Test-Taking Strategies

Study skills
The Goode-Pasfield Center for Learning & Teaching
Test-Taking Strategies
 Five Day Test Preparation Plan
 Multiple Choice Tests
 True/False Tests
 Matching Tests
 Completion Tests
 QUOTE Strategy for Taking Tests
Five Day Test Preparation Plan
 Day 5
 Read textbook & class notes
 Look at any handouts from your class
 Highlight the information in your notes &
handouts that you will need to know
 Day 4
 Use mnemonic techniques and practice what you
will need to know
Five Day Test Preparation Plan
 Day 3
 Rewrite the information in a brief form using the
fewest words possible
 Use the mnemonic strategies to review your rewritten
notes at least twice per day
 Day 2
 Think of questions your teacher might ask you on the
 Write each question and answer
Five Day Test Preparation Plan
 Day 1
 The Day of the test!
 Review rewritten notes from day 3
 Review questions & answers from day 2
 You can do these things while eating breakfast,
riding to school, or eating lunch
 Just before the test, go over any information you
are having difficulty remembering
Multiple Choice Tests
 Weeding out absolute words;
 Recognizing “umbrella” (or “fusion” )
Multiple Choice Tests
 “Umbrella” Questions: Also known as
“fusion” questions, seem to have four
correct answers.
1. Which of the following is
a part of a car?
a. Oil filter
b. Engine
c. Carbeurator
d. Air filter
Multiple Choice Tests
The correct answer is “B”, engine.
 You probably noticed that all of these choices
look like “good” answers. This is a clue that
you have an umbrella, or “fusion” question.
The clue is that three of the answers fit within
the category of the fourth. In this case,
carbeurator, air filter and oil filter are all parts
of the engine, so “engine” is the correct
answer. You may also notice that “engine” is
a more general term than the others. Let’s try
Which of the following is a part of the
human leg?
a. The femur
b. The thigh
Right away, you probably recognized that
these are ALL part of a leg, so how do you
decide . This is an example of another
“umbrella” question.
c. The quadriceps
d. The hamstrings
The Answer Is…
 “B”, the thigh, because the others are all part
of the thigh, which again is also the most
general of the terms.
…and another
Which of the following is found in the U.S.?
a. Richmond
b. Roanoke
c. Lynchburg
d. Virginia
And the Answer IS…
 You probably got that one right!
It’s “D”, Virginia, because the
others are located in Virginia.
Absolute Words
Another obstacle to
taking multiple
choice tests is when
absolute words
appear in the
choices. At the right
is a list of some
absolute words.
These usually make
a sentence false.
 None
 Never
 All
 Always
 Every day
 Only
 Must
Here is an example:
1. The result of Barney’s study showed that:
A. All people suffer from SPAK
B. No people suffer from SPAK
C. SPAK never occurs in young people
D. SPAK may be found more in older people
The answer is “4”
 Did you notice that choices 1, 2 and 3
contained the absolute words “all”, “no”, and
“never”. In general, absolute words limit too
many options to be good choices for an
 The correct choice, however, was more
general – it contained the word “may”.
Here is another example:
 People with chronic
disease can be described
a. Inevitably in pain
b. Always grouchy
c. Never able to walk
d. Needing more assistance
The Answer is…
 Can we really say that these people are
ALWAYS grouchy or INEVITABLY in pain or
NEVER able to walk? Of course not. The
correct answer is “D”, “needing more
What about unfamiliar words?
 Some MP questions are phrased using words you
have never heard. They may even be made-up
words. Most students “freak out” when they see
those words, and decide to guess at the answer.
However, this is another test of your deductive
reasoning. If you ignore the strange word, does
the question still make sense? Can you answer it
without knowing what the word means?….
Let’s take a look….
You are treating a patient with Kupe’s disease. When
comparing cotylenol to bitylenol, which of the following
would be the most appropriate intervention for this
a. Cotylenol is more appropriate
b. Bitylenol is more appropriate
c. Bitylenol is not as appropriate
d. Both a and b
This requires more deductive reasoning…Look at
the clues in the scenario given.
1. You don’t know what Kupe’s disease is;
2. You have never heard of “cotylenol” or
3. All of the above are made up words, but it
doesn’t matter.
Here are the choices again..
a. Cotylenol is more appropriate
b. Bitylenol is more appropriate
c. Bitylenol is not as appropriate
d. Both a and b
The answer can’t be “d” because you are asked to
choose between either cotylenol or bitylenol.
• The answer can’t be “a” or “c” because they say the
same thing
• That only leaves “b” as an answer, even though you
have no idea what “Kupes” disease is. No need to
freak out when you see unfamiliar terms!
The more complex question asks you to:
 Prioritize the answers in some order (most
important, best, last, first, initial, etc.);
 Use deductive reasoning;
 Also use your content knowledge;
 Compare only the answers that are given
True/False Tests:
 Choose TRUE unless you know the statement is
 For a statement to be TRUE, everything about
the statement must be TRUE;
 Be careful when a statement has a negative such
as “not”, “do not”, or “in” (e.g. “infrequent”) and
“un” (e.g., “unfriendly”)
 A negative can completely change the meaning of the
True/False Tests:
 If a statement has two negatives, cross out both
 This will make it easier for you to understand the
It is never not a good idea to serve the people.
 Absolute statements are usually FALSE
 Absolute statements include words such as
 All, every, never, no (Dogs are never bald.)
 Qualified statements are usually TRUE
 Qualified statements include terms such as
 Some, most, sometimes, rarely (Some dogs are bald.)
Answer these T/F questions:
 It is never not a bad idea to sleep late.
 People in the middle ages were always short.
 Some of the Shawnee Indians were
 All of the students have a GPA over 2.5.
 None of the scientists believe in God.
Matching Tests:
 Read all the items in
both columns before
making any matches
 Start by making the
matches about which
you are sure
 Cross out items in both
columns as you make
 Make your best guess
for remaining items,
unless there is a
penalty for guessing
Completion Tests:
 Read the item and think about what is missing
 Write an answer that logically completes the
 Be sure your answer fits the item grammatically
 Use the length of the line as a clue to the length
of the answer
 Unless the length of the blank is the same for all
 After you write the answer, read the entire
answer to make sure it makes sense.
 There were too many people coming into the
colony, and there was not enough
________,which led to many issues.
 Supplies will last far into the _________due to
advances in exploration and production.
 There were no identified problems that would
alter ____________recommendations
QUOTE strategy for Essay tests
 Q – Question
 Look for direction (discuss, describe, explain)
 U – Underline
 Words that help focus on ideas to develop answers
 O – Organize/Write
 The facts & write your answer
 T – Time
 Decide how much time to spend on answering each item
 E – Evaluate
 The content & organization of what you wrote & your
QUOTE strategy for Essay Tests:
 Writing a One-Paragraph
 Writing a Multiple-
Paragraph Answer
 Begin with an introductory
 Begin with an introductory
sentence that contains your
main point
 Follow with sentences that
support your point
 End your answer with a
sentence that states your
paragraph that contains your
main point
 Follow with additional
paragraphs, each with a
supporting point
 End with a paragraph in
which you state your

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