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Before the Test
- Stay up-to-date on assignments.
Learn material and review as you go along.
- Make sure you understand
the information as you are learning it. That way, you won't have to "re-learn"
it OR have to "cram" a great deal of information at one time.
- Read and study information
in meaningful chunks (by chapters or units)
so that you'll be able to "file" and "retrieve" information
- At the end of each
chapter or unit, identify the information that was most important. Make up
"flash cards" on this information that
you can easily carry and use for study on a regular basis.
past tests to determine how you can improve test results.
the big picture. Ask the instructor about the test. Find out what information
will be stressed and the kinds of questions that will be asked. Then go over
your text and lecture notes to develop a study strategy. Map or outline the
course contents if you haven't done so previously.
- Before a test or exam,
break study sessions into manageable time segments and meaningful units. You'll
remember more if you study for short periods of time (45 minutes to 1 hour)
and over a longer period of time (1-2 weeks) than if you cram all your study
into a "binge" session the night before the test.
- Practice answering
essay questions BEFORE the test. Use cognitive questions
at all levels to assure learning and ability to answer essay questions. For
example: How would you describe, compare/contrast, predict, classify, apply,
evaluate, prioritize, etc?
- Use mnemonic
techniques to memorize lists, definitions, and other specific kinds of information.
- Form a study group
with other students in your class to discuss and quiz each other on important
material. This will add other perspectives and help to "complete"
your study if you tend to be either a "detailed" or "big-picture"
- Maintain healthy living
habits. Get a good night's sleep before the test.
During the Test
- Get to the test site
early so you can select a seat, organize your materials, and get relaxed.
Be prepared with pencils, paper, calculator, books (if appropriate), etc.
the big picture. Survey the entire test before you answer any questions.
This will help you to get an overview of what's expected and to strategize
how you will take the test.
- Take a few deep breaths
and to relax tense muscles. Repeat throughout the test. This process will
help you to stay relaxed and to make more energy available for remembering,
thinking, and writing.
- Read directions carefully.
Ask questions if you don't understand or need clarification.
- Do a quick "mind
dump" of information you don't want to forget. Write it down on scrap
paper or in the margin.
- Answer the easiest
questions first, to help yourself calm down. Matching questions are often
good to start with because they provide a reminder of important terms and
- Use good strategies
for answering multiple choice and other objective questions.
- Look for the central
idea of each question. What is the main point?
- Statements that
begin with always, never, none, except, most, or least-are probably NOT
the answer . Underline these or other key words if you are allowed to
write on the test paper.
- Try to supply your
own answer before choosing an alternative listed on the test.
- Mark an answer
for every question.
- If you have
- The length of
choices can be a clue. Choose the longest.
- If two choices
are similar, choose neither.
- If two choices
are opposites, choose one of them.
- The most general
alternative is usually the right answer.
- When answering essay
questions, remember that the objective is to demonstrate how well you can
explain and support an idea, not just what you know. Keep the following in
- Read over all the
essay questions before you start to write. Underline key words like define,
compare, explain, etc.
- Think before you
write. Remember, a good answer:
- Starts with
a direct response to the question.
- Mentions the
topics or areas described in the question.
- Provides specific
as well as general information.
- Uses the technical
vocabulary of the course.
- Then map or outline
the main points you want to make, determine the order in which you want
to write your points, determine the support you want to add, then write.
- Write legibly.
Leave some space so you can add to your answer, later.
- Proofread your essay.
Check for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. This often adds points!
- When problem solving,
- What am I being
asked to find?
- What do I need
to know in order to find the answer?
- What information
has been provided that will help me to find the answer?
- How can I break
the problem down into parts? What steps should I follow to solve the problem?
- Does the answer
make sense? Does it cover the whole problem?
- Keep an eye on the
clock. Make sure you'll have time to complete the test sections with the highest
value, if not the entire test.
After the Test
When you receive your test
paper, go over it to determine areas of strength and weakness in your test-taking
skills. If you have done poorly, learn from your mistakes! Always analyze
your tests to determine how you can improve future test results.
Developed by Meg Keeley
Office, Bucks County Community College
With funding from the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education
Designed and Produced by Chimera Studio
Copyright 1997 Bucks
County Community College. All rights reserved.