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Basic Test Taking Methods

1. Be prepared: Don't cram the night before so that facts are crammed in, and lose the material while taking the exam. It is better to study regularly, set aside regular study periods for review and plan your intensive review two nights before the test. The night before the test, review selectively those areas, which you are still unsure.

2. Arrive at the exam room on time and make sure you are organized.

a. Make sure you have all of the necessary equipment: sharpened pencils, at least two pens, paper, calculator, etc.
b. Take care of your physical needs before the exam: getting enough sleep, eating, wearing comfortable clothing, etc.
c. Avoid getting into a last-minute session with panicky classmates.

3. Reduce your nervousness.

a. As soon as you are handed the test, take a deep breath (inhale deeply, count to three, then exhale to the count of three).
b. A momentary lapse in memory is perfectly normal so don't let it throw you into a panic.
c. If you are having trouble with one question in particular, mark it some way so that you remember to come back to it.

4. Preview the test.

a. Take one or two minutes to look over the entire test so that you know the general topics which will be covered and what you will be expected to do.
b. Check the point value of each question.

5. Understand the directions.

a. Underline all significant words in the directions so that you know what to do. - For example, Answer 1, 2, or 3.
b. Common Exam Verbs

- Define - give the meaning
- Summarize- briefly tell
- Explain- give reasons
- Discuss- give as much information as you can; give the pros and cons
- Describe- make it possible to visualize
- Emulate- (list) make the major points stand out clearly
- Compare- show how the two items are alike
- Contrast- show how the two items are different

6. Budget your time. Bring a watch.

a. Read each question thoroughly so you understand it before you answer it, but don't spend too much time on any one question.
b. Remember that essay questions take longer than objective.
c. Spend more time on questions that are worth the most points.

7. Answer the easiest questions first.

a. This practice helps build your confidence.
b. You may find an answer to a more difficult question.

8. Answer questions by using what you have learned.
Don't try to outguess your professor or yourself.
- For instance, if you don't pick "B" simply because you already have 6 B's, you will probably miss that question. Always pick the answer you think is correct.

9. Answer all of the questions.
Unless:
(1) you are penalized for the wrong answer.
(2) the test only requires you to answer part of the question.

10. Check your answers carefully.
Don't hand in your test as soon as you have finished the last question; take the time to go back over the test to make sure you did not make any careless mistakes.

11. Ignore other test takers.

a. The first person finished does not necessarily get the best grade, so do not worry if someone hands his/her test in before you.
b. DON'T CHEAT, OR EVEN LOOK AS THOUGH YOU HAVE BEEN CHEATING!

12. Ask your instructor for help if an exam question is unclear to you.
Remember: The only "DUMB" question is an unasked question.

13. Learn from your incorrect answers.

a. Why did you miss the question?
- Did not study enough?
- Did not follow directions?
- Forgot the answer?
b. Know what you can do to improve for the next test.