Study Resources

Test Taking Tips

Exams in your Health Science program will differ from those you have had in other courses. You’re probably accustomed to taking tests with straightforward questions and definitive, objective answers. However, your program exams will have a variety of factors that influence outcomes and best responses.

Knowing how to read and take an exam is a skill that can be developed with knowledge, practice, and experience. Understanding the question and then answering what is actually being asked is nearly as important as acquiring the basic knowledge itself. You will have to learn to prioritize the application of essential content to the problems presented in your program.

Your program exams will frequently use a multiple-choice format. The basic part of the question is called the “stem.” Several options will be provided from which to choose. The options will include distractions or choices that may be very close to the correct answer but are not the best answer. The questions will reflect assessment, analysis, planning, intervention, or evaluation related to a clinical situation.

The STEM Learning Center on Jordan Campus located in HTC 102 (801-957-2852) has tutors and resources to help you prepare for either the HESI or TEAS exams. You can take advantage of these resources before you take the exam or afterwards if you want to improve your score.

Test taking strategies:

  • Read the question as written. Do not assume there is a hidden meaning.
  • After reading the stem, formulate in your own mind what the answer may be.
  • Read all of the answer options. Eliminate the answers, which are not true, or do not answer the question asked.
  • Assess answers which are either similar or are opposite. Similarities may have slight differences. One of the opposite answers may be correct.
  • If none of the choices agree with your answer reread the question's stem.
  • Focus on the description of the patient's needs. Safety precautions are important.
  • Some questions require decisions. You may have to identify the first action or the highest priority.
  • Communication questions focus on the patient and their needs. The answers should be honest, direct, and involve active listening.
  • If noise distracts you, wear earplugs or ask for a corner seat away from the noise.
  • If a question seems too difficult, do not panic. Use good strategies, select the best answer and continue. Do NOT go back: give it your best decision and move on.
  • Figure out the expectations of the course early. Focus on the instructor's teaching style, the classroom environment, class organization, class attitude, course content, clinical content, and grading practices.
  • Remember that few students know all the right answers. Be patient and supportive of yourself.

Suggestions for decreasing anxiety on test day:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Study before the exam.
  • Know the testing environment and the rules.
  • Get rest the night before an exam.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Wear soft-soled shoes.
  • Wear a watch.
  • Dress in layers so that you can take off or put on clothing as needed.
  • Don't come to class too early before a test because others may increase your anxiety.
  • Review key points, but do not try to do last minute cramming.
  • Use positive self-talk.

More Ideas for Success:

  • Positive self-talk: "I will..."
  • Make small goals first: Set goals that you can accomplish today.
  • Identify criteria for success: Choose behaviors that accomplish goals.
  • Set time lines: Keep a calendar with definite daily assignments outlined.
  • Schedule study intentions: Develop study groups.
  • Anticipate small setbacks: Prioritize your time and allow some time for play.
  • Reward yourself: Success breeds success.
  • Accept responsibility: Practice the skills and study.
  • Master the basics of communication: Reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Focus on new information: Have confidence in your old knowledge.
  • Thrive on change: Flexibility will help in your program.
  • Support is crucial: Enlist the support of family, friends, and/or other students.
  • Be inquisitive: Demonstrate interest. Engage in your courses and labs.
  • Categorize data: Organize data and discover its relationship.
  • Stay healthy: Value your body and treat it nicely.

Study Tips for Reading Comprehension/ Vocabulary/ Grammar

Reading comprehension requires you to read a story, article etc. The purpose is to understand what the author is trying to say, which can be difficult as you are processing a lot of information all at once.

Reading Comprehension

  1. Relax and read the story/article through once. When you are done, summarize what you got from it and what you didn’t quite understand. Write it down.
  2. Go back and break down the paragraphs and read each through once or twice. Gather up the main points, words, names or numbers that you feel are important from each paragraph and write them down.
  3. Summarize all that information into a small paragraph of what you believe to be the main point of the reading, and underline the key points.


Grammar and punctuation are all about sentence structure, punctuation, and making sure sentences make sense and flow well.

  1. Do a few practice tests online, write down the questions and don’t just guess the answers. If you don’t understand something make sure you make a note of it so you can look it up later on.
  2. and are great tools.
  3. Read! Reading will help you see the way a sentence flows with proper structure and punctuation.
  4. Study basic grammar rules including punctuation, tenses, verbs, adjectives, nouns, etc.

Math Study Tips

  • Make flashcards or a study paper that you can take with you everywhere. Whenever you have a minute, pull it out and review.
  • Studying first thing in the morning is an effective way to retain information because your brain can process it throughout the entire day.
  • When you are brushing your teeth or getting ready for the day, look through your notes or review your study sheet or flash cards.
  • Study with friends! Ask others to quiz you.

Go to the Math Tutoring Center. They have some great resources for students and are happy to provide free tutoring services.