not make sense, don’t write it down. Go back, re-read the question, examine your steps carefully and find your error.

…and a Generous Heap of your Best Effort

Leave everything in the room. Just like in sports, there is training time and race time. Training is in the lectures, the labs, the study and the analysis. You look at your results, you adjust your techniques. But, race day is the exam. You start, you do your very best to the finish line and you’re done.

Preparation: Mix Ingredients in any Order

Go in any order. Answer the questions that you like first, that you know you will answer correctly. Build up some confidence, and get into a rhythm or stride. Then, start tackling the questions that are more challenging for you.

Consequently, if you are not getting anywhere with a question, “Go into denial.” Pretend the question is not there, go to another one with a clean conscience, and then come back to the original question with a fresh perspective.

Cooking Time: All that is available

Feel free to use all of the time allotted. Faster is not smarter! There are no extra points for finishing early.

Take all the time you need to do well, even if that means using the whole examination block. The anxiety alone of trying to finish before other students is enough to throw you off your game. Don’t pay attention to which students finish before you, or to how many are left. Leave only when you’re completely satisfied.

Remember, taking an exam is as much psychology as it is preparation. It is a skill in its own right, and one that requires training.

For a complete list of Quantum Prep’s Test Taking Strategies, just write us at [email protected] with “Test Tips” in the subject line.

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