Practice Tests

You have gone to every lecture and done every assigned reading. However, when it comes to scoring well on a test, taking practice tests beforehand is invaluable. Practice tests serve several important functions. First, and most basic, they allow you to assess what you do or do not know. They also allow you to tailor your studying to the kind of test you will be taking, be it an in-depth essay on a single topic or a multiple choice test with very little time allotted for each question. Finally, these tests build confidence and allow you to enter the testing situation without some of the anxiety associated with test-taking and with a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses in the test-taking process.

Many graduate tests and certifications necessary for being hired for science jobs require you to memorize large amounts of information and to learn and apply new ways of analyzing data. Taking practice tests will give you a good idea of the information that the organization administering the test finds particularly important. For GRE tests, study guides with practice tests are readily available in bookstores and online. Such study guides may also be available for various certification programs. You should contact the certification board to find out. For taking tests in a college setting, practice exams that are provided by textbook companies, or exams from previous classes taught by the same professor may be used to guide your study. Keep in mind that taking practice tests is not a substitute for studying the material.