Test Preparation Checklist
Did you know….you can improve your test performance by paying attention to what you eat?
Although the brain makes up only about 2% of the body’s weight, it uses up about 20% of the
Dinner the night before the test
A. Eat a healthy meal – but not a huge one
B. Avoid food and drink that could disrupt sleep, such as: a big steak, too much cheese,
anything too spicy, caffeine.
C. Do not eat too late at night because that can bog your system down.
Get plenty of sleep the night before the test
Breakfast the day of the test
A. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates - such as whole grain breads & cereals. A good whole
grain cereal such as Grape Nuts, shredded wheat, Cheerios, Wheaties, and Total. Oatmeal is
also a great choice.
B. “Brain-Friendly” foods: blueberries, pumpkin seeds, nuts & grains in general.
C. Eating protein helps your brain operate at its best for longer periods of time. Protein-rich
foods include beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese.
D. Stick with what works. If you are not used to eating sausage or bacon in the morning, don’t
start the day of the test.
E. Don’t overeat! A big meal can make you sleepy.
Too much sugar can reduce your ability to concentrate. Eating only sugar products such as soft
drinks, candy bars, or even fruit juice before a test will give you a quick boost of energy, but it
will fade soon afterwards and leave you feeling drowsy.
Fats and oils that are often used in frying and baking can interfere with brain function and make
you tired. Foods to cut back on before a test include margarine, deep-fried foods such as French
fries, and packaged cookies and potato chips.
Do not drink caffeine drinks before the test. They can make you feel jittery and more anxious.
Snack foods for breaks during tests
Good foods to snack on include the ones below. If these are not available at school, consider
bringing them with you.
Peanut butter and crackers
Cheese and crackers
Small sandwich and carrot or celery sticks
Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the test and on test day itself – but be sure you
take a bathroom break before going into the test.
Arrive early so you don’t feel rushed. And bring all necessary materials (pens, pencils,
Get some exercise. Physical exercise increases the oxygen available to the brain. If you can
take a short jog or brisk walk before you take a test, you will tend to be more alert. Even some
simple stretching can help. If you’re not used to exercise, don’t overdo it.
Be positive. Approach the exam with confidence: View the exam as an opportunity to show
how much you’ve learned and to receive a reward for you efforts.
Know your stuff. Allow plenty of time for studying and review of the information. Use review
cards with the question on one side and the answer on the other. Ask someone to review/study
with you. Reviewing information regularly as opposed to “cramming” the night before is a
much better way to learn the information.
Test Taking Strategies
Multiple Choice Tests such as the Essential Learner Outcomes
Multiple choice questions typically have four or five possible answers for each question. The best
answer is to be chosen. The wrong answers are often designed to distract the reader. Sometimes
“none of these” or “all of these” is included as a choice. In dealing with multiple-choice questions,
these three things are important. 1. Analyze – see what the question is asking. 2. Eliminate –
reject obvious wrong answers. 3. Discriminate – select the best answer from among those
remaining. Should you guess if you are unsure of the answer? The best rule of thumb is if you
have a reasonable idea and/or have eliminated one or more of the distracters, then guess.
Tips for taking a test
1. Read the directions carefully before beginning.
2. Read the whole question carefully.
3. Notice such words as “not”, “always”, and “never”. Carelessly overlooking these
words can change the meaning of the questions.
4. Think carefully about all possible answers.
5. Examine all choices and eliminate those that are obviously wrong.
6. Answer the questions you are sure about first, and then go back to the harder
7. Allow time at the end to review/check your answers.