Test Taking Tips and Techniques
TIME Know how much time you have to take the test. Make a note of the time the test will be over. Do time checks throughout the test period to check your progress If you are running out of time: Don’t spend time on the hard problems, do the easy ones first. Go back to the hard problems after you have answered the ones you know.
ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS Exception: If you are penalized for wrong answers, then only answer the questions you know. If you don’t know if there is a penalty, ASK! A blank is a wrong answer. A wrong answer is a wrong answer, but if you make an intelligent guess, at least you will have a chance at the right answer. (read on about intelligent guess’s)
PROCESS OF ELIMINATION (POE) (Intelligent Guessing) WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA WHICH ANSWER IS CORRECT? POE is especially useful with multiple-choice questions. Many times you can detect multiple choice answers that are wrong. If a multiple-choice question has 4 possible answers, you have a 1:4 chance of guessing the right answer. If you know two of the answers are wrong, then you have only two answers to select from, you have a 1:2 chance of guessing the right answer = Much Better Chance for the right answer. The same logic works for list matching, eliminate the answers you know are wrong before you try to guess the right answer.
DON’T LET ONE QUESTION RUIN YOUR DAY! You look at the first question and draw a complete blank. You start to sweat, you get scared and all of sudden your mind goes blank. NO! A hard question is a hard question. Move on, there are ones you know. Answer them first! Then come back to the hard ones. If you haven’t figured out the answer in 90 seconds (You are watching the time aren’t you?), leave it and come back.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE IN CONTROL!
NOOOOooooooo……..It’s An Essay!!!!
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU HAND IN A WRITTEN TEST Check for Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation Errors. Are all the words there? This is NOT a silly question. Often, when we write, we think the words but may not write all of them. Even when you re-read the answer, your brain will add words that aren’t there, so…… Re-read your answers out loud (or out loud in your head during a test), and make sure you only read the words that are in your answer. Does your answer make sense? Does your answer say what you think it is supposed to say? If not, fix it now! Does your answer give clear, precise information? You know what you mean to say, but will the person reading your answer get all the information you meant to give them? For Example: “He had a great time out there.”, leaves a lot of interpretation up to the reader. “John really enjoyed surf fishing on the Big Sur coast.” is specific and precise. Make sure the information is in logical order so the answer is easy to read. Write neatly. An answer that is easy to read is easy to grade and will get extra points. Are your lines straight? Are your margins straight? Are your words/letters uniform is size and spacing? Is your paper clean and uncrumpled? Are your pages numbered? Is your name , date, and other required information on the first page? Is your first initial and last name on every additional sheet of paper?
YUK! I have to write a PARAGRAPH!
There are basically two types of paragraphs you may have to write for a test: A story (Creative Writing). An answer to a specific question or position on an issue (expository paragraph).
The Story: A story may or may not have a topic sentence. You should start a new paragraph when: The story focus shifts. Something new happens. There is a change of: Place Time Subject Mood When writing dialog you should begin a new paragraph, indent, and place the speakers’ words in “Quotes”, each time the speaker changes. Remember to keep the flow of the story in logical order, usually chronological, or make logical, easy to follow, transitions between time and places.
The Answer or Position Paragraph: In an exam, this is the most likely paragraph you will have to write. Just remember, this type of paragraph has three logical parts that give the reader the feeling that you know the answer and are in control: 1. The Topic Sentence This sentence states what the paragraph is about. Make it clear and interesting. The rest of the paragraph will be written to support the topic sentence. Most of the time it is the first sentence, but, occasionally, it can come later in the paragraph.
2. The Body of the Paragraph The body consists of all the sentences that go between the topic and concluding sentence. You use the body to explain the topic in detail – and/or – You use the body to prove your position with examples, quotes, and/or references to qualified sources of information.
3. The Concluding Sentence The concluding sentence completes the thought or position of the paragraph. The reader has been told what the paragraph is about, provided support and/or proof to the topic sentence, and, finally, had the paragraph summed up in the concluding sentence. The concluding sentence should leave the reader with the feeling that the idea of the paragraph is complete. Transitions: The concluding sentence may also provide the transition to the next paragraph, if there are more paragraphs to follow. (Read on to “Super YUK!)
SUPER YUK! IT’S AN ESSAY!
So now you have to write an essay. Bummer! This is too hard! YUK and SUPER YUK! These are common reactions to an essay because an essay is a big commitment of time and energy. Sometimes it is so big that you think you can’t do it. Actually, you can. But first, you need to grab it, tear it into bite size pieces, and start chewing it. Let’s start with the definition of an essay. A formal essay or composition is a focused, developed discussion of a welldefined topic, which is called a thesis. An essay explains and validates your thesis with convincing examples. An essay, like a paragraph, has structure. When writing your essay make sure you have: Introductory Paragraph This paragraph defines the thesis of your essay. Remember, the thesis defines your topic and tells what you will cover in the essay. Make sure your thesis is precise and gives you something to prove. If your thesis is too general, it is a topic, not a thesis. A thesis takes a position which defines the subject/position you will support in the: Body: The Internal Paragraphs These paragraphs are where you explain and give the details that support your thesis. This is where you present research, interviews, personal experiences, etc. that support your views. It is very important that these details are presented in an orderly manner. (See “Organize, Order, Outline” below) The Concluding Paragraph Wrap it up! This is where your thesis is restated and summarized. The result should leave the reader feeling satisfied your essay proved your point or position.
Organize, Order, Outline One of the hardest goals to achieve in an essay is to keep it organized with an orderly flow of thoughts from Intro….. to …..Conclusion. Resist, Resist, Resist the temptation to pick up a piece of paper and start writing. A good way to grab it, tear it, and start chewing is to outline your essay. Your outline can be as general or detailed as you need. Create you outline in pencil with lots of space between lines so you can easily make changes. Even when it is a test, take the time to organize!! 1) The Role of CO2 In Global Warming a) Introductory Paragraph i) (The burning of fossil fuels to supply human energy needs has resulted in a four fold increase of atmospheric CO2. CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas which slows the release of heat into space resulting…….) b) Body: Internal Paragraphs i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) Forest Distruction Coal Oil Methane from Herbivores Effects on Weather Changes in Ecosystems
(Six Internal Paragraphs. Remember to transition between each one. You could even do sub headings under each one, outlining important points you wanted to make in the paragraph e.g. i) Forest Destruction (1) Slash burning for farm land (2) Lumbering. Destruction of CO2 sinks (3) Burning wood for warmth and cooking ) c) The Concluding Paragraph Therefore, it is obvious that the world may be at risk for increased global warming due to increased CO2 levels. The effects may result…….
REMEMBER Make sure the essay presents itself in logical order. Transition between your paragraphs. That means that the last line of your current paragraph introduces the subject of the next paragraph. PROOFREAD CHECK SPELLING CHECK PUNCTUATION Write neatly. An answer that is easy to read is easy to grade and will get extra points. Are your lines straight? Are your margins straight? Are your words/letters uniform is size and spacing? Is your paper clean and uncrumpled? Are your pages numbered? Is your name, date, and other required information on the first page? Is your first initial and last name on every additional sheet of paper?
An essay is NOT a monster if you: Make sure you understand your “Thesis”. Use OUTLINING to organize your Introduction, Body, and Conclusion paragraphs. Your “Body” Outline should include a line for every thought, proof, interview, fact, etc. that you are going to use to support your thesis. These need to: Be in logical order Each line defines a new paragraph Begin writing Make sure you “transition” between each paragraph. When done, perform your “REMEMBER” tasks.
REMEMBER: WATCH THE TIME!!!! HAVE FUN! (yea, right)