Testing Tips

You cannot expect to win in athletics by merely showing up the day of the game. Likewise, your success on tests is based upon how well you prepare yourself. If you have diligently studied, these tips will enable you to perform your best on exams.

General Suggestions

  • Arrive early and take a few minutes to relax prior to taking your exam.
  • Listen attentively to your teacher's instructions and read the directions carefully.
  • Preview the test before you begin and develop a plan on how you will approach the exam.
  • Carefully estimate how long it will take you to complete each section and appropriately pace yourself during the test.
  • Immediately write down memorized lists, facts, and formulas as soon as you receive the test.
  • Go with your first impression when answering test questions and change your answers only when you are certain that you made a mistake.
  • Answer the easiest questions first and spend more time on the questions that will give you the most points. Skip difficult questions and look for clues in other test questions.
  • After you have completed the exam, use the remaining time to proofread your answers and complete items you may have left blank.
  • Make an educated guess on items you are unsure about. You may guess right or at least get partial credit.

Tips For Answering True-False Questions

  • Assume all answers are true unless you can prove them false. When in doubt guess true.
  • If any part of the question is false, then the whole statement is false.
  • Watch for extreme modifiers that tend to make test items false such as "always," "all," "never," and "only."
  • Look for qualifiers that tend to make items true such as "some," "seldom," "often," and "many."
  • True statements tend to be longer and use more qualifiers.
  • Read carefully any items that have negative words or prefixes. Make sure you understand the question before attempting to answer it.
  • Questions that state a reason tend to be false. These questions often contain words such as "because," "since," "when", and "if."

Tips For Answering Multiple Choice Questions

  • Attempt to answer the question before you look at the choices.
  • When in doubt, eliminate choices that you know are wrong and then make an educated guess by choosing the choice that is most familiar to you.
  • Select answers that are longer and more descriptive.
  • Read every possible choice before answering the question to avoid choosing items that are only partially correct.
  • Choices should make grammatical sense with the question.
  • "All of the above" and "none of the above" choices are frequently correct.

Tips For Answering Matching Questions

  • Examine both lists to determine the types of items and their relationships.
  • Use one list as a starting point and go through the second list to find a match.
  • Move through the entire list before selecting a match.
  • Cross off items in the second list when you are certain that you have a match. Do not guess until all absolute matches have been made.

Tips For Answering Essay Questions

  • Read the question carefully watching for key words such as "summarize," "outline," "define," "compare," and "contrast".
  • Organize your thoughts and write a short outline.
  • Paraphrase the original question to form your introductory sentence.
  • Use principles of English composition and make your answers legible. Poorly written answers will likely receive lower scores no matter how well you know the topic.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Personalize your answer by putting it in your own words and by being sincere.
  • Use terms and dates where appropriate to demonstrate that you have learned the information.
  • Proofread each answer and make necessary corrections before turning in your exam.

Test Taking Strategies, a handout developed by the Career and Learning Information Center at Brigham Young University