Time Management on EPPP Test Day

When exam day comes, you will succeed by having thorough content knowledge and by being a strategic test taker. Come test day, all you should have to worry about is choosing the correct answers in the allotted time frame.

To be sure time doesn’t run out before you answer all the questions, we have some strategic tips on managing your time on EPPP test day.

Time management on test day starts 2 days before your EPPP when you’re getting your most important night’s sleep. The night before the exam you might be restless so it is important to sleep well two nights before your exam.

The night before your exam, prepare by packing necessities such as a snack and mandatory items for your exam, like your identification and PES information. Lay out your clothing the night before and be sure to choose layered clothing as you won’t know whether the testing center will be cold or hot.

You will need to arrive to the testing center a half an hour before your scheduled test time, so give yourself plenty of time the morning of to eat, get dressed, and drive there in a leisurely way as to avoid anxiety. Allow time for traffic and potential unintended travel mishaps.

When you get to the testing center, avoid test anxiety by minimizing conversation with other test takers and silently reminding yourself that you are going to do well. Tell yourself “Today is the day I will pass the EPPP!”

When it comes to time management on the actual exam, here’s the strategy we recommend at TSM.

You will have approximately 68 seconds per question within the allotted 4 hours and 15 minutes of exam time consisting of 225 questions total (175 scored and 50 pretest questions that are unscored). In the first 10-15 minutes of your exam, do what we call an “Information Dump.” Write out everything you’ve kept in your memory. This will give you the freedom to focus during your test because you can return to these notes when related questions come up. Although testing centers may not allow scratch paper, they can provide a white board upon request.

As you move through your exam, do not forget to take breaks. Dr. Graham Taylor goes over specific break strategies towards the end of his broadcast here.  Do not simply work until you feel tired and take a break then. Instead, plan breaks and take them to stay fresh and focused. There are two types of breaks you should decide ahead of time to take: mini breaks (3-5 minute) and full breaks (10 minutes).

If you decide to take mini breaks, choose one of two strategies. Either decide on a certain number of questions to complete before a break is taken (e.g., 25 questions), or decide on a period of time spent working (e.g., 25 minutes) before a break is taken. During these breaks, stand up, stretch, move, and breathe.

If you decide to take full breaks, take them after an hour and a half of work.  During these breaks, grab some fuel and food, use the restroom if you need to, stretch, and breathe.

Regardless of what you decide, take the breaks even if you feel like you don’t need to in the moment. Taking planned breaks will allow you to work from rest and stay fresh and focused as opposed to working hard for rest.

Lastly, take a deep breath before each question. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a count of two, and then slowly exhale out of your mouth. While breathing, remind yourself that you can do this!

Time management on test day is all about coming in with a strategy. Develop your strategy and get accustomed to time management during practice tests then prepare as much as you can in the days leading up to your exam.


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