Answering the Easy Questions First is a Worthwhile Test-taking Strategy

Answering the Easy Questions First is a Worthwhile Test-taking Strategy

Chapter vi Test Taking

6.3 Techniques During a Exam

Y’all’ve done all yous can inside reason and within your circumstances to prepare for the exam. You’ve studied difficult, practised questions, and got a good night’s sleep; yous ate nutritiously, and arrived to the test early on and prepared. Now it’southward time to write the examination. There are specific strategies you can use in the midst of the test that volition help you do the best you can do.

During-Test Strategies

Here is a list of the most common–and useful–strategies for examination-taking.

  • Cull your seat wisely.
    Sit down where you are most comfortable. Scan the room and expect for considerations that might bear on you (e.g. sitting away from windows or doors that may exist drafty or distracting). That said, sitting near the front has a couple of advantages: you will hear directions more easily; you may be less distracted by other students; and if a classmate comes upward with a question for the instructor and there is an of import description given, you will be ameliorate able to hear it and apply information technology, if needed.
  • Cut downwardly on distractions.
    Wear ear plugs, if dissonance distracts you lot. Put your phone on
    exercise not disturb
    before you arrive.
  • Bring water.
    This helps calm the nerves, for one thing, and water is too needed for optimum brain function.
  • Listen
    advisedly to instructions given by the teacher or test invigilator.
  • Write it downwardly.
    Take a couple minutes to write downwards cardinal facts, dates, principles, statistics, concepts, memory cues and formulas that yous memorized to assist you on the exam. Write them on a piece of scratch paper or in the margin of the examination paper. Practise this correct at the start. So yous tin can refer to these notes as you have the exam.
  • Scan the examination.
    Before starting to do whatever of the questions, scan the examination so you know how many test items at that place are, what types in that location are (multiple choice, matching, essay, etc.), and the betoken values of each item or group of items. There is nothing worse than getting a large surprise when you have no time left to do anything about it. You don’t desire to think yous’ve almost finished the test, and then with five minutes left, you detect the terminal question is a forty mark essay.
  • Mark the questions
    as you lot scan the test. Star or highlight the questions that you know actually well. Put question marks abreast the ones that you lot might have more problem with. Always focus your attention on the questions you know well first. It ensures that you get the questions done that you have the most take chances of getting loftier marks on, and it builds your confidence from the commencement. Spending time on a question that y’all are struggling with is wasting your time which could be spent answering the questions y’all know the answers to. Skip the ones you don’t know and come up back to them later if yous take time. You lot might even get some clues to the answers from some of the other questions covering similar information. On computerized tests or answer sheets where you can’t or shouldn’t make marks – write down the numbers of the questions you skipped or weren’t sure of on fleck newspaper so you tin discover them easily afterwards.
  • Create a Program.
    Evaluate the importance of each section every bit you scan the exam. Determine which way yous want to approach the test. Some students start with the easy questions first, that is, the ones they immediately know the answers to, saving the difficult ones for afterwards, knowing they can spend the remaining time on them. Some students brainstorm with the biggest-point items offset, to make sure they get the near points. Determine a schedule that takes into consideration how long you take for the test and the types of questions on the exam. Essay questions, for example, will crave more time than multiple choice or matching questions. Keep your eye on the clock.

Create a Examination Plan

Await for opportunities where some areas of the exam are worth more points than others. For instance: An exam consists of 21 questions, with 10 being True/Faux, x being multiple choice, and ane essay question. The T/F questions are worth 1 indicate each (ten points), the multiple-choice questions are worth 2 points each (20 points), and the essay question is worth 30 points. Y’all know that the essay question is the almost valuable (it is worth half of the value of the exam). And we should allocate our time for information technology accordingly. Do a quick analysis of time to exist able to spend your time on the exam wisely. You want to spend some time with the essay question since it is so valuable, without sacrificing adequate time to ensure the T/F and multiple-choice questions are answered.

