Test Taking Tips

Essay Test Tips

  • Read the directions carefully; pay close attention to whether you are supposed to answer all the essays or only a specified amount (i.e. "Answer 2 out of the 3 questions).

  • Make sure that you understand what the question is asking you.

  • Make sure that you write down everything that is asked of you and more. The more relevant details and facts that you write down, the better your grade will be.

  • Budget your time. Don't spend the entire test time on one essay.

  • If the question is asking for facts, don't give your personal opinion on the topic.

  • When writing your essay, try to be as neat as possible.

  • Make an outline before writing your essay. This way your essay will be more organized and fluid. But, keep an eye on the time!

  • Don't write long introductions and conclusions, the bulk of your time should be spent on answering the question(s) asked.

  • Focus on one main idea per paragraph.

  • If you have time left at the end of the test, proofread your work and correct any errors.

  • Budget your time, if you have an hour to write 3 essays, spend no more than 20 minutes on each essay. If you have time left over at the end, go back and finish any incomplete essays.

Multiple Choice Test Taking Tips

  • Read the question before you look at the answers.

  • Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers. This way, the choices given on the test won't throw you off or trick you.

  • Eliminate answers you know aren't right.

  • Read all the choices before choosing your answer.

  • If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess and select an answer.

  • Don't keep on changing your answer. Usually your first choice is the right one.

  • In "All of the Above" and "None of the Above" choices, if you are certain one of the statements is true, don't choose "None of the Above", or if one of the statements is false, don't choose "All of the Above".

  • In a question with an "All of the Above" choice, if there are at least two correct statements, then "All of the Above" is probably the answer.

Open Book Test Tips

  • Spend an equal or greater amount of time preparing as you would for a normal test; the open book test will most likely be harder than if it were a closed book exam.

  • Familiarize yourself with the book and relevant materials.

  • If it's allowed, write down all the important formulas and key information on a separate sheet so you don't have to search through your book.

  • Focus on learning the main ideas and get a feel for where they are located in the book. Learn the details later if there's still time.

  • Highlight important points. If it is allowed, use post-it notes, bookmarks and make notes in your book.

  • Answer the questions that you know off the top of your head first, then go back and answer the questions where you need to reference your book.

  • Use quotations from the book to support your view, but don't over-quote, be sure to give your own insight and commentary.

Quantitative Math Test Tips

  • Repetition is important in math. You learn how to solve problems by doing them, so study using practice problems. Make sure you learn how to recognize when/why you should use a specific method to solve a problem.

  • Work on practice problems for each topic ranging in levels of difficulty.

  • When practicing, try to solve the problem on your own then look at the answer or seek help if you are having trouble.

  • When you get your exam, write down all the key formulas on the margin of your paper so if you forget them when you're in the middle of the test you can look back at the formula.

  • Read the directions carefully and don't forget to answer all parts of the question.

  • Show all your work (especially when partial credit is awarded) and write as legibly as possible.

  • Check over your test after you are done with it. If you have time, redo the problem on a separate piece of paper and see if you come up with the same answer the second time around.

  • Look for careless mistakes such as making sure the decimal is in the right place, that you read the directions correctly, that you copied the numbers correctly, that you put a negative sign if it is needed, that your arithmetic is correct, and so on.

Short Answer Test Tips

  • Use flashcards, writing the key terms, dates and concepts on the front, and the definition, event, and explanations on the back.

  • Try to anticipate questions that will be asked on the test and prepare for them. Usually what your instructor emphasizes in class will be on the test.

  • Try not to leave an answer blank, show your work/write down your thoughts, even if you don't get the exact answer.

  • If you don't know the answer, come back to it after you finish the rest of the test and make an educated guess. Other parts of the test may give you clues to what the answer may be.

  • Read the question carefully and make sure that you answer everything that it asks for; some short answer questions have multiple parts.

True/False Test Tips

  • Usually there are more true answers than false.

  • Read through each statement carefully, and pay attention to the qualifiers and keywords.

  • Qualifiers like "never, always, and every" mean that the statement must be true all of the time. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to a false answer.

  • Qualifiers like "usually, sometimes, and generally" mean that the statement can be considered true or false depending on the circumstances. Usually these type of qualifiers lead to an answer of true.

  • If any part of the question is false, then the entire statement is false, but, just because part of a statement is true, doesn't necessarily make the entire statement true.

Contact Information
Georgia College & State University
Center for Student Success
Campus Box 115
Phone: (478) 445-2361 

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