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Test-Taking Tips

Tip 1: Test Preparation is Important

  • Know the test schedule. Look at the course outline for the dates of your exams.
  • Clarify with your instructor what information will be covered on the test and what types of questions will be utilized (true/false, essay, etc.).
  • Schedule when you will study and stick to the schedule.
  • Organize your notes and make sure you know which chapters will be covered on a test.
  • Plan what you will study and when you will study it. Stick to the schedule.
  • Get enough sleep and eat well before the test.

Tip 2: Types of Tests

Objective Tests:

Objective Tests come in four forms: true/false, matching, multiple choice, and fill in the blank.

In a TRUE/FALSE test, read the entire statement before you answer. Sometimes the first part of the statement is true, while the last part is false. All of the statements must be true for the answer to be true. Watch for words such as all, every, never, always, and so on. These statements are often FALSE. Pay attention to statements that contain negatives.

In a MATCHING test, read both lists completely before answering the items. Cross out each answer as you find its match, unless told otherwise. Match word-to-word answers according to their parts of speech (nouns to nouns). Match words to a phrase by reading the phrase and then looking for the word that describes it. Use capital letters because they are easier to read.

In a MULTIPLE CHOICE test, read the directions carefully. You may be asked to mark the correct answer, the best answer, or all of the answers that are correct. Read all of the answers before you mark the one you think is correct.

In a FILL IN THE BLANK test, look for key words from previous questions. Use the context of the question as clues. Be sure the word you use fits into the sentence and makes sense.


Don't ever leave a blank on any test, because BLANK ANSWERS are ALWAYS WRONG!

For a multiple-choice question: guess EITHER longest answer OR item (B).

T/F question: guess (T).

It is all right to change answers, but if "flipping a coin," leave your first answer on the test

Essay Tests:

Many students do not like essay tests. Come up with a strategy and follow it, you will have more success when taking an essay test.

Read and reread the question until you are sure of what is being asked of you. Look for key words like "compare, contrast, define." If you contrast instead of compare, the answer will be wrong.

Try to rephrase the question into a thesis.

For example: Question - Explain five consequences of child abuse. Thesis - Child abuse has five major consequences.

Write a quick outline to organize your thoughts, and allow enough time at the end of the test to edit and proofread your work.

Tip 3: Taking the Test

Try to get to class ahead of time. Listen to the directions given. Always put your name, date and any other information requested on your test. Write neatly.

Read all directions for each section of the test. Answer all questions. Remember, some of the other questions may help you answer the ones you don't know.

Pace yourself and leave enough time at the end of class to look over your test before turning it in. Make sure all the questions are answered and if using Scantron, double check that all answers and number bubbles match up.
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