Test Taking

a multiple choice testTest Taking Skills: The secret is the preparation

A comment from a college student compared tests in high school and college:

High School is memorization and regurgitation. Here you have to think. I remember bombing the first test after studying my brain out. Some of that stuff I swore I’d never seen before. It’s called “applying the principle.” You have to understand the concept well enough to see how it relates to something you’ve never discussed in class. That’s where most kids get killed.       Junior, Engineering, Notre Dame

The above quote and the one near the end of the page both come from Been There, Should’ve Done That, ed. by Elisabeth Tyler. This book that I highly recommend, especially for college freshmen, includes quotes from students in many colleges and Universities.

This comparison might have been true for his high school, but many high schools certainly ask students to think. Your preparation needs to include three things:

Three kinds of testing skills you will need in high school

1.  Memorized information: This might include vocabulary, spelling, formulas, names and dates. Memorizing usually involves practicing over and over, using flash cards, and testing yourself. For more suggestions :  Remember

2. Understanding the information: I think most high school tests are this kind. If you understand the information, you can answer true-false questions and multiple choice questions as well as essay tests. You don’t need to memorize most information “word for word”, but should be able to explain it in your own words.  Tests might ask you to list,  describe, or explain. There are all based on understanding the material.

3. Thinking about the information: These tests might ask you to compare and contrast two characters, events, ideas, etc.  They might ask you to evaluate an idea based on what you learned. In other words, you need to begin by understanding the information and be able to think about it in different ways.

How to Prepare for a Test

Many students feel nervous when they take a test. For the most part this nervousness is because they know they have not learned the material adequately and they worry that the teacher will ask about the very things they never learned or didn’t understand.

1. The First and most important Test Taking Skill is to begin to study when you attend your first class or read your first assignment.

If you start early, if you organize the important information, and if you rehearse regularly, you will feel confident and relaxed when it is time to take the test.

2. Know what the test will be like. What material will it cover? Just the last several weeks’ material or the entire semester? What kind of questions will be used? Multiple Choice? True/False? Short Answer? Writing definitions? Essay questions? Will there be problems to solve?

3. Practice Taking the Test. Write a list of practice questions that are like the questions that will be on the test. If you write good questions, you may be surprised to find similar questions on the exam. Use your practice questions for a practice test and give yourself the same amount of time you will have for the actual test.

Some students like to do their own practice test in the room where the  test will be given. This is especially helpful if you experience test-anxiety. Go over your own answers. Did you forget any important ideas? How could you  improve your answers? Take  time to rewrite some of the essays. Now you will be better prepared.

Taking a test

Taking standardized tests


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