College Test Taking
From time to time, you will be called
upon to “show what you know!” in
the arena of Testing.
What follows is information designed
to aid you in doing your very best…
First & Foremost…
Put the test in perspective.
Of course, you want to do your best,
– This test is not the end of the world, all
you are doing is putting marks on a
piece of paper or on a computer screen.
– Be prepared. Relax.
– Know that you will pass the test with
Planning Your Approach
Prepare physically for the
Prepare mentally for the exam.
Find out about the test.
Know what is expected of you.
Design an exam plan.
Join a study group.
Use tutoring and other campus
Tips for Taking Tests
Get a good night’s sleep, Don’t linger on hard
eat a hearty breakfast. questions – move on.
Bring necessary supplies Don’t get distracted by
to class. others finishing before you.
Relax and control your Ask for clarification when
Begin by previewing the Use clues in the test to jog
entire test. your memory.
Ask any questions Re-check your work before
regarding the instructions. handing it in.
Aids to Memory
Over-learn the material—go over it I remember
again and again. it well.
Use multiple senses—read, discuss,
Categorize the information.
Associate ideas to things you
Visualize the concepts.
Use flash cards.
Use rhymes, songs, and acronyms.
Don’t let it get to you:
Control Your Test Anxiety
Manage your pre-test time wisely.
Re-program: Talk positively to yourself.
Eat well & get some exercise. It’s only
Don’t use drugs in an attempt to reduce a test.
anxiety. Better to do breathing exercises. Chill out!
Find support: a friend, a tutor or an
Keep the test in perspective.
Know that you are ready!
Know What to Expect: Be Ready!
Will you be able to sit in your usual
Will your instructor be present?
Ask your instructor questions that will
clarify circumstances surrounding the
exam: when? How long? How many
What will be the format of the test?
What do students who completed the
course before you say about tests?
What will security be like?
Are you penalized for guessing?
Avoid Cramming for Tests
Regularly check the syllabus or
calendar highlighting exam dates.
Make a study plan for each exam.
Keep up with assigned readings
Review class notes regularly.
Reward yourself for preparing
Plan to reserve the night before for
A little at a time is much better than
all at once.
But If You Have No Choice,
Ideas for last-minute concentrated study:
Clear the decks: no distractions.
Use textbook study aids.
Skim for highlights & main ideas.
Divide and conquer: one thing at a time.
Bring required academic supplies.
Bring supplies for your spirit: candy, gum,
Organize your resources.
Get some sleep.
Strategies for Various Tests
One strategy that works for
Should I or almost all tests:
shouldn’t I – If an answer comes quickly, go
? with it!
– If you’re really not sure, come
back to it later.
Otherwise, different tests
have different strategies:
– Objective tests
– Subjective tests
Objective & Subjective Tests
Objective tests include Good study strategies include:
– multiple choice – using flash cards
– matching – making a concept
– true-false vocabulary list
– reviewing your text’s study
– fill in the blank guide
Subjective tests – reviewing your notes
– Short answer – work with a tutor
– Essay questions – join a study group
Multiple Choice Strategies
Read the question carefully and try to
answer it before you read the choices.
Strike out wrong answers.
Mark answers clearly and consistently.
Change answers cautiously. Beware of
Read all the options before making a
If you don’t know an answer, move on.
If all else fails, make an educated guess!!
Read the question carefully.
Go with your hunch.
Watch for key words:
– Absolutes (never, etc.) are probably false
– Relatives (some, etc.) are probably true
– Double negatives – not untruthful, etc.
If a part of it is false, all of it is false.
Answer all questions unless there is
a penalty for guessing.
Read thoroughly to be sure what is
being asked. magic word
Be brief and specific. is _______
I knew it all
Give an answer for every blank. the time!
Short blanks may have long answers
and vice versa. Don’t assume anything.
Remember an “a” before a blank wants
a consonant word and “an” a vowel
Watch for key “trigger” words.
Short Answer Strategies
These questions demonstrate how
well you can explain concepts
I Write clear, logical, and brief
Writing more than asked for or
including information not asked for
suggests that you do not
understand the concepts.
Other items on the test may provide
clues to help you answer questions
that stump you.
Essay Question Strategies
Read the question Conclude by summarizing
carefully. how your thesis is
What is the question supported.
asking for? Watch grammar, spelling
Outline the key ideas. and punctuation.
Refer specifically to the Use humor if it fits in.
question in your opening Be sure you have
sentence. completely answered the
Make a clear, coherent question.
thesis statement. Write legibly.
Develop the main body of Proofread your work.
the essay to support your
Okay, you flunked it!
Now recover your balance.
Don’t let yourself become undone by
Use the disappointment to critically
– the causes of the poor performance
– crafting new strategies to improve
Begin by reviewing your test results.
Talk to your instructor or a tutor.
Knowing When to Challenge
Check to see that your grade has been
Sure, I’ll calculated correctly.
look at it.
We all make Identify questions that were not clearly
Ask for a grade change if
– you believe the instructor misunderstood
– the instructor made a actual error in
calculating your score.
Remember, instructors are unlikely to
change a grade without good reason.
Sometimes life gets in the way of test taking.
Illness, sick children, and car accidents can
and do happen to interfere with your ability to
take an exam at its scheduled time.
Call your instructor before the test to explain
Ask if you can take a make-up exam in a
courteous and respectful manner.
Be prepared to document the cause of your
Tempted to cheat?
Resist the Impulse
Cheating can have ugly consequences:
Cheaters struggle with a nagging conscience, self-
doubt, dissatisfaction, and guilt.
Humiliation results if you get caught.
You may, at least, receive a “0” on your exam, or
possibly be expelled from the college or university.
Professors who catch you cheating may spread the
word and refuse to write letters of recommendation,
ruining chances for graduate study or participation in
And remember the person you cheat the most is
Finally, one more time:
The Big Three
Know you can