00-h-Tests and Test Taking Strategies

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					                          TESTS AND TEST TAKING STRATEGIES


Tests and examinations are a means of evaluating the instructor ability to deliver the required
material plus the student’s ability to master (understand) the material.

The Basic Peace Officer course will generally have a test or examination at the conclusion of
each subject. All test questions with relate directly to the learning objectives. If you understand
the learning objectives, you can handle the material and required examinations.


Study and apply the material as indicated


Before the test

  Be prepared! Learn your material thoroughly
  A program of exercise is said to sharpen the mind
  Get a good night's sleep the night before the exam
  Approach the exam with confidence:
    View the exam as an opportunity to show how much you've studied and to receive a
        reward for the studying you've done
 Don't go to the exam with an empty stomach
    Fresh fruits and vegetables are often recommended to reduce stress.
    Stressful foods can include processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks,
        chocolate, eggs, fried foods, junk foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, chips
        and similar snack foods, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices
 Take a small snack, or some other nourishment to help take your mind off of your anxiety.
    Avoid high sugar content (candy) which may aggravate your condition
  Allow yourself plenty of time, especially to do things you need to do before the test and still
    get there a little early
 Relax just before the exam
 Don't try to do a last minute review

During the test

   Read the directions carefully
   Budget your test taking time
   Change positions to help you relax
   If you go blank, skip the question and go on
   If you're taking an essay test and you go blank on the whole test, pick a question and start
    writing. It may trigger the answer in your mind
   Don't panic when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for being the first
   Check out local centers and resources in your school for assistance!
Test Taking Strategies

   Examinations are a fact of life in college and certainly for the TCLEOSE process. You must
    pass a certification exam administered by TCLEOSE.
   But the only time an exam should be a trial is when you aren't prepared for it, and the best
    sign that you aren't prepared is when you have to stay up all night to "cram."
   Cramming won't do very much for you (except make you so tired that when you take the
    exam you won't be able to think clearly enough to answer the questions you DO know).

Here are some tips to help you develop test-taking skills


1. Start preparing for your exams the first day of class. You can do this by reading your syllabus
   carefully to find out when your exams will be, how many there will be, and how much they
   are weighed into your grade.
2. Plan reviews as part of your regularly weekly study schedule; consequently, you review over
   the whole quarter rather than just at exam time.
3. Reviews are much more than reading and rereading all assignments. You need to read over
   your lecture notes and ask yourself questions on the material you don't know well. (If your
   notes are relatively complete and well organized, you may find that very little rereading of
   the textbook for detail is needed.)
4. Review for several short periods rather than one long period. You will find that you retain
   information better and get less fatigued.
5. Turn the main points of each topic or heading into questions and check to see if the answers
   come to you quickly and correctly. Try to predict examination questions; then outline your
6. It may seem "old-fashioned", but flashcards may be a helpful way to review in courses that
   have many unfamiliar terms. Review the card in random order using only those terms that
   you have difficulty remembering. (see index cards)


There are also some things to keep in mind when you are TAKING the test.

1. First, read the directions carefully! Many points have been lost because students didn't follow
   the directions.
2. Remember to preview the test to see how much time you need to allot for each section. If the
   test is all multiple-choice questions, it is good to know that immediately.
3. Work on the "easiest" parts first. If your strength is essay questions, answer those first to get
   the maximum points. Pace yourself to allow time for the more difficult parts.
4. Find out if you are penalized for incorrect responses. (This is probably covered in the
   directions. If not, make educated guesses. If there is a penalty, avoid guessing.
5. When answering essay questions, try to make a outline in the margin before you begin
   writing. Organization, clear thinking and good writing is important, but so is neatness. Be
   sure to make your writing legible.
6. Save time at the end of the exam to review your test and make sure you haven't left out any
   answers or parts of answers. This is difficult to do under the stress of exams, but it often
   keeps you from making needless errors.

1. If the instructor reviews the exam in class, make sure you attend. Many students choose to
   skip class of the day of the review because "nothing is happening" that day. On the contrary,
   this is an important class to attend because it helps reinforce the information one more time in
   long term memory. Even if you aren't interested in the "learning" aspect of the class, it is an
   opportunity to hear what the instructor was looking for in the answers. This can help you on
   the NEXT exam.
2. Keep in mind that there are things you can do before, during, and after exams that will help
   you succeed in the class.


