Academic Resource Center


Test Preparation

Test preparation requires reviewing information from many sources, then making choices about what to emphasize. In addition to selecting the information, it‘s also necessary to organize the material so that it forms a cohesive piece. From the information that’s been organized, you can anticipate test questions and prepare to answer them by practicing for either objective or essay tests.

Sources of Information

Class notes
Look for the major ideas presented in your notes, then fill in the details. Prepare summaries of each lecture. Compare these with the textbook and fill in additional information.

Go back over the markings you have made in your textbook and make sure you have the major concepts organized and the details noted. The main points should be given extra emphasis through highlighting, stars, or other symbols. Look at the headings and subheadings as guides to what should be studied.

Information written on the board
Always copy information written on the board and indicate in your notes that this was emphasized in class.

Ask the professors for as much information regarding the format of the test and the major areas to study as possible. If a review session is planned, go prepared to ask both general and specific questions.

Other students
Both students who have already taken the course and others presently in your class can serve as resources. These students can help you focus on what has happened in the past and will have perceptions about the present material that might help you to gain insights.

Former tests
Use your former tests and quizzes to help select information for study. If tests from other years are available, make sure you examine them for format and for specific questions.

Course syllabus or topic outline
Look over the topics for the course and begin to make an outline or organizational chart of how the topics fit together. For each topic, list the sources of information for study—dates of notes, chapters in books, and titles of other resources.

Table of contents
Use the textbook table of contents to find the major topics and supporting information. As in the use of the syllabus, make an outline or organizational chart to show how the topics fit together.