Carnegie Mellon University

Student Academic Success Center

Office of the Vice Provost for Education

I don’t know how to best prepare for and take exams.

Step 2: Identify possible reasons for the problem you have selected.

To find the most effective strategies, select the reason that best describes your situation, keeping in mind there may be multiple relevant reasons.

Exams: they’re stressful, hard, and usually worth a significant percentage of your overall grade. Even if you understand the material perfectly, poor test-taking skills may cause your score to be an inaccurate reflection of your knowledge. Students struggle with exams for different reasons; perhaps you are overwhelmed by the amount of material covered, struggle with test anxiety, or can’t finish an exam within the given amount of time. Like all other skills, test taking is something that needs to be - and more importantly, can be - practiced and perfected.

I don’t know how to use systematic desensitization – a gradual exposure therapy to test taking conditions - to get rid of my test anxiety.

I don’t know how to relax.

I don’t know what I should do before I begin studying.

I don’t know what I should do the week before my exam.

I don’t know what I should do the night before my exam.

I don’t know what I should do the day of my exam.

I don’t know how to best take my exam.

I don’t know what I should do after I complete my exam.

line drawing of monthly calendarSchedule a 30 Minute Consultation

This site supplements our 1-on-1 consultations. Staff members are available Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00pm EST for a virtual consultation to help get you connected to the appropriate resource or resources.