Burris Laboratory School

Test Taking Tips

Suggestions for Writing Essay Examinations

  • Read over all the questions before answering any one of them. Read the questions carefully
  • Spend five minutes or more making a very sketchy outline of the answers that are on the tip of your tongue. Organize your answers in advance of writing time.
  • Make a quick allotment of time for each question, so that you will not be caught short for the last question. If the value of the questions is weighted, divide your time accordingly.
  • Answer the easiest questions first. After each answer leave enough space for additional thoughts which you may wish to add.
  • Be sure you know exactly what is wanted before you begin to write.
  • Write short snappy sentences that say something. Avoid extra words. Be brief, concise, and accurate. Think more or write less.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, try to reason it out, but do not waste time giving an erroneous or absurd answer.
  • Where possible begin your answer to each question with one or more summary sentence. Outline where appropriate.
  • Make your papers neat and legible.
  • Allow several minutes at the end of an examination to proofread your paper for errors, omissions, and spelling.
  • Attempt all questions, partial credit is better than none.

Avoiding Multiple Confusion
Multiple choice tests are the most widely used kind of objective tests. Selecting a single answer from several suggested ones can be tricky however, so here are some expert tips:

  • Read the directions carefully and make certain that you understand what is wanted. You may be asked for the correct answer, the best answer, or the incorrect answer.
  • Read each statement carefully before looking at any of the possible answers. If the test item is in the form of an incomplete statement, try completing the sentence before looking at the suggested answers. Then see if your answer is one of those listed. If it is, mark it immediately. If not, put tip C into action.
  • Eliminate the obviously incorrect choices to reduce the odds against you. (If you narrow the choices down to two, you already have a 50-50 chance of being right!) Then reread the statement, putting in each possible answer. Often, just combing the statement with the choices will ring a bell for you.
  • Guess only after you have checked that you won t be penalized for wrong answers (i.e. that you will be scored for the number of right answers you have).
  • Watch out for broad statements containing such words as all, none, always, never, forever, totally, and only.
  • Look for answers containing qualifying words such as generally, often, frequently, usually, sometimes, or seldom.
  • Beware of the not booby trap. The word not , slipped into a familiar phrase, drastically changes the meaning of that phrase.

True or False
True-False tests ask you to verify whether a statement is right or wrong. Memorizing important facts, definitions, names, dates, and rules will probably help prepare you for such a test. In addition to studying, here are some true-false test taking tips:

  • Be alert for the key words such as all, none, some, only, generally, usually, always, sometimes. never, more likely, least likely, probably, and seldom. Beware of statements that are too broad.
  • Read all parts of a true-false statement. If any part is false, the whole statement is false. And be careful the false section may be hidden in a minor part of the sentence.
  • When in doubt guess. (But check with your teacher first to make sure that your score is the number of right answers.) Note, too, that the shorter the test, the better the odds are of guessing right.
  • There are usually more true items than false ones on a a true-false test. (This is said to be due to the fact that it is easier for a test-maker to write a true statement, than create a plausible false one.)
  • Watch out for the not booby trap. The word not drastically changes the meaning of a sentence.
  • If you're unsure of what the specific point the teacher has in mind, qualify your answer to the question with a comment (in the margin) explaining your choice.

General Suggestions for Taking Objective Type Examinations

  • Read the directions with great care.
  • Ask the instructor of you are penalized for incorrect answers or whether only the correct answers will be counted. If there is no penalty, GUESS! If you are to be penalized, then guess only when you are reasonably certain that you have a chance of guessing correctly. Do not make completely wild guesses.
Burris Laboratory School
2201 W. University Ave.
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Phone: 765-285-1131
Fax: 765-285-8620