    Begin reviewing early This will give your brain time to get comfortable with the information
    Conduct short daily review sessions You can ease into more intense review session prior to
    major exams
    Read text assignments before lectures This will help you identify concepts that the
    professor considers important and that are already somewhat familiar
    Review notes immediately after lectures this will help you identify information that you do
    not understand while the lecture is still fresh in your memory--and other students' memories
    as well. When you review immediately, you'll have time to clarify information with other
    Review with a group This will enable you to cover important material that you may
    overlook on your own
    Conduct a major review early enough to allow for a visit to the instructor during his office
    hours if necessary
    Break up the study tasks into manageable chunks, especially during major reviews prior
    to exams.
    Studying three hours in the morning and three in the evening will be more effective than
    studying at a six hour stretch. Studying while you are mentally fatigued is usually a waste of

Study the most difficult material when you are alert


   Create study checklists

    Identify all of the material that you will be tested on- list notes, formulas, ideas, and text
    assignments you are accountable for. This checklist will enable you to break your studying
    into organized, manageable chunks, which should allow for a comprehensive review plan
    with minimal anxiety

   Create summary notes and "maps"

    Briefly map out the important ideas of the course and the relationships of these ideas.
    Summary notes should display lists and hierarchies of ideas. Creativity and a visual
    framework will help you recall these ideas.

   Record your notes and significant portions of text on audiotapes so you can review material
    with a walk-man. Having a tape of important information will enable you to study while
    walking or relaxing in a nonacademic environment
   Create flashcards for definitions, formulas, or lists that you need to have memorized--put
    topics on one side of the card, answers on the other. Flashcards will enable you to test your
    ability to not only recognize important information, but also your ability to retrieve
    information from scratch


   Pay particular attention to any study guides that the instructor hands out in class before
    the exam, or even at the beginning of the course! For example: key points, learning
    objectives, particular chapters or parts of chapters, handouts, etc.
   Ask the instructor what to anticipate on the test if he/she does not volunteer the
   Pay particular attention--just prior to the exam--to points the instructor brings up during
    class lectures
   Generate a list of possible questions you would ask if you were making the exam, then see
    if you can answer the questions
   Review previous tests graded by the instructor
   Confer with other students to predict what will be on the test
   Pay particular attention to clues that indicate an instructor might test for a particular idea,
    as when an instructor: says something more than once writes material on the board pauses to
    review notes asks questions of the class says, "This will be on the test!"


   Cramming is useful in emergencies it is not good for long-term learning.
   Strategies for cramming include:
    1. Preview material to be covered
    2. Be selective: skim chapters for main points
    3. Concentrate on reviewing and learning main points
    4. Don't read information you won't have time to review


   A structured approach to cramming
    1. Preview material to be covered
    2. Be selective: skim chapters for main points
    3. Concentrate on the main points
   Begin with 5 sheets of paper:
   Identify 5 key concepts or topics that will be covered on the test
    1. Enter one at the top of each page Use only key words or short phrases
    2. In your own words, write an explanation, definition, answer, etc of several lines or so
        for the key concept
    3. Do NOT use the text or your notes
   Compare your response of with the course source information (text and lecture notes)
   Edit or re-write your understanding of each topic considering this course information
   Sequence and number each page of your topics
        1 - 5 in order of importance; 1 = most important
   Follow the above process for two additional concepts if you have time
   Place them in the 1 - 5 sequence and change numbering to 1 - 7
    1. Follow the above process for one or two more concepts for a total of nine.
    2. Follow your comfort level; add topics only as necessary
   Try not to exceed nine concepts; focus on the most important
   Review the day of the test, but try to relax just be foresee


   When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material, or
    perform certain tasks.
   The test forms the basis of evaluation or judgment for your course of study.
   There are many environmental conditions, including your own attitudes and conditions,
    which influence how you perform during tests.

