In a classroom full of nervous college students lurks the beast that everyone must defeat. This week, I finished my first set of finals in college, and I am still in awe of the magnitude of skills these tests require. Learning how to take tests is the secret to succeeding in finals week.
When I take a test, I immerse myself in the exam. I immerse myself in the experience. Taking a test is not something that should be rushed to finish quickly. Savor the time allotted and squeeze every last second out of it.
A lesser manifest skill in the art of test taking is the ability to promote one’s self. I like to think of test taking as a way of bragging about how much I learned without the social distractions of sounding conceited. Being humble never works well in the test taking environment. When the test is open, do not withhold information. Show the grader that you understand and are able to apply the material.
Another great strategy I use while taking a test is to write as if an elementary school student is scoring it. In other words, do not expect the grader to connect the dots by assuming that you know the information he or she knows. In the testing environment, the students who work hard, and the students who hardly work are on the same playing field. Many professors refrain from looking at the names on tests until after grading.
I do not like hearing the phrase, “C’s get degrees.” Of course a C is passing, but what does a C really tell employers? When I am a passenger on a plane, I sure hope the pilot earned straight A’s in flight school. Hopefully, the surgeon who will give me a new knee in sixty years did not get C in anatomy; I might accidentally end up with a new hip. Even though C’s get degrees, A’s get JOBS. College students should not get good grades to graduate. Instead, college students should get good grades for employment.
This is a possible outcome that a positive mindset can play in test taking strategies.
When I earn the privilege of demonstrating my skills in outer space, I want to match the caliber of excellence that my fellow crew members demonstrate. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. My first finals week at Florida Tech was a success because I immersed myself in the experience of demonstrating that I am worthy to be trusted on the track to becoming an astronaut. Learning how to be tested is crucial part of this track to space.
Test taking is all about developing a positive mindset. If I have do something, I might as well enjoy it.