Test Taking Strategies
Read each statement carefully. Circle key words used.
Mark as true only if the statement is completely true. If any part is false, mark false.
Negatives (no, not, except) do not mean the statement is false. Read the statement without the negative and decide if it is true or false. The correct answer is the opposite.
Read directions carefully. You may have to choose more than one answer.
Choose the best answer. More than one answer may be correct, but the most inclusive is the best answer.
Read it in steps. Read the beginning part of the statement and finish the answer in your mind. Then look for the correct answer in the choices given.
Look for answers in other questions. Answers often pop up in other questions.
Do not change answers. Statistically, you are likely to get it wrong.
How to Prepare for Essay Questions
Create summary notes that pull together information from your text, lectures, and homework for each main chapter concept.
Predict and write test questions using your notes. Ask previous students or check old tests to see the types of questions used.
Practice writing answers for the essay questions you created.
Develop a study plan with a schedule of what to study and when. Start a week before your exam. The day before the exam conduct a trial review all you have studied over the week.
Use a study guide. For each day you will study for the test, develop a list of all you will need to cover on that day. Reward yourself each day that you follow the plan. See example below:
Sunday- Chapter 1
1. Review all my notes
2. Scan chapter 1 of the textbook
3. Memorize dates and places (flashcards)
4. Go over old test exams
Reward: Latte @ Starbucks
Study over several days so that you do not overload short term memory. The brain needs time to process information into long term memory so it can be recalled for a test.
Do not learn new material the day before the test. Use that day strictly for final review .
Understanding Direction Words
Compare and contrast - Show similarities and differences.
Summarize - Discuss the main points of the subject.
Evaluate/Critique - Offer your opinion, backed up with details.
Discuss - Tell about the main points. Expand with details.
Explain why - Give reasons. Show cause and effect.
Explain how - Give process, steps, or procedure. Explain each.
Illustrate - Give examples. Explain each with details.
Describe - Give detailed descriptions of different aspects.
These questions require more than recognizing the correct answer. You have to know the answer.
Study This Kind of Information - Practice May Include:
1) Information presented in lists - Recite information in full sentences in your own words.
2) Definition note cards. Say and spell words on fronts for fill-in-the-blank practice. Detailed definitions on the back for definition and short answer tests. - Write short summaries to practice expressing ideas on paper
3) Charts and graphs. Organized information is easier to remember - Write and answer your own test questions.
4) Summaries at the ends of chapters. - Work with a study partner to exchange practice questions. Create summary notes. Pull information from your notes, text, and homework to practice answering essay questions.
Making study aids is studying!
Strategies for Definition Questions— Include 3 levels of information. 1) Name the category associated with the term.2)Give the formal definition. 3) Expand the definition with one more detail.
Tips for Writing Essay Answers
Create a topical outline of what to write before you begin to write.
Write a strong thesis sentence clearly stating your topic.
Limit each paragraph to one main idea.
Include supporting examples and other details. Write as if your reader is not knowledgeable about the subject.
Use course-specific terminology.
Write on every other line so you can add other details between lines when you proofread and keep your answer easy to read.
Write something on each question. Some points are better than no points.
When You Gotta Guess
• Do not change answers. Unless you know for sure you are wrong, go with your first impression.
• Guess false when absolute words (all, never, must, only) are used.
• Guess true when general terms (most, could, some, may) are used.
• Guess false when reasons are given using words like (since, because, effect, reason).
• Longest most inclusive multiple choice option is a good guess.
• “None of the above” is a poor guess.
• Guess “All of the above” if that option is used only occasionally, or if you know 2 of 4 options given are correct.
• If there are number options, eliminate the highest and lowest. Choose one that is left.
• B, C, and D are the best choices in 5 answer multiple choice answers.
• If 2 of the 4 choices are almost identical, pick one of the two.
• If 2 of the 4 choices are opposite, pick one of the two.
• Guess True or C for a wild shot guess when no other clues are available.
For more information email Trish_Baum@baylor.edu