I. General Plan
- Take a deep breath and let it out slowly, relax and forget about other people and what they are doing.
- Read the directions carefully.
- Look over the entire test first. Determine types of questions, how many points for each, whether you have a choice of which questions to answer.
- Adopt a time budget for each type of question, allowing time for checking.
- Answer the easiest questions first.
- Try to base your answers on textbook and lecture information first, not your own experience.
- Check the questions when you are unsure of the answer.
- Try to be the last to leave, not the first. Use your extra time for checking.
II. Dealing with Different Types of Questions
Essay and Short-Answer Questions
- Read all questions first. Note if you have a choice of which to answer.
- Jot down key words and major ideas as you read.
- Budget your time. Determine how much time you will spend on each question. Keep track of time.
- Begin with easiest question.
- Briefly outline your answer to help you organize the essay. Use the key words/majors ideas you previously noted.
- Cover only the points asked for in the question.
- Write legibly.
- Answer every required question. No answer = 0 credit.
- Leave space for corrections/additions if possible (an extra line between paragraphs, at the top & bottom of pages, etc.).
- Answer the question; note key words: analyze, elaborate, compare, evaluate, explain, illustrate, outline, define.
- Use technical terminology if appropriate.
- Be concise if time is at a premium.
- Watch spelling.
- Reread and polish.