Often, the order of the exam in this scenario will exist: T/F showtime, multiple pick second and essay third. Almost students volition go in the chronological order of the exam, but you may desire to start with the essay, or at least decide on the essay question (if there is a pick betwixt given options) and write the outline (plan) for the essay with central points before diving into the residual of the test.

If this exam were to last for twoscore minutes, a student could make a rough program to spend 15-20 minutes on the essay question, 10 minutes on the multiple choice, three-five minutes on the T/F and 5-10 minutes reviewing answers, checking over the essay, and going dorsum to questions that were skipped.

  • Read the directions carefully.
    Then reread them. Do y’all empathize what is expected of y’all? If not, re-read the questions, or ask the instructor to be sure you lot are clear.  Mutual errors from not reading directions carefully include either missing one part of the question (e.g. answered the first part only forgot about the 2d function) or not noticing that you simply needed to answer three out of 5 of the curt-answer questions (hence wasting fourth dimension that could have been spent somewhere else on the test). Likewise many students lose points just by not following directions completely!
  • Read the questions advisedly.
    Underline key words in each question. Think about where you accept heard these key words earlier. Recollect nigh other questions on the exam for clues. When yous take finished writing your answer, go dorsum and read the question again to make sure y’all really answered information technology. (It is not uncommon for students to become off on a tangent and then not really reply the question.)
  • Do the piece of cake questions showtime.
    By getting the easy questions out of the way, you’ll feel more confident well-nigh the examination and have more time to think about the tougher questions. Starting time with the objective sections of the test first (multiple choice, true or fake, and matching columns). As y’all answer these questions, keep an eye out for facts, terms, or concepts you may want to use later in an essay question. You’ll know because you read the essay question already and did your outline. Circle key concepts and jot them into your essay outline equally you respond questions throughout the test.
  • Go along an eye on the time.
    Keep as close to your programme as possible. If you see that you are running out of time, don’t panic. Move to those questions you think y’all tin can all the same answer accurately within the remaining time.
  • Move.
    Try to stretch in your chair from fourth dimension to time to relieve tension and aid the blood to the brain! Roll your shoulders, circle your feet and hands, clench your barrel, circumvolve your neck.
  • Reduce anxiety. Remember to utilize strategies to reduce test-taking anxiety (covered earlier in the Chapter 6.1 Exam Anxiety and How to Manage Information technology).
  • Check your work.
    This doesn’t mean going through all your calculations over again. Beginning by ensuring that you accept
    answers co-ordinate to the directions. Then look for other common mistakes, such as a misplaced decimal point, dropped words (especially those that tin modify the respond, like “not”), and any incomplete or incomprehensible phrases.
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“Mr. Edible bean – The Exam” (length 5:56)

Write a alphabetic character of advice to Chen incorporating 10 test-taking tips and strategies you think will assistance him.

Chen believes he is expert at organization, and he ordinarily is–for virtually the first two weeks of classes. He then becomes overwhelmed with all of the handouts and materials and tends to start slipping in the organisation department. When it comes to tests, he worries that his notes might not cover all of the right topics and that he will not be able to recollect all of the key terms and points–particularly for his math form. During tests, he sometimes gets stuck on an particular and tends to spend too much time there.  He besides changes answers sometimes merely finds out later that his original selection was right. Chen is as well easily distracted by other students and noises which makes it hard for him to concentrate, and, unfortunately, he does acknowledge to occasionally “cramming” the dark before.

Strategies for Specific Test Formats

Too equally using the above strategies during the test, it is important to be aware of the v principal types of questions on tests and to know specific strategies for each blazon to assist maximize success.

