December 04, 2009 | | Comments 0
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General Test-Taking Guidelines

Successful test-taking is a learnable skill. Some people freeze up when faced with taking a test and find themselves forgetting facts that they knew well only hours before the exam. Others become physically ill or very nervous. However, there are specific strategies for taking tests, which sometimes depends on the nature of the test themselves. There are also general strategies for preparing tests. These often pertain to ensuring learners’ general health and well-being.

The following are some general strategies to suggest to nursing students and staff members to avoid test panic and to do their best on examinations:

Make time to attend review sessions, if made available: Such sessions may be offered in person or online. In either case, they are excellent opportunities to ask questions and interact with your fellow learners and educator.

Do not skip meals before the test: A nutritious meal will help with concentration and provide a source of energy.

Manage your time: If the test is scheduled for the afternoon or evening be conscious of the time. Aim to arrive at the testing location at least 10 minutes early, which will allow you time to get settled but not so much time that it will add to any tension.

Read all directions carefully: This will help prevent careless mistakes from happening.

Maintain a positive attitude: Be confident. Fear and negative thoughts really do interfere with test-taking abilities.

Double-check your work if there is time: This may allow you to catch any mistakes.


What are some helpful hints you offer to nursing students? Does your facility have a testing program in place? What are other ways to help reduce the stress of test taking?


Source: Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN, author of Learning Styles in Nursing Education: Integrating Teaching Strategies into Staff Development

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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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