What is Your Test-Taking Savvy?
Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
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With the big exam coming up even habitual procrastinators will be motivated to study.
Studying well, while very important, is just one part of test-taking. You must also overcome your test anxiety and learn to practice good test-taking strategies before and during the exam. The time spent on building your test-taking skills is not wasted since you will be taking tests all of your life in business,industry and many other endeavors.
True or False--Test your test-taking savvy.
1. Begin preparing for the test as soon as it’s announced.
2. Reread your textbook in preparation for the test.
3. Answer the easy questions first.
4. Take deep breaths to help you relax and lower anxiety.
5. Prepare for the test by making up your own questions.
6. Answer just the questions you’re sure about.
7. Pay special attention to the teacher the week before the test.
8. Ask the nearest classmate when unsure about a question.
9. Look for the one right answer on multiple choice questions.
10. Some people are just born better test-takers.
Let’s see how you did. Here are the answers.
1. False. Preparation for tests begins the very first day of class. To insure success on tests, take good notes, ask questions, attend regularly and participate in discussion. Learn your teacher’s expectations as well as your teacher’s gestures and signals that indicate what she feels is important.
2. False. Rereading your textbook is of no value if you didn’t take good notes or do efficient marking in the first place. Study your marginal notes, text notes and any exercises you completed in the text.
3. True. Answering the easy questions first leaves time for working on the harder ones. It also bolsters your confidence and helps reduce anxiety.
4. True. Taking deep breaths can help you relax, it’s true. But studying well before the test is a major step toward lowering your test anxiety. Find out what your text anxiety level at http://www.muskingum.edu/~cal/database/general/testprep.html
5. True. If you’ve been attending to the text and lecture you’ll be able to anticipate the test questions. The time you spend writing practice answers to these made-up test questions is well worth it, especially for essay tests.
6. False. Unless there is a penalty for guessing, answer all of the questions on the test, especially the objective ones. Use up the full amount of time you were allotted.
7. True. Many teachers conduct review of the material the week before the test. Some even hand out study guides. Pay attention to the concepts the teacher indicates will be on the test. Ask how long the test will be and the type of questions that will appear there. Learn more at http://library.austincc.edu/help/testtake/
8. False. Never ask for clarification from a classmate during a test. Your teacher may view this as cheating. Ask your teacher if you’re unsure about what the test item is asking or about test directions.
9. False. Choosing the right multiple choice answer is like playing darts. The answer choices are different distances away from the target--the answer preferred by the teacher. More than one of the choices may be true, but you want to choose the one that best completes the stem or gives the answer called for.
10. False. Effective test-taking is a learned skill. You can learn successful test-taking strategies in a study skills class at your school or by completing workbook and computerized exercises in your Skills Lab. In addition, there are also many daily living issues that affect your ability to do well on tests. To find out how vulnerable you are to these stresses, visit http://muskingum.edu/~cal/database/Stres...
Many students do poorly on tests because they don’t prepare adequately, they waste time during the test, and they don’t take time to learn test-taking strategies. By practicing the suggestions given above you will be in control of the test-taking situation and will be on an equal footing with other high-scorers.