Taking tests can be nerve-wracking, especially for major exams like mid terms and finals. Test anxiety can be a real problem for many students, but sometimes students just don’t know how to tackle tests effectively. While it’s important to study and prepare for the exam, knowing how to handle different kinds of test questions and having a strategy in place can help to lessen anxiety and improve scores.
Before You Begin
Make notes to yourself about formulas or pertinent information while it’s fresh in your mind. You can write these notes in the margin of your exam or on a piece of scratch paper if you’re permitted to use one. Refer to the information throughout the exam as you need it.
Also, listen to verbal directions and review written instructinos. This can prevent unncessary mistakes. Answer the questions you know first. This will ensure you have sufficient time to complete lengthy essays or sections you’re unsure of. Look for context clues throughout the exam that may help you to answer questions you don’t know.
Try to answer the question before looking at your choices. Then, if your answer matches, it’s likely your answer is correct. Be sure to read all of your choices before answering. It’s possible two answers will be very similar and can be misleading. Eliminate incorrect answers first by crossing them out. This will make your choice easier if you’re unsure.
Read the whole question and break it down. If part of the question is false, then the answer is false. Keep your eyes open for qualifiers; these are words such as all, always, and never. Such words usually mean the answer is false. Be on the lookout for tricks. Numbers may be transposed or facts may be changed just a bit, which usually indicates a false answer.
Look for similar words. These can sometimes be confusing. Try to figure these matches first. Also, look for similar parts of speech. Verbs will match verbs, and nouns will match nouns. And, of course, you’ll want to cross out items in each column as you complete them. This will eliminate any unnecessary errors.
These are some tips for approaching some of the most common types of tests. My next post will focus on more involved kinds of test questions like essay and short answer. The most important piece of advice I’d offer, no matter what type of test you’re taking, is to take your time and read through carefully.
Look for more tips in my next post. What’s worked for you? What types of test do you prefer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.