Test-Taking Skills Or how you learned to love -- or at

Test-Taking Skills
Or how you learned to love -- or at
least like, okay, maybe just pass -academic testing
The Usual Suspects…
True / False
Multiple Choice
Short Answer
Open Book
Before the test…
Analyze past test results.
Arrive early.
Review the test first, assessing its
True and False…
Every part of a true sentence must be
Note negatives, qualifiers, absolutes,
and long strings of statements.
Review a teacher’s past test for
Multiple Choice Tests
Read directions slowly.
Know if each question has more than one
correct option.
Know if you’re penalized for guessing.
Select the option that most closely
resembles your answer.
Choose the truest option.
But how do we eliminate
Difficult options?
Give each option a true/false test.
Question options that don’t grammatically fit
with the sentence.
Doubt completely unfamiliar options.
Question options with negative and/or
absolute words.
Consider and perhaps choose “look-alike”
Quantitative Tests
The Count says:
I vant to help you count one,
two, three, four, many, many ways!
According to the Count…
Read the entire test first.
First work on the problems you definitely can solve
to build confidence.
Be aware of time constraints. Devote less time to
easier questions, more to harder ones.
Complete as much of a problem as possible.
According to the Count
When you get your exam, write down all the
key formulas on the margin of your paper.
Read the directions carefully and answer all
parts of the question.
Always show your work.
Always, always, always review your
Short Answers
Use grammatical clues to finish an
 Let the instructor know if multiple
answers could work.
 A common sense guess is better than
a blank.
 Write answers in simple, concise
sentences. Information is valued more
than style.
Create a schedule to answer and
review each essay.
 Outline your ideas. Know the essay’s
beginning and end.
 Underline the topic’s key words and
ideas, and be sure to address them.
 Don’t embellish; write your points.
 Strive for clarity, completeness, and
Essays (continued)
For the introduction, briefly introduce topic,
and transition to thesis.
An assertion, example(s), and explanation
should structure each paragraph.
Restate main points in conclusion, and
leave readers something to ponder.
Open Book Tests
These tests evaluate your
understanding rather than
You will apply material to new
You will use your material as evidence
for evaluations.
To prepare for an open book
Study! Prepare as you would for a
regular test.
To help you find material, highlight
information in different colors.
But you must understand the
information to succeed. The book
should supplement your own
“This is helpful!
Let me count
the ways!”
Works Cited
Department of Mathematics at Saint Louis University. “Success in Mathematics.” Saint
Louis University. June 1993. Saint Louis University. 03 November 2007
Landsberger, Joe. “Ten Tips for Test Taking.” Study Guides and Strategies. November
2007. 07 November 2007 <http://www.studygs.net/tsttak1.htm>.
Richard, Cathy. “Study Skills.” Nicholls State University. Elkins Hall, Thibodaux. 23
August 2007.
“Test Taking Tips.” Test Taking Tips. 2006. 07 November