Test-Taking Skills Are Essential for College-Bound Students

Test-Taking Skills Are Essential for College-Bound Students

Test-taking skills are extremely important for college-bound students to learn. As students progress from elementary school into middle school, teachers utilize testing more to ensure mastery of subject knowledge. Assignments in most classes are still focused on in-class work, homework, and projects. As students enter high school and post-secondary schools there is a grading shift to tests being weighted heavier than all other assignments. Mastery of test-taking skills will prepare students for academic success and prepare them for future careers.

Reduced Test Anxiety

The National Institute of Health estimates that around 40% of US students in grades 9 through 12 suffer from test anxiety. This number drops slightly for college students to around 35% suffering from test anxiety (Hanfesa et al.).  Test anxiety can be a major barrier to academic success for many students. Developing test-taking skills in most cases can reduce a student’s test anxiety and make them feel more confident when taking tests. This reduction in stress produces better academic performance on tests and improved academic outcomes overall.

Improved Academic Performance

The University of Kansas found that when students learned Test-Taking strategies they achieved an average 10-point increase on tests (“Test-Taking Strategy”).  It would seem obvious that good test-taking skills would improve academic performance but a majority of high school students have little or no idea how to take tests.  This is alarming in an academic system where “Tests determine grades and grades determine college acceptances and future high-level employment” (“UCLA School Mental Health Project”).

Preparation for College and Career Exams

Helping students perform well in high school is not the only purpose of learning Test-Taking Strategies. Good test-taking skills can assist a student in doing well in post-secondary education and career exams.  An example of ways test-taking strategies can assist is with ACT, SAT, CLT, GRE, LSAT, TOEFL, NCLEX, REXPN, ASVAB, and CLEP just to name a few.  By developing these strategies early in high school, students can improve their performance on these exams, school tests and improve their career success.

Improve A Student’s Critical Thinking Skills and Self-Esteem

A key skill a student learns when taking tests is how to think critically and analyze the information being presented in a structured manner. Overall, the student will improve their critical thinking abilities, test-taking confidence, and self-esteem. By performing well on tests students feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities.



“≪P≫Test Anxiety and Associated Factors Among First-Year Health Science Students of University of Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study≪/P≫” Advances in Medical Education and Practice, vol. Volume 11, Dove Medical Press, Nov. 2020, pp. 817–24. https://doi.org/10.2147/amep.s275490.

“Test-Taking Strategy.” Strategic Instruction Model (SIMTM), sim.ku.edu/test-taking-strategy#:~:text=In%20studies%2C%20students%20who%20learned,percent%20of%20the%20questions%20correctly.

UCLA School Mental Health Project, www.smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/briefguide.pdf. Accessed 30 Oct. 2023.

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