Nothing is going to take the place of old-fashioned studying to help you ace that home-study massage exam. But what happens when you do everything by the book and still fail?

Many times it has nothing to do with being a bad student. Some people just aren’t good test takers. Anxiety and poor test-taking skills can cause the best of students to completely flub on exam day.

While home-study exams don’t try to give you trick questions, certain types of tests can cause you to stumble if you aren’t aware of how test creators make the questions more challenging.

Another problem is coping with test-taking anxiety. If you don’t address this issue, you will be more prone to making careless errors, fail to recall what you’ve learned in your course materials or not finish the exam on time.

However, there is hope for home-study massage students. It comes in the form of test-taking strategies. These planned strategies can help you overcome some of the stressful obstacles before you in the tests.

Strategies for taking true/false and multiple-choice exams

  • Read the questions thoroughly before selecting your answer. Many times, the question might seem like a no-brainer at first, but subtle differences in wording can trip you up if you don’t read closely.
  • Tricky questions are inevitable. To help you, reword the question in your own words before answering.
  • Key words in a question can help lead you to the right answer. By underlining or highlighting these words and phrases, you can compare the selection of answers to see the differences.
  • On true and false questions, it can help to assume that every question is true at first. Then look at the details of the statement to see if any aspect of the wording makes it false.
  • Also on true and false questions, look for negative modifiers like “not” or negative prefixes like “un.” Theses subtle differences can completely change the meaning of the statement and are easily overlooked.
  • For multiple choice tests, try to answer the question in your head before looking at the given answers. Some of the answers given could make you second guess yourself in reading. By knowing the answer before you look at given responses, you minimize your chances of being wrong.
  • Watch out for all-inclusive answer choices like “all of the above.” Carefully read through each of the selections and make sure they are either all right or all wrong before making your answer choice.
  • Pay attention in multiple choice selections for two answers that are similar. This is usually an indication that the answer is one of those choices.
  • Pay attention to grammatical correctness in multiple choice exams. If the questions ends in “an,” the answer will start with a vowel.

Stay tuned for the third part in this series, which will tackle educated guessing for the questions that leave you scratching your head.

–Jeremy Maready