Test-Taking Strategies for the Computer Test

March 24, 2015 thetasctest

How to Improve Your Computer-Based Test Taking Skills 

Are you planning on taking the computer-based subject tests for the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™?

If you are, you’ll need some test taking strategies. Though many of the test taking strategies for the paper-and-pencil-based test will be useful to you if you’re taking the online version, there are specific strategies that can help you prepare for testing on a computer. These tips are especially helpful for test takers who are relatively new to computers.

Add these test-taking strategies to your practice routine, and start preparing for the day of your test day today:

1. Practice your typing skills and mouse skills. 

The main difference between the paper-and-pencil-based test and the online test is that you have to use a computer, which means you need to know how to use a computer. You might have experience with working on a computer at work or home. But testing on a computer can require a slightly different skillset.

We highly recommend practicing typing, especially for the Writing subject test. The faster your typing speed, the faster you’ll get words on the screen. This can save you valuable time.

Additionally, we recommend practicing your mouse skills. It might seem like an obvious suggestion, but you’ll have to use the mouse to navigate around the screen. And depending on the types of computers at your test center, you might not be familiar with the type of mouse.

To determine whether or not you have the computer skills you need to take the TASC test, and to see what skills you might need to practice more, you can view our short video, TASC Testing Online: It’s Easier Than You Think.

2. Use scratch paper. 

As S. Merritt of Mastering Multiple Choice points out, the multiple-choice questions are going to be presented on a screen. Unlike the paper-and-pencil-based test, you won’t be able to put marks in the margins of your test booklet or “mind dump” the information you want to remember.

Consequently, you should ask an administrator for scratch paper on the day of your test. Scratch paper is a good substitute for a test booklet, and can provide a space for you to jot down information, work through problems, and even write yourself reminders.

Scratch paper can be especially helpful if you’re returning to questions later or if there are large questions that that require scrolling. Merritt says, “having and using scratch paper will allow you to jot down details [and] formulas while you look at other areas of the screen. This is going to save you a lot of up and down scrolling,” and a lot of time.

Though some test centers may not let you bring your own scratch paper, it is likely that many will provide you with some sheets if you ask.

3. Use the online practice tests. 

When it comes to computer-based testing, the best thing you can do to develop your test taking strategies is to practice with the online versions of the test. We recommend starting with practice questions and other preparation materials.

Once you’ve tried those materials, you might consider registering for a TASC test prep class at your test center. Tell the administrator at the center that you’re planning on taking your subject tests on the computers, and that you want to try their computers. This practices will not only help reduce some of the anxiety of online testing but also give you the best practice – and the best advantage – on the day of your test.

Remember: you’ll want to practice these strategies just like anything else. It’s easy to know that they exist, but it’s hard to put them in practice in the moment. Add these strategies to your study plan, and use them while you’re working with the practice materials, pre-tests and assessments so you can become an effective test taker. 

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