Test taking is a skill taught in prep school and few other places. Many people tank on tests even though they know the material. Most people I know resent being tested. Test taking need not be stressful. A lot of it is having the correct view towards a test. Although there is such an animal as a "trick question" tests are not solely made up of "trick questions." Many tests have have no trick questions at all! The actual point to a test is to see if you have learned what the teacher is teaching. In fact, if you have been understanding all along what was being taught, this idea of "study" would be completely unnecessary. Testing is not a perfect science. So many people stress and do poorly that testing does not accurately assess who understands the material and who doesn't, yet it's the best we got right now. So learning how to test is worth your while.
In order to get into college students in high school take an SAT test, also available the year before is a PSAT test. It's a good idea to take a PSAT for practice. Evaluate your scores to define your weaknesses, then take care of business! Buy the practice SAT books and take as many practice tests as you can. The books are much cheaper than re-taking the test for a higher score. SAT, MCAT, LSAT and other entrance exam tests are for basic knowledge in a field. School tests are different. In school, the teacher is teaching with a specific focus.
To do well on a school exam, the first thing to know is the material. Pay attention every day in class. Take notes. Review the notes nightly. The sooner after class you review notes the more good they will do you. If you don't remember what your own notes mean, crack open your text book and look. The teacher may elaborate on what's in your text book, may offer an extra credit problem from out of a lecture, and rarely to teachers make written tests on material outside of the written material. Teachers are tested too, and the only way administers can tell if a teacher is effectively teaching the material, is if the test matches the text. Which brings me to the next concept: know the material.
Before class begins take a look at the text book. Review the chapters so that you have an idea of what is going to be taught and in what order. Skim through, and read a random chapter close to the end. If you know what direction you are headed, the ride won't seem so mysterious. Read the entire text book at least three times: once before class begins so that you know what to expect, secondly during class as chapters are assigned, and lastly close to the end of class to give yourself a broad knowledge.
If you know the material the specifics of the test are less scary. Ask the teacher what you will be tested on. They want you to pass, it shows their teaching method is effective. They won't lie to you. If you meet with a teacher during office hours and show interest in the class, a teacher will be only to happy to answer questions and further explain anything you can't understand. Take advantage of the fact that few people ask teachers questions.
Organize your notes to your best advantage. Start with the most broad idea and underneath it place the related concepts. Follow an outline. This will not only aid you in remembering the material, it will aid you in understanding the concepts. You know you really understand material when you can explain it to someone else. IF you've never made an outline before, look in "googledocs" for a template to use.
Right before the test the most important thing is to be calm, well rested and well fed. Not so full that you are sleepy and falling asleep in your chair, not so starving that you are distracted, certainly not hungover. Bring your notebook to class and peruse your notes up until it's time to start and you are asked to put things away. Jog your memory. Focus on understanding broad concepts that will enable you to "figure" our and answer you don't remember. DON'T focus too much on specifics. Unless you have insider information on what the test holds, it's usually too hard to remember too many small specific facts.