11 Effective Test-Taking Strategies For High School Students

Exams are an inevitable part of high school and can be a source of stress and anxiety for many students. The pressure to perform well can be overwhelming, and even the most diligent students struggle to stay focused and prepared. However, with the right test-taking strategies, high school students can overcome these challenges and achieve academic success. 

Whether preparing for an important exam or just looking to improve your overall test-taking skills, the right strategies will help you stay calm, focused, and prepared. So, get ready to take notes and learn how to become a test-taking pro with this blog!

Test-taking Strategies For High School Students

Here are some Effective test taking Strategies to help you prepare and score high in exams:

1. Start your studies early

By beginning your studies early, you will have ample time to study what you need to know for the test. This covers any fresh ideas you need to grasp and any study of previous information that might be tested.

Starting early also offers you time to address any doubts or queries you may have with your teacher or peers. This will help you comprehend the subject matter better and improve your chances of performing well on the test.

2. Establish a study plan

Making a study plan is crucial since it enables you to manage your study time efficiently. It enables you to order the content you need to review so you may concentrate on your areas of greatest weakness.

You’ll feel more prepared and in control of your study time if you create a routine for it. A study plan can also help you ensure you have enough time to finish everything you need to study before the exam.

3. Practice previous exams

One of the best methods to get ready for a test is to practice for previous exams. It gives you an idea of the test’s structure, question types, and degree of difficulty. Examining previous tests enables you to spot any information gaps so that you can concentrate your study efforts in those areas.

Additionally, reviewing previous examinations can teach you how to manage your time effectively and familiarise you with the test’s pacing. Here are 15 activities for you to utilize for your SAT prep exam and books for ACT.

4. Take care of yourself

Maintaining a positive mindset, staying calm and focused, and having confidence in your abilities are crucial for exam success. Taking care of yourself before the exam is essential by getting enough rest, eating well, and exercising to reduce stress and anxiety.

When you feel good both physically and mentally, you will be better able to focus and perform your best on the exam.

5. Practice time management

Using efficient time management during the exam is crucial. Make sure you manage your time effectively to avoid completing the exam before time runs out. Planning for some additional time at the conclusion to review your work is also a good idea.

6. Pay close attention to the instructions

Before beginning the exam, be sure to study the instructions carefully. This guarantees you are familiar with the exam’s structure and the standards for each part. You don’t want to drop scores because you misunderstood the directions.

7. Utilize your time effectively

Make good use of the exam’s allotted time. Take your time on the exam and don’t waste an excessive amount of time on any one question. Give yourself enough time to review your responses and make any required adjustments.

8. Use keywords

Be sure to thoroughly read the essay questions and incorporate keywords or phrases into your answer. This will make sure that you are responding to the query and staying on the subject.

9. Show your work

If the exam contains math or science-related problems, be careful to show your work, like maths or making diagrams; if the paper is arts related, write long explanation answers. Even if you make a mistake, doing this will help you receive partial credit and demonstrate to your instructor that you comprehend the material.

10. Answer the easy questions first

You can gain confidence and momentum by responding to the simpler queries first, and you’ll have more time for the more difficult ones. You’re less likely to become stuck or feel overwhelmed by the more challenging questions if you begin with the simpler ones.

Additionally, by responding to the simple inquiries first, you can avoid missing out on any points that could significantly affect your final score. You’ll have more time and concentration to devote to the more difficult issues if you address the simpler ones first.

11. Review answers at the end

Using any extra time you have at the end of the test to review your answers is important. Take a few minutes to check for mistakes, ensure you have answered every question, and make any necessary corrections.

Pay attention to the questions you skipped or were unsure of, and look for careless mistakes like calculation errors or missing units. This strategy helps improve your score, shows thoroughness, and avoids missing easy points due to errors.

How can test-taking skills impact academic success?

Academic success depends on the ability to take tests, but many students have test anxiety, which can lower their scores and have a detrimental impact on their academic performance. Students can, fortunately, employ a variety of tools and techniques[1] to enhance their test-taking direct and indirect abilities and eventually control test anxiety. It might be very beneficial to seek academic consultations for personalized advice on time management and study techniques. 

For self-help, students can consider reading a book by Judie Kesselman to learn some test-taking strategies[2], as the book name itself, from it. The book discusses a wide range of test-taking-related topics, such as how to study, how to cope with test anxiety, how to take multiple-choice tests, and how to write essay exams. Additionally, it offers preparation tips for various exam types, including certification exams, proficiency tests, and standardized tests.

Additionally, general exam-taking techniques like being composed, getting a head start on studying, and prioritizing the information to review might enhance success. Enhancing executive functioning abilities, including time management, memory, and learning, can also help test-taking abilities. 

As a student, you can also utilize educational apps to help you study through your exams.

In the end, mastering effective test-taking techniques is crucial for academic achievement because exams are frequently an important part of the evaluation procedure.


In conclusion, for high school students who want to thrive in school, learning effective test-taking skills is essential. The appropriate strategy can help learners feel less anxious, perform better, and ultimately score well in exams. Don’t forget to start your studies early, make a study plan, and remain composed and concentrated while taking tests.

Use these strategies to improve your test-taking abilities and succeed in high school. You may succeed academically and realize your full potential with effort, commitment, and these test-taking techniques.


  1. Dodeen, H. (2015). Teaching Test-Taking Strategies: Importance and Techniques. Journal of Psychology Research. https://doi.org/10.17265/2159-5542/2015.02.003
  2. Kesselman-Turkel, J., & Peterson, F. (2004). Test-Taking Strategies. Univ of Wisconsin Press.

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