How to Pass a Physics Test

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Are you worried about an upcoming physics exam? Eliminate your stress by following these important tips and strategies that will help you pass your physics test.

Strategies to Help You Pass a Physics Test

The recipe for passing your physics test? Combine proper preparation throughout your physics class with the right study strategies in the days leading up to your exam, and finish it up with effective test-taking techniques.

Steps to Take Throughout Your Physics Course

The most important thing to do throughout your physics course is to stay up to date on the material you're learning. Because physics is cumulative, if you fall behind on one or two lessons, you'll have difficulty catching up. To ensure that you ace your tests in this course, you should also:

  • Take careful notes during each class or lecture, then review them shortly after.
  • Take notes as you read textbook assignments.
  • Regularly combine your class and textbook notes so, when you are readying for an exam, you have one comprehensive set of notes to work with.
  • Study what you're learning every day. Even if you only dedicate a small amount of time, the daily review will help you absorb and master concepts.
  • Don't try to memorize. Instead, focus on understanding.
  • Form a study group with classmates and meet regularly so you keep up with lessons and are able to help each other master concepts.
  • Make sure you are maximizing your time by using effective study strategies. If studying isn't your strong suit, check out this short lesson on How to Improve Your Study Skills.
  • If you are struggling with certain concepts, textbook chapters, or homework assignments, try an online course that will help you approach the subject from a different angle and study at your own pace. See for example, these physics help and review courses for students at various grade levels:

Grade Level Course
College Physics 101: Intro to Physics
High School High School Physics
Middle School Middle School Physics

Study Tips for the Days Leading Up to Your Test

When you begin thinking about exam prep, first, give yourself enough time. Cramming is not in the recipe for success! Creating a study guide is a helpful way to plan and budget your time. For help, check out this short video lesson on How to Make a Study Guide. Other important pre-test steps:

  • Determine what is going to be covered on your test. If old exams are available to review, that is a helpful resource. If not, go back through your notes, assignments, and reading assignments to determine what your instructor has been emphasizing, as these topics will likely be the focus of your exam.
  • As you study and review what you've learned, make up your own tests and take them without the help of your notes.
  • Work with your study group to talk through the material and receive help with any areas of difficulty.
  • Take care of yourself! Get enough sleep, and choose water and healthy snacks over caffeine and junk food. If you become overwhelmed or stressed, watch this short lesson that covers strategies for dealing with stress.

Tips for Test Day

When you sit down for your physics test rested and prepared (after following all of the tips above!), be confident, knowing that you've worked hard to get ready to pass it. You'll just want to make sure that during the test, you:

  • Have the right materials (calculators, pencils or pens)
  • Read each question carefully and make sure you understand it. A good strategy is to identify and note what data is provided and the unknown you need to determine before you begin working out the correct answer.
  • Manage your time wisely. Avoid spending too much time on one question so that you can be sure and get through all the questions on the exam.

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