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Video:Learn ESL: Tips for Taking Tests

with Alex Jimenez

Taking tests can be daunting particularly if the test is not in your first language. ESL students will find this About.com video, Tips for taking tests" helpful while preparing.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn ESL: Tips for Taking Tests

Hi, I’m Alex Jimenez, a licensed ESL teacher based here in New York City.  I’m here for About.com to talk to you about test taking strategies.  What you do before and after a test is just as important as what you do while taking the test.  Try to learn as much as you can about the test before actually taking it. 

Be Familiar with the Test's Format

Read any test preparation materials that you can find about the exam.  This way, you’ll know what kinds of questions you need to study for, and what kinds of questions you might not have to study for.  This way, there will be no surprises when you sit down to take the exam.  Find out if there are any practice tests available.  You’ll want to use practice tests to get better and better at taking the test.  You might be able to find some old exams on the Internet, or find a study guide in a bookstore.  The more experience you have practicing the exam will make you a better test taker when you sit down to take it.

Healthy Habits Before the Test

A growling stomach or a cloudy head can get in the way of even the most prepared test taker.  Be sure to sleep well, eat a nutritious breakfast and get lots of rest before the test. 

Strategies During the Test

It’s ok to skip a question and come back to it later.  There’s no reason why you have to answer every single question in the exact order that they come in on the test.  It’s totally ok to skip questions and move on to the next one.  If you spend too much time on one question, you might lose valuable time on other questions later on in the test.  If there’s extra time at the end, you can always go back to the questions that you skipped and try them again. 

The general rule for answering multiple choice questions is as follows: one of the four answer choices will always be totally ridiculous – you can just cross that one off right away.  One of the other answer choices will be the complete opposite of the correct answer – you can cross that one off too.  The remaining two answers will be close, but only one of them will be the most correct answer.  Be sure to answer both answer choices clearly, so that you can be sure to make the right decision. 

After the Test

After the test is over, if it’s at all possible, review your mistakes with your teacher or classmate.  Learning from your mistakes will help you better on the test next time.   It’s important to understand what kinds of mistakes you’re making, so you can break that habit. I hope these tips will help you do well on your exams.  For more test-taking strategies, please visit About.com

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