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Test Taking Strategies


For Multiple Choice Questions:

  • After carefully reading the question, try to think of the answer before you look at the list of choices.

  • Narrow the choices by eliminating the ones that are obviously wrong.

  • If two or more choices seem correct, choose the one that seems more comprehensive.

  • Assume that there are seldom any absolutes or situations without exceptions. Reject choices with the key words such as always, never, all, every, and none. They are rarely the right answer.

  • Incorrect answers tend to either be long and involved or very brief.

  • Don't change an answer unless you realize for certain that it is incorrect. Your first choice tends to be the correct choice.

  • Answer every question.

For Essay Questions:

  • Read the question carefully and make sure that you understand it before you begin to write. Paraphrase the question to make your introductory statement. This insures you are on the right track. Read our guide to directives and terms to insure that you answer the question in the format required.

  • List key points you want to make on the back cover of your blue book or in the margin. Number them as to importance. Check them off as they are included in your essay.

  • If you have to write multiple essays, do the easiest ones first. You don't ever want to be unable to finish the material you know well because you get tied up with a difficult question.

  • If the essay question asks you for two or more different answers make sure that you provide them.

  • Give examples from the readings or lectures to support your points.

  • If there is time write a short summery.

For True/False Questions:

  • Start with the assumption that the answer is true. It's easier for the test's author to write a true statement than to make up a false one.

  • The more specific facts the statement has, the more likely it is true.

  • Carefully read each question, looking for any factor that will make it false. It is easier for the instructor to add a false part to an otherwise true statement. Students often read the question and see some truth and assume that the entire statement is true.

  • Assume that there are seldom any absolutes or situations without exceptions. Reject choices with the key words such as always, never, all, every, and none. They are rarely the right answer.

For all tests:

 When you finish, reread the questions and your answers to make sure that the answer you gave or the essay you wrote is closest to what is asked. If you are not sure of every part of the examination, that's O.K. Break down the test into sections. Concentrate your thoughts on completing each phase of the task at hand. Do an excellent job on the material that you are confident with.  Don't worry about the rest until the end. With luck answering questions in your strong areas will jog your memory in your weak areas. Working with your positives will cause positive results.


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