True or False Questions

Await for qualifiers. A qualifier is a discussion that is accented. Examples are: all, never, no, always, none, every, only, entirely. They are frequently seen in false statements. This is because it is more than difficult to create a truthful statement using a qualifier like never, no, always, etc. For example, “All cats chase mice.” Cats may exist known for chasing mice, but not all of them practise and then. The reply hither is false and the qualifier “all” gave the states a tip. Qualifiers such as: sometimes, many, some, virtually, often, and unremarkably are commonly establish in true statements. For case: “About cats chase mice.” This is truthful and the qualifier “most” gave us a tip. Here is some other example. “Delia flirts with every man she meets.” Though the statement may seem true because you know Delia, there was a fourth dimension v years ago that she met a man named Bob, and she didn’t flirt with him.  Though the temptation is to say, “truthful”, the one example that information technology didn’t happen (when she met Bob) makes the bodily answer, “false”. Similarly in a exam, if you can recall of one exception in a statement with an accented qualifier (i.e. even one example that the argument wouldn’t exist true), then the answer is false.

Make certain to read the unabridged statement. All parts of a sentence must exist true if the whole argument is to be true. If i function of it is simulated, the whole sentence is false. Long sentences are oftentimes fake for this reason.

If students don’t know the answer, they should judge on True or Faux questions unless there is a penalty for an wrong answer. In that location is a l percent chance of guessing correctly! And if you have to guess, approximate the i that seems to make the most sense to you, and if you notwithstanding have no idea, gauge Truthful, because most tests include more than truthful statements than false.

Multiple Choice Questions

It is of import to read each statement carefully. Recollect of multiple choice questions as four (or five) truthful or false statements in ane. Ane of the statements is truthful (the correct answer) and the others volition be false. If you lot accept options such every bit “all of the in a higher place,” or “both A and B,” make certain each item is completely true (no exceptions) earlier selecting those options. If you know your material well, yous will exist able to option out the truthful statements. If yous are unsure of the fabric, there are some strategies to help you lot come upward with the right answer.

Use the same strategy toward qualifiers every bit you did in the True Simulated questions. If you see an absolute qualifier in 1 of the reply choices, information technology is probably false. If a statement says something “always” happens and you can think of even one exception, then information technology is imitation. Try to identify the truthful argument, merely before you choose it as the correct reply,  always read the other statements considering you may find another statement that sounds true. Eliminate answers you know to be false.  And then discern between the two truthful-sounding statements. While working through a question, it is helpful to 10-out the ones you know are false; it will relieve time if you need to go over the question again.

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If in that location is no penalty for wrong answers,  gauge if you are not certain of the answer. If in that location is a punishment for wrong answers, common logic is to guess if you can eliminate two of the answers equally incorrect (awaiting what the penalty is). If at that place’due south a penalty and yous cannot narrow down the answers, it’south all-time to go out information technology blank. You may wish to ask your teacher for clarification.

Answers that are strange and unrelated to the question are ordinarily false. If ii answers have a discussion that looks or sounds similar, one of those is usually correct. For example: abductor/ adductor. If you see these every bit two of the iv or five choices, one of them is ordinarily correct. Besides wait for answers that are grammatically incorrect. These are usually incorrect answers.

Matching Questions

Although less common than the other types of exams, you will likely see some matching exams during your time in higher. First, read the instructions and take a look at both lists to decide what the items are and their human relationship. It is especially important to determine if both lists accept the same number of items and if all items are to be used, and used only one time.

Matching exams become much more difficult if one list has more items than the other or if items either might non exist used or could exist used more than than in one case. If your exam instructions do not discern this, you lot may wish to ask your instructor for further clarification.

Students should accept a look at the whole list before selecting an respond because a more than correct answer may be establish farther into the listing. If one column is short phrases and the other column is single words, work from the column with phrases and expect for the single words to lucifer (not the other way around). If both columns take single words, group them by parts of speech (nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs etc.). Mark items when you are certain you lot accept a match and cross out these options to eliminate answers for the rest of the matching. Guessing (if needed) should have identify once you take selected answers you are certain about.