                                 These suggestions may help:

       1. Come prepared; arrive early for tests
      Bring all the materials you will need such as pencil and pens a calculator, a dictionary,
       and a watch.
    This will help you focus on the task at hand
       2. Stay relaxed and confident
    Remind yourself that you are well prepared and are going to do well.
    Don't let yourself become anxious; if you feel anxious before or during a test, take
   several slow, deep breaths to relax
    Don't talk to other students before a test; anxiety is contagious
       3. Be comfortable but alert
           Choose a good spot to take the test.
           Make sure you have enough room to work.
           Maintain an upright posture in your seat
4. Preview the test (if it is not timed)
    Spend 10% of your test time reading through the test carefully
    Mark key terms and decide how to budget your time
    As you read the questions, jot down brief notes indicating ideas you can use later in your
    Plan to do the easy questions first and the most difficult questions last
       5. Answer the test questions in a strategic order
    Begin by answering the easy questions you know, then those with the highest point value.
    The last questions you answer should
        be the most difficult,
        take the greatest amount of writing, or have the least point value
       6. When taking a multiple choice test, know when to guess
    First eliminate answers you know are wrong
    Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing or you can eliminate options
    Don't guess if you have no basis for your choice and if you are penalized for guessing
    Since your first choice is usually correct, don't change your answers unless you are sure
       of the correction
7. When taking essay tests, think before you write
    Create a brief outline for your essay by jotting down a few words to indicate ideas you
       want to discuss.
    Number these items in your list to indicate the order in which you will discuss them
8. When writing the essay test, get right to the point
      State your main point in the first sentence
      Use your first paragraph to provide an overview of your essay.
      Use the rest of your essay to discuss these points in more detail.
      Back up your points with specific information, examples, or quotations from your
       readings and notes
9. Reserve 10% of your test time for review
     Review your test
     Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items
     Make sure you have answered all the questions.
     Proofread your writing for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
     Check your math answers for careless mistakes (e.g. misplaced decimals). Match your
       actual answers for math problems against quick estimates
10. Analyze your test results
     Each test can further prepare you for the next test.
     Use your tests to review when studying for final exams

Decide on and adopt which study strategies worked best for you Identify those that didn't
work well and replace them.


   Read the directions carefully
   Know whether you must mark the one best correct answer or all correct answers
   Know if you are penalized for guessing; Find out if an incorrect answer will cost you more
    points than a blank answer
   Read the stem of the question (the question itself as opposed to its options)all the way
    through, then read each possible answer all the way through
   Use these options themselves to provide you with hints about things you need to know
   If you are uncertain of the correct answer, cross out the options you know are definitely
    wrong, then mark the question so that you can reconsider it at the end of the exam;
   Circle all negative words and "100% words" within the question stem and options. 100%
    words are those that don't allow for exceptions, like "all"
   "All of the above" answers are often correct.
     If you know two of three of options are correct, "all of the above" is a strong possibility
   If you're not sure about a number answer, toss out the high and low and consider the
    middle range numbers
   If you have no idea of the answer check for "look alike" options to find what you consider
    the best answer among them; check for the most inclusive option--the option that contains the
    most information.



Examine qualities, or characteristics, to discover resemblances. "Compare" is usually stated as
"compare with": you are to emphasize similarities, although differences may be mentioned.

Stress dissimilarities, differences, or unlikeness of things, qualities, events, or problems.


Express your judgment or correctness or merit. Discuss the limitations and good points or
contributions of the plan or work in question.


Definitions call for concise, clear, authoritative meanings. Details are not required but limitations
of the definition should be briefly cited. You must keep in mind the class to which a thing
belongs and whatever differentiates the particular object from all others in the class.


In a descriptive answer you should recount, characterize, sketch or relate in narrative form.


For a question which specifies a diagram you should present a drawing, chart, plan, or graphic
representation in your answer. Generally you are expected to label the diagram and in some cases
add a brief explanation or description.


The term discuss, which appears often in essay questions, directs you to examine, analyze
carefully, and present considerations pro and con regarding the problems or items involved. This
type of question calls for a complete and entailed answer.


The word enumerate specifies a list or outline form of reply. In such questions you should
recount, one by one, in concise form, the points required.


