This is a continuation of my first post on test taking tips where I gave suggestions on how to tackle multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions on tests. The two of these posts are focusing on test-taking in general, not on taking mid-term or final exams. I’ll talk about those in an upcoming post.
Let’s talk about tips for taking more in-depth kinds of tests that involve longer answers and provide fewer context clues. These kinds of exams may be a bit more difficult, but there are still many smart strategies you can use to help you take on even the toughest exam.
These aren’t as easy as they sound. Your instructor expects you to be familiar with the material in order to find the most thorough and informative answers. First, organize all your notes, your books, and any other materials you’ll need to prepare your answers. Write down any important notes or formulas to have on-hand for reference purposes. You can try to predict test questions and prepare for in advance by highlighting pertinent information in your text and notes.
The key word here is short. You don’t have to write a book; just write the key facts and the most important information. If you know this type of question will be on the test, you’ll want to be certain to study the material thoroughly. Have a good grasp on the material will help should you get stuck.
Many students freak out when they hear the phrase “essay exam”. You don’t have to stress about this type of test; you just have to be prepared. Like short answer tests, you’ll need to study the material very well. Being familiar with the material will ensure you have enough information at hand to provide answers to the questions.
Read essay questions thoroughly and answer them accordingly. If you don’t answer the question being asked, you won’t get full credit. Don’t try to fake your way through it. Your professor will know. Consider making an outline of information before you start writing your essay. This will help to focus your thoughts and increase the likelihood of providing a correct response. And, please, write as legibly as you can. I ask this as a former college instructor. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to decipher an entire essay full of chicken scratch!