It’s happened to all of us: you walk into class and find out you have to take a test. There’s one huge problem though—you didn’t study. What are you going to do? Well, the easiest (as well as the dumbest) solution would be to just draw a horse on the test and write I DIDN’T STUDY in all caps. The only thing this will accomplish is making your friends laugh. Don’t do it! Instead, follow these simple tips and you’ll do a lot better than 0% correct. In fact, you’ll probably even pass it!
1. Stay Calm
The easiest thing to do in this situation is to freak out and give up. Don’t! You still have a chance of getting a good grade—I bet there’s someone in your class who doesn’t study for any tests and naturally gets A’s. Maybe you won’t ace it, but if you try as hard as you possibly can, you can very likely get a C. Tests are entirely mental: don’t let your mind get ahead of itself. Just take a deep breath, get ready, and do your best on this test!
2. Read Through All the Questions
Even if you studied, this tip is great. Read every single question on the test before you answer any other question. Why? Because your teacher wrote the test with a structure in mind. If it’s a multiple choice test, you’re going to find some questions answered by the other subsequent questions. If the test isn’t multiple choice, you’ll still find clues to previous questions—formulas, processes, etc. Read the whole test, then circle back around to the beginning with new knowledge in mind.
3. Call On Other Classes’ Knowledge
You’ve been going to school for a long time: you know a lot of things! Use those things to help you on this specific test. If the test is about History, recall the books you’ve read in Literature; if it’s a Math test, think about your knowledge from Science. If you can keep in mind all the things you’ve learned in every class, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to this test. It almost feels like cheating—but it’s not! In fact, it’s the whole point of learning: applying the knowledge you’ve obtained to future problems.
4. Ask Questions
This one might work, it might not, but it’s worth a shot. If you have a question you’re really stumped on, go up to the teacher/instructor and ask them about it. Maybe they’ll give you a crucial hint to figure out the solution; in our experience, teachers will sometimes give an answer away if you can illustrate that the question is unfair (maybe the teacher made a mistake writing it and left off the real solution). Also, perk up your ears and listen to other people’s questions for the teacher—if they get a hint, you should get the same hint too!
5. Eliminate Wrong Answers
If you’re working on a multiple choice test, your odds of passing it without studying are actually quite high. Let’s say each question has five options—that means you have a 20% chance of getting it right by just straight up guessing. But you can improve those odds even further by narrowing down the wrong answers. Firstly, if there’s an “All of the Above” option, and you’re certain one of the answers is wrong, then you just got rid of two possible solutions in one go. Next, see if there’s any answers that are polar opposites of one another—only one could possibly be right, and maybe both are wrong. Also, check for words like “all” “every” “always” “never” and other words that don’t allow for exceptions. These solutions are usually incorrect because things are rarely black or white, usually they’re a shade of grey.
Don’t leave any answer blank on any test ever! Put something down. If it’s a math test, try a way to solve the problem and see if you can rework that solution with the answer in mind. If it’s a multiple choice test, circle anything—you have pretty good odds of getting it right. If it’s a fill in the blank test, guess a word seen else where on the test. There’s no reason to leave a question blank as no matter what, that will be marked wrong. If you guess, you have a chance of getting it right!
If you didn’t study for your test, don’t worry—you have strategies to use in hopes of getting a passing grade. Stay calm; read through the whole test; ask your teacher questions during the test; relate it to other subjects to figure out a solution; eliminate wrong answers; and always always always guess. Also, don’t fret too much about this one test. Firstly, there will be more tests in the future; second, you won’t even remember this test a year from now, let alone after you graduate. There’s always potential to do better: so study next time and you’ll ace that test to make up for a lackluster grade from before.