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Math Test Strategies

If you’re writing a math exam, review this list of tips before the event!

Math Test Tips

  • wear a watch. The clock in the room may not be in your view. And worse, it could be broken!

  • scan the entire test before you begin solving problems. Get a feel for the job ahead.

  • for the most part, give your time and attention to problems you think you can answer correctly.

  • keep an eye on the time/clock. Pace the test according to the questions’ difficulty. (Be sure to get the easier problems correct!)

  • mix up the order in which you complete the questions — according to your strengths.

  • write every step when doing solutions. Show your work. All of it! SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW! (Have I made my point?) You may get some credit for work you do, even if you can’t solve the entire problem.

  • *** As a teacher who’s marked thousands of math tests, I want my students to succeed. My colleagues are the same! Give teachers opportunities to reward you, so share your stuff.

  • pay attention to the points value per problem or question. Be sure to match your work to this value.

  • cross out your errors. Don’t fuss about having a perfectly-presented test page. Your work is what matters on an exam, not your presentation. Make sure to write legibly, however.

  • keep your eyes on your own test. Focus on your own efforts. Don’t worry about other students, and whether or not they finish before or after you.

  • if you have time left at the end, go back and check your answers from scratch. But be careful! Your first answer may be the accurate one!

Good luck on your exams!

For tips about preparing for math exams, check this blog post.

And, if your exam is multiple choice, read this!


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