Curt-Reply Questions

Short-answer questions are designed for y’all to recall and provide very

information (different essay questions that ask you to apply critical thinking to that information.) Read all of the instructions first. Budget your time and and then read all of the questions. Answer the ones yous know all-time or feel the most confident with. Then go dorsum to the other ones. If yous exercise not know the answer and in that location is no penalization for incorrect answers, guess. Apply common sense. Sometimes instructors volition award partial credit for a logical respond that is related fifty-fifty if it is not the correct answer.

Brand certain to look at the marking system. If short respond questions are worth 3-v marks out of 100, so likely the instructor is looking for about two-3 relevant sentences, not a full paragraph. If they are out of twenty marks, you lot’ll want to include more data in more than depth.

I have a tendency to write too much on curt-answer test questions. I desire to write down everything I know about the topic. It’s bully because I’ll unremarkably get full marks on the question, but an instructor once told me that I would have had full marks with my beginning few sentences. The trouble is that if you spend too long on a brusk-answer question, you may run out of time for other questions, particularly a long-answer essay style question that really does require you to get into depth. Write downward a few of the most relevant things on your short-answer question and come back and write more subsequently if there’s fourth dimension at the cease.

— Mary Shier, College of the Rockies

Essay Questions

Knowing the format of the exam tin assist you determine how to written report. If you know that you are taking a True-False or Multiple Option exam, you lot will need to discern whether a argument is True or False. You lot will need to know subject content for the course. But if yous are studying for brusk answer and specially for essay questions, you must know a lot more than. For essay questions, yous must have much greater content knowledge and exist able to brand a coherent statement that answers the question using information from textbooks, lectures or other course materials. You will have to connect themes with examples. Essay questions evaluate your thinking and reasoning skills applied to the course material. You will have to place a lot more time and thought into studying for an essay exam than for True-Fake or Multiple Option exams.

Read the essay question(due south) and the instructions beginning. Underline or circle key words in the question. Plan your time wisely and organize your answer before you get-go to write. Make a quick outline to organize the essay and include all key points. Address the respond to the question in your start paragraph and reiterate it in your last paragraph (conclusion). You would exist surprised how many essays are written that hash out all kinds of things virtually the topic, merely actually never answer the question! It may aid to restate the original question. Write clearly and legibly. Instructors have difficulty grading essays that they cannot read. Clearly state what you are trying to say. Don’t expect that the instructor knows what you mean. Write the essay as if you lot are explaining information technology to someone who knows nothing about the topic. Delight note that essay questions often have multiple acceptable answers, so don’t question whether your reply is right or not. Only make certain yous’ve backed upwardly what you’ve said.

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Relieve some time for review when you lot have finished writing to check spelling, grammar and coherent thought in your respond. Inevitably y’all will find things that need to be clarified. Write your essay double-spaced. This leaves room to add together in words or phrases in the proof-reading stage without making a mess of your paper. Finally, make certain y’all accept addressed all parts of the essay question.

Words to Lookout man for in Essay Questions
Word What It Means What the Teacher Is Looking For
Analyze Suspension concept into key parts. Don’t merely list the parts; show how they work together and illustrate any patterns.
Compare Show similarities (and sometimes differences) between two or more concepts or ideas. Ascertain the similarities and clearly describe how the items or ideas are similar. Practice these similarities lead to similar results or effects? Note that this word is frequently combined with “dissimilarity.” If so, make certain you practise both.
Contrast Show differences betwixt two or more concepts or ideas. Ascertain the differences and clearly depict how the items or ideas are dissimilar. How practise these differences upshot in different outcomes? Note that this word is often combined with “compare.” If and then, brand sure y’all practice both.
Critique Gauge and clarify. Explain what is wrong—and correct—about a concept. Include your ain judgments, supported by bear witness and quotes from experts that support your signal of view.
Define Depict the meaning of a word, phrase, or concept. Ascertain the concept or idea as your teacher did in form—merely utilise your own words. If your definition differs from what the instructor presented, back up your departure with evidence. Go on this essay curt. Examples can help illustrate a definition, but remember that examples lonely are
a definition.
Discuss Explain or review. Define the key questions around the issue to be discussed and then reply them. Another approach is to define pros and cons on the issue and compare and contrast them. In either case, explore all relevant data and information.
Explicate Clarify, give reasons for something. Clarity is key for these questions. Outline your thoughts carefully. Proofread, edit, proofread, and proofread again! Good explanations are often lost in besides many words.
Illustrate Offer examples. Use examples from class textile or reading assignments. Compare and contrast them to other examples you might come up upwardly with from additional reading or real life.
Prove Provide evidence and arguments that something is truthful. Instructors who include this prompt in an exam question accept often proven the hypothesis or other concepts in their class lectures. Think about the kind of testify the instructor used and apply like types of processes and data.
Summarize Give a cursory, precise description of an thought or concept. Go on it short, but comprehend all key points. This is one essay prompt where examples should non exist included unless the instructions specifically ask for them. (For example, “Summarize the steps of the learning wheel and give examples of the main strategies y’all should apply in each 1.”)

