I’m Bad at Test Taking

While you may be weak in test taking, my experience suggests that most people, more than 80%, of those who tell me they are bad at test taking, are misdiagnosing their problem.

This is based on more than 150 days teaching continuing education at AIA chapters providing ARE test prep to 1000 people and based on 18 years of teaching (and testing) 2,500 university students.

After a conversation, it is often clear that the test taker didn’t own the subject. They studied—lots of studying. But in asking them questions about the material, they often don’t seem to really understand it.

Most “bad at taking tests” people would not say they are bad at taking a first grader’s test, even if the stakes were high and passing it made a big impact in their career.

I’m generalizing here, but there is a fetishizing of memorization and a propensity for group-studying in this subset of “I’m bad at test-taking” people.

It’s almost as if they studied multiplication in preparation for a math exam and didn’t know what to do when the exam included division questions.

We all know people who are “good at taking tests.” Think about that person you know who is “good at taking tests.” Chances are, that same person “knows a lot about the subject.”

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