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Academic Study Skills

This guide can assist you to increase your understanding of course material, improve your marks, and make learning a little less stressful. Here you will find strategies for time management, reading and note-taking, study skills, and test-taking.


Looking to do better on tests? On this page, and in the sidebar to the left, you’ll find a list of tips we’ve seen help Red River College Polytechnic students. And, if you don’t get what you need on this page, remember you can always connect with an Academic Coach for one-on-one assistance. 

Test Taking Strategies

10 Steps to Better Test Taking

1. Memory data release

  • Write down information you may forget—formulas, dates, names, etc.

2. Preview test

  • Write your name on the test and read over all instructions and the entire test.

3. Second memory data release

  • Write down additional important information you may forget.

4. Test progress schedule

  • Decode the best way to get most points in the least time.

5. Answer easy questions

  • First, answer the easiest questions worth the most points.

6. Skip difficult questions

  • Read each question twice and set a time limit for solving it—or skip it.

7. Review skipped questions

  • Try to recall related information about each question.

8. Guess at remaining questions

  • Do not leave any question blank unless there is a penalty for wrong answers.

9. Review entire test

  • Look for misread directions and careless errors.

10. Use all of your test time

  • Stopping early can mean lost points on your test!

6 Types of Test Taking Errors

1. Misreading Directions: Ensure you read all directions carefully before starting the test.

2. Careless Errors: Make sure you review your answers before handing the test in.

3. Concept Errors: Study thoroughly to understand rules, properties, and ideas.

4. Application Errors:Try to predict potential questions that may be asked and how to answer them.

5. Test-taking Tips:

  • Find out how and where most test questions are answered incorrectly.
  • Review the last step in math problems.
  • Set time limits for answering questions based on how many marks they are worth.
  • Double-check your work.
  • Compare work on scratch paper to the answer written on the test paper.
  • Don’t leave questions blank – guess for multiple choice, or write something.
  • Understand about answer-changing – only change your answer if you are 100 percent sure you need to.

6. Study Errors: Keep track of where your study habits have failed and trying better approaches for the next test

Tip Sheets

Use the tip sheets below to apply the information learned in this section.

Test Taking