A blank crossword puzzle

Cross Word Clues
Across Down
2. “Always,” “never,” and “every” are words that normally indicate the answer is ___________. 1. It helps to group words in matching columns past ___________________ ___ _______________.
3. A mode to organize your thoughts for an essay 4. Clarify, give reasons for something
six. Brusque answer questions crave a __________ answer. v. Essay questions often take more ane ________ answer.
8. Depict the meaning of a discussion seven. Show similarities and differences
nine. Give a brief, precise description of an idea or concept 12. Most common answer in true and false questions
10. Type of question used to evaluate thinking and reasoning
xi. Since instructors demand to read many essays, it is important to write _________.

  • Be prepared. Become a good nighttime’south sleep! Get in early and become comfy.
  • Scan the entire exam before starting to respond questions.
  • Develop a program (including a “time budget”) for completing the exam.
  • Read questions advisedly. Underline keywords in questions, specially in essay questions and science questions.
  • Do the questions y’all know well outset.
  • Unless points are deducted for wrong answers, it pays to take educated guesses.
  • Pay attention to specific strategies for different types of questions.
  • Proceed a close eye on the time. Don’t exist caught off guard.

Lastly, if you lot stop the test early, use the remaining time to review your answers and make corrections or additions earlier submitting your examination.

Brand sure yous take written your full name on the test. It’southward shocking how many students write their start name just and expect the teacher to figure it out. It’s likewise shocking how many students forget to write their names at all. You don’t want to go through all that training and stress and so not get credit for your piece of work. Lastly, make sure to manus your paper in!

“Funny school video of kid taking a test” (length i:04)

Answers to crossword puzzle higher up:

Beyond: 2. false; 3. outline; half-dozen. specific; 8. ascertain; 9. summarize; x. essay; 11. neatly

Down: one. parts of speech; four. explain; 5. acceptable; seven. compare; 12. truthful

Text Attributions

  • Points under the “During-Exam Strategies” heading has been adjusted from “Taking Tests” in
    University Success past
    N. Mahoney, B. Klassen, and M. D’Eon. Adapted by Mary Shier.  CC BY-NC-SA.
  • The “Words to Lookout man for in Essay Questions” table and the Crossword puzzle activeness have been adapted from “The Secrets of the Q and A’s” in
    University Success by
    Due north. Mahoney, B. Klassen, and M. D’Eon. Adapted by Mary Shier. CC BY-NC-SA.
  • Text nether “Strategies for Specific Exam Formats” has been adjusted from “Examination-Taking Strategy Specifics” in
    Blueprint for Success in College and Careerby
    Dave Dillon. Adapted past Mary Shier. CC BY.

Video Attributions

  • “The Examination | Mr. Bean Official” by Mr. Bean. Standard YouTube licence.
  • “Funny school video of kid taking a test” past jerodtnt. Standard YouTube licence.

Answering the Easy Questions First is a Worthwhile Test-taking Strategy