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Test Taking Tips

Preparing for Tests

  • Look at previous assessments & answer questions again (ie quizzes, tests, pre-tests, if the teacher does not let you keep them, set up a time before or after school to review them)
  • Review previous assignments - rereading is not enough - redo at least parts of previous assignments to ensure you remember all the details/steps.
  • Try to anticipate what will be on the test (make up what you think the questions will be). Make cliff notes (condense each topic on a note card) from review sheet
  • If applicable, make flash cards for vocabulary
  • Make studying the last thing you do at night (go to bed immediately after studying . . . don't watch TV, go on the computer, play video games, etc. after studying)
  • Break up your studying over a period of time such as a few nights (cramming the night before or the morning of the test is NOT a good idea)
  • Use other resources to help you study (websites, classmates, other teachers)
  • Go to review sessions - take notes and ask questions on things you don't understand
  • Get some sleep the night before and have something to eat before the test.

Taking the Test

  1. When you first get the test:
    • Take a deep breath - try to stay relaxed throughout the test
    • Read the directions - carefully
    • Skim through the test
    • Budget your time - pay attention to how many points each question/section is worth
  2. General test taking tips:
    • Read the ENTIRE question
    • Circle "key" words in the question (any, not, except, always, never, all, every, only, some, most)
    • Don't read too much into the questions. The teacher is NOT trying to trick you.
    • Ask yourself . . . is a question answered for you in another question?
    • Mark the ones you are unsure of and come back if you have time. In other words, do the questions you know first (budget your time), and the ones worth the most points first.
  3. Helpful hints for various types of test questions
    • Multiple choice and true-false questions
    1. After reading the entire question, anticipate the answer before looking at the answer choices.
    2. Read ALL of the answer choices.
    3. Eliminate the choices you know are wrong.
    4. If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess (from the answers left after you have eliminated some of them)
    • Short answer
      1. Keep it short, get to the point (it's not an essay question).
      2. Answer the question that is asked, not something just related to it.
      3. Use complete sentences with correct punctuation, correct grammar, correct spelling, and use correct terms.
    • Essay
      1. Pre-write - brainstorm - make an outline or use a thinking map, if helpful
      2. Make sure you understand what the question is asking
      3. Organize your thoughts, make sure you are answering the question and are giving evidence, supporting information, facts, reasons for your answer (don't just give your opinion, unless that is what is asked for)
      4. Don't write long introductions or conclusions.
      5. Focus on one main idea per paragraph.
      6. Write as neatly as possible and pay attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation.
    • Problems
      1. Show your work! ALL of it!
      2. Circle your answer.
      3. Pay attention to detail - label, use correct units
      4. Even if you don't know how to do a problem, write down as much information as you can and do as much as you can - you may get partial credit
    • After you finish
      • Go back to the ones you skipped.
      • Check your answers carefully and take your time
      • Don't pay attention to when others finish, don't rush/turn in your test too early.