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TEST TAKING PREPARATION BEGINS THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS Presentation provided by UTPB West Texas Literacy Center, an HSI funded program. HSI is a federally funded program granted by the Department of Education Title V programs. Developed by Ana Miller, M.A., Reading Specialist

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test taking preparation



Presentation provided by UTPB West Texas Literacy Center, an HSI funded program. HSI is a federally funded program granted by the Department of Education Title V programs.

Developed by Ana Miller, M.A., Reading Specialist

test anxiety how do we develop feelings of panic
Test Anxiety: How Do We Develop Feelings of Panic?
  • Past experiences
  • Inadequate preparation
why prepare
Why prepare?
  • Less anxiety
  • No time constraints
  • Access to books notes, and tutors
  • Answers are in your book, handouts, notes, other resources
  • Preparedness = Improved performance
test preparedness
Test Preparedness
  • Analyze the professor’s test technique
  • Complete projects and papers well before scheduled exams
  • Create study guides and flash cards as you take notes
  • Adjust your study method. For objective tests, focus on specific details. For essay exams, focus on broad concepts and relationships.
types of tests
Types of Tests
  • Open book
  • Computation
  • Essay
  • Short answer
  • Fill in the blank
  • True-false (objective)
  • Multiple choice (objective)
open book tests
Open Book Tests
  • Prepare
  • Become extremely familiar with the book, handouts, study guides
  • If you are allowed, make a reference sheet to save time
  • Focus on main ideas and where you can find them in the book or other approved materials
  • Highlight important points, use post-it-notes, add notes IF ALLOWED
open book tests continued
Open Book Tests Continued
  • Take all resources the professor has approved
  • Answer the questions you know, then go to your resources
  • Use your book and other resources as a back up and for verification
computation tests
Computation Tests
  • Understand why, when, and how to use specific formulas
  • Create a formula study sheet and use it as a review
  • When you receive the test, write down the formulas you can remember in the margin of the test
  • Show ALL work (partial credit)
  • Check over the test
essay exams
Essay Exams
  • Read the directions carefully
  • Read and analyze the questions critically
        • Be sure that you understand the question.
  • Do a “Memory Dump” –Quickly write out memorized dates, names or points, so you can relax, think, and write
  • Create a quick outline or other organizational format
  • Begin with a thesis sentence and refer to your major points
  • Focus on one main point per paragraph
  • Use the technical vocabulary and define the terms
  • Proofread
  • Watch the time
understand the question
Understand the Question
  • COMPARE = Examine qualities of what is being compared, stress similarities
  • CONTRAST = Examine qualities of what is being contrasted, stress differences
  • CRITIQUE = Evaluate merits and faults
  • DEFINE = Brief, clear meaning
  • DESCRIBE = Objectively tell about something, do not evaluate it
  • DIAGRAM = Create an appropriate, labeled chart, plan, or drawing
  • DISCUSS = Make a detailed analysis (study), including description and/or comparison, contrast, or evaluation
understand the question11
Understand the Question
  • ENUMERATE = List and briefly discuss the required points
  • EVALUATE = State your opinion, supported by examples; give advantages and disadvantages
  • EXPLAIN = Clarify and interpret, stating “how” and “why,” including expert opinion if appropriate
  • ILLUSTRATE = Literally draw a graph or create a clear example
  • INTERPRET = Translate, give examples, solve, or discuss; include your judgment or feelings
  • JUSTIFY = Give evidence to support your conclusions
understand the question12
Understand the Question
  • LIST= List and briefly discuss required points
  • OUTLINE = Give an organized description, focusing on major points and supporting details
  • PROVE = Confirm or verify; use logical reasoning to make your points, or state evidence and evaluate it
  • REVIEW = Critically and systematically examine, analyzing each major point
  • STATE = Briefly express main points
  • SUMMARIZE = Write a condensed discussion of main points or facts
  • TRACE = Describe a series of events in chronological or other appropriate order
objective tests
Objective Tests
  • Answer the easiest questions first
  • Read all of each question and the choices carefully before selecting an answer
  • When you must guess, eliminate first
  • For true/false questions, assume that a statement is true until you prove otherwise
  • Always write something on fill-in-the-blank questions
  • Think about the question
objective tests continued
Objective Tests Continued
  • Should you guess? YES, but consider this:
          • Use of absolute words (all, none, always never)

Often untrue

          • Use of moderate qualifiers (often, frequently, many…) more likely to be true
          • Look for clues within the question itself
          • Longer, more detailed answers tend to be correct.
          • If two answers are total opposites, one is likely to be correct
          • If two answers are very similar, it is likely that both are incorrect
fill in the blank tests
Fill-In-The-Blank Tests
  • Remember basic rules:
      • Unless directions say otherwise, one word per blank
      • The length of the blank is not necessarily a clue to the length of the word
      • The completed sentence should make sense and be grammatically correct
      • Blanks separated by commas, indicate a series of items
      • Several blank lines without commas indicate a phrase with a specific number of words.
      • The word “an” before a blank indicates that the needed word begins with a vowel sound.
fill in the blank tests16
Fill-In-The-Blank Tests
  • Answer the questions you know, bypass the difficult ones
  • Return to the difficult questions; using delayed response
  • Those questions remaining, apply assisted response, skim through the items that will trigger an association to the needed word
  • If time permits, review
  • Review- Look for skipped items, answers marked in the wrong space, or illegible answers


  • Know your own history
      • Do you tend to find wrong answers and correct them? Then continue to do so.
      • Do you tend to second guess yourself and change right answers to wrong ones? Then be cautious.
  • Change only if you realize that you misread or misunderstood the question on the first attempt or if you recall a relevant fact that warrants changing an answer
oral tests
Oral Tests
  • Confirm time and place
  • Take visual aids and props
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be early
  • Turn off cell phone
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Maintain correct posture
  • Speak clearly and with proper formal grammar and diction
  • Speak in complete sentences
  • Thank the instructor
test taking tips worth repeating
Test Taking Tips Worth Repeating!!!
  • Arrive early and prepared
  • Read ALL the directions carefully
  • Preview the exam before you begin
  • Plan your time
  • Read all of the question and choices completely and carefully
  • Answer the easiest questions first
  • Answer every question, even if you have to guess (unless there is a guessing penalty-ask the professor)
  • Review if time permits
post test
Post Test
  • Relax and celebrate
  • Carefully analyze the errors when the test is graded and returned
  • Ask the professor for clarification if you do not understand why you lost points
disappointed by your grade
Disappointed by Your Grade?
  • Seek the professor’s advice with the attitude that you want to improve next time.
  • Remember test taking is a skill that requires TIME AND EFFORT to develop.
  • You may want to seek assistance:
        • Literacy Center- Ana Miller MB 4180
        • Math & Science Center- Jill Miller MB 4180
        • Writing Center- Kellye Manning MB 2100
        • Mentor program- Stephanie Hernandez MB 4109
        • SI (Supplemental Instruction) Dr. Castro Pass Office

Feldman, Shattles, & McKenzie. (2004).Oracle EDU 1110. Unpublished manuscript, Southern Methodist

University, Dallas, TX