In an evaluation question you are expected to present a careful appraisal of the problem stressing
both advantages and limitations. Evaluation implies authoritative and, to a lesser degree, personal
appraisal of both contributions and limitations.


In explanatory answers it is imperative that you clarify and interpret the material you present. In
such an answer it is best to state the "how or why," reconcile any differences in opinion or
experimental results, and, where possible, state causes. The aim is to make plain the conditions
that give rise to whatever you are examining.


A question, which asks you to illustrate usually, requires you to explain or clarify your answer to
the problem by presenting a figure, picture, diagram, or concrete example.

An interpretation question is similar to one requiring explanation. You are expected to translate,
exemplify, solve, or comment upon the subject and usually to give your judgment or reaction to
the problem.


When you are instructed to justify your answer you must prove or show grounds for decisions. In
such an answer, evidence should be presented in convincing form.


Listing is similar to enumeration. You are expected in such questions to present an itemized series
or tabulation. Such answers should always be given in concise form.


An outline answer is organized description. You should give main points and essential
supplementary materials, omitting minor details, and present the information in a systematic
arrangement or classification.


A question that requires proof is one that demands confirmation or verification. In such
discussions you should establish something with certainty by evaluating and citing experimental
evidence or by logical reasoning.


In a question that asks you to show the relationship or to relate, your answer should emphasize
connections and associations in descriptive form.


A review specifies a critical examination. You should analyze and comment briefly in organized
sequence upon the major points of the problem.


In questions that direct you to specify, give, state, or present, you are called upon to express the
high points in brief, clear narrative form. Details, and usually illustrations or examples may be


When you are asked to summarize or present a summarization, you should give in condensed
form the main points or facts. All details, illustrations and elaboration are to be omitted.

When a question asks you to trace a course of events, you are to give a description of progress,
historical sequence, or development from the point of origin. Such narratives may call for probing
or for deduction

    Before writing:

1. Set up a time schedule to answer each question and to review/edit all questions
        If six questions are to be answered in sixty minutes, allow yourself only seven
           minutes for each
        If questions are "weighted", prioritize that into your time allocation for each question
        When the time is up for one question, stop writing, leave space, and begin the next
           question. The incomplete answers can be completed during the review time
        Six incomplete answers will usually receive more credit than three, complete ones
2. Read through the questions once and note if you have any choice in answering
        Pay attention to how the question is phrased, or to the "directives", or words such as
           "compare", "contrast", "criticize", etc. "
        Answers will come to mind immediately for some questions
        Write down their key words, listings, etc, as they are fresh in mind. Otherwise these
           ideas may be blocked (or be unavailable) when the time comes to write the later
           questions. This will reduce "clutching" or panic (anxiety, actually fear which disrupts
3. Before attempting to answer a question, put it in your own words
        Now compare your version with the original.
        Do they mean the same thing? If they don't, you've misread the question. You'll be
           surprised how often they don't agree.
4. Make a brief outline for each question
        Teachers are influenced by compactness, completeness and clarity of an organized
        Writing in the hope that the right answer will somehow turn up is time-consuming
           and usually futile

To know a little and to present that little well is, by and large, superior to knowing much and
presenting it poorly--when judged by the grade received


   Most true/false tests contain more true answers than false answers.

       When in doubt, guess true. You have more than 50% chance of being right

   Pay close attention to qualifiers, negatives, and long strings of statements
     Qualifiers are words that restrict or open up general statements.
     Words like "no, never, none, always, every, entirely, only" restrict possibilities and
       usually imply false statements. They imply a statement must be true 100% of the time.
       Qualifiers like "sometimes, often, frequently, ordinarily, generally" open up the
       possibilities of making accurate statements and usually indicate true answers. They make
       more modest claims that are more likely to reflect reality.
   Negatives are confusing.
     If the question contains negatives, like "no, not, cannot," circle the negative and read the
       sentence that remains. Decide whether that sentence is true or false. If it is true, the
       opposite or negative is usually false.

   Every part of a true sentence must be true.

   If any one part of the sentence is false, the whole sentence is false despite many other true
    statements. Therefore read long sentences carefully and pay attention to each group of words
    set off by punctuation.


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