Most students, even prepared students, hate tests and instructors don’t like them either. It would be great if we could get beyond tests. But discussions and essays are even harder to create and to grade. Most students don’t like essays. Essay test questions are even worse than term papers because the student has limited time to work on them. So expect to put up with old-fashioned tests for many more decades.
If we have to take tests anyway, let’s get more comfortable around them. Think of tests as a chance to show off your learning.
What can we do to be better prepared for tests?
We can write our own tests for study practice. This does not have to be elaborate. Start with the obvious. If you are studying a short story ask:
Who are the main characters?
What items play a part in the story?
Are any of these items symbolic? Explain.
What is the order of events? List them.
Are flashbacks used?<[> In whose point of view is the story told?
Did the instructor stress plot? Historical significance? Author’s biography?
Those are all good review questions for review.Now ask what questions lend themselves to essay questions and what questions will most likely be short answer. Write down the answers to all your questions. Look up any that you need to look up and then chain or peg the answers to each one. Review your questions and answers a few times.
Now you have the information memorized, write out an answer to each essay question as you would answer it in an essay question. Have a main point and support for your main point. Organize your answer. This will save you time and frustration if you get a similar question on the teacher’s test..
Not all information lends itself to an essay question. What parts of the quiz will be simple answer like multiple choice or fill in the blank? Write your own test for the material that will be covered here..
After you have tested yourself on the material, and have determined that you know the answers, quiz a classmate. Ask the classmate what questions she thinks will be asked. Have her quiz you..
You will discover that often you will come up with the same questions as classmates or as the instructor. Correctly guessing the test questions is as good as having an advance copy and guessing the questions is NOT cheating. It is just a successful study technique..
Think like the instructor. As you guess multiple choice questions, use it as an opportunity to learn unusual spellings or difficult terms. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the character Dee has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. That is a lot of name to learn. But if you can include the name with the correct spelling in an essay question or fill in the blank, your instructor will be impressed. Divide the name into syllables..
Wan Ger O .
Lee Wan Ik A .
Ke Man Jo.
Spell the name out with your fingertip on your arm. Write it a few times with the fingertip and also with a pen on paper. The instructor will be proud you got the name right and may even give you extra credit points. Also look up the possible meanings of unusual names or words..
The presidents name provides an interesting example. Barack means soul of the sun from the sea mother; Hussein means blessed and Obama means man soul of the sea mother.. Adding a little learning just for yourself is okay.
Know that sometimes in multiple choice questions, instructors try to confuse the student with similar spellings or words that look alike. If you learn the material well, you won’t be tricked. If there are similar spellings or soundalikes in a multiple choice answer, then one of those answers is the correct one. In multiple choice questions, the correct answer is most often in the middle and “C” is the correct answer most of the time. That might help you some time when you just don’t know.
The longest and most complete answer in a multiple choice is most often correct. Think of answers from the instructors view. She won’t write out a long involved answer unless she has to do it..
Also read all the choices in a multiple choice questions. Here is an example:.
Mullien is: a herb that can grow anywhere in the U.S.
a cure for hay fever..
a herb used by Native Americans to treat conditions in all areas of the body including respiratory ailments, burns, swellings and wounds..
found in North American meadows..
Thus answer “c” is correct and is the one that should be circled. The other answers are all also correct, but “c” is the most inclusive. Note it is also in the middle and is the longest answer. This question would be labeled a trick question by students, but it is easy to figure out if the student has studied and read the question and answers carefully..p> Sometimes answer “d” reads “All of the above.” I used to find many incorrect answers in a question like this because instead of reading all the choices, students selected the first correct answer they saw. When taking a test, use clues like these to find the answer when you are not sure, but always go in prepared having learned as much as you can from the assigned material..