Taking and Passing Tests

I get extremely nervous when I take a test.

I have difficulty completing tests on time.

I don’t read directions or questions carefully.

I have difficulty understanding multiple choice questions.

I have difficulty with true/false tests.

I have difficulty with essay tests.

During a test, I have difficulty remembering what I studied.


PIRATES Test-Taking Strategy
An integral part of this strategy is the active role the students take while engaging in the test. It is empowering for students who are test-phobic and/or low achieving. Quick and obvious gains can be expected as students learn this strategy.

  1. Prepare to succeed
    Put your name and PIRATES on the test
    Allot time and order to sections
    Say affirmations
    Start within two minutes

  2. Inspect the instructions
    Read instructions carefully
    Underline what to do and where to respond
    Notice special requirements

  3. Read, Remember and Reduce
    Read the whole question
    Remember what you studied
    Reduce the choices

  4. Answer or abandon
    Answer the question or abandon the question for the moment

  5. Turn back

  6. Estimate
    Avoid absolutes
    Choose the longest or most detailed choice
    Eliminate similar choices

  7. Survey
    Survey to ensure all questions are answered
    Switch an answer only if you’re sure

Source: Hughes, C., Schumaker, J., Deshler, D., & Mercer, C. (2005).

Printable PIRATES Test-Taking Strategy (PDF)