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Chapter 9
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Chapter 9

Taking Exams and Tests

 

You can prepare for exams in many ways and certain methods are better than others depending on your learning style.

 

Knowing what type of exam you will be taking is also very important.  Possibilities might be Essay, Multiple choice or true/false   WHY WOULD THIS BE IMPORTANT? 

 

(a)  Essay = analysis, synthesis, evaluation and supporting your answers

(b)  Multiple Choice/True and False = 50/50 chance, memorizing dates, times.

 

 

EXAMS: The Long View

 

 

Preparing for your tests should actually begin on the first day of class.  All your notes, assigned readings and homework are all part of that preparation.

 

It’s important to become familiar with your syllabus. A properly prepared syllabus is your contract or guide for the entire course.  You can analyze it to ascertain what things will be covered and when, to be aware of exam dates and methods of evaluation.  This information will be helpful for good time management.

 

Doing well on exams can depend on your physical and emotional preparation.

 

Preparing Physically

 

(a)      Maintain your regular sleep routine (Don’t cut back on your sleep in order to cram in additional study hours.)

 

(b)     Follow your exercise program (Walking, jogging, swimming, or other aerobic activities are effective stress reducers that may help you think more clearly)

 

(c)      Eat right (You really are what you eat.  Avoid eating more than one or two caffeinated drinks a day or eating foods that are high in sugar or fat. 

Preparing Emotionally

 

(a)     Know the Material (If you have given yourself adequate time to review, you will enter the classroom confident that you are in control).

 

(b)    Practice Relaxing (Some students experience upset stomachs, sweaty palms, racing hearts, or other unpleasant symptoms of test anxiety.  Try to eliminate as much of this as possible).

 

 

(c)     Use Positive Self-tall (Instead of telling yourself “I never do well on tests”, make positive statements, such as “I have attended all the lectures, done my homework, and passed the quizzes.  Now I’m ready to pass the test”).

 

(d)    Join a Study Group Research studies have shown that joining a study group is one of the most effective strategies for preparing for exams.  Study groups can help you develop better study techniques in addition to gaining a different view of your instructor’s goals, objectives and emphasis).

 

 

Symptoms of Test Anxiety

 

Test anxiety can manifest itself in many ways.  Some students feel it on the very first day of class.  Others students begin showing symptoms the night before the test, the morning of the exam or actually while taking the test. 

 

Symptoms of test anxiety can include “butterflies” in the stomach, feeling queasy or nauseous, severe headaches, a faster heartbeat, hyperventilating, shaking, sweating, or muscle cramps.  During the exam itself, students overcome by test anxiety can experience the sensation of “going blank”; unable to remember what they know they know.

 

 

Overcoming Test Anxiety

 

Test anxiety takes many different forms.  To combat such anxiety, you must know its source.   You might be experiencing anxiety because you are trying to live up to 

 

 

          Others Expectations (parents, friends, spouse, or others close to you)

 

          Lack of Preparation (not having kept up with assignments, readings etc.)

 

It can be the result of the pressure you put on yourself to succeed.  Of course without some pressure, students would not be motivated to study; therefore, some stress connected with taking exams is natural and can enhance performance.  However, when you put too much pressure on yourself or set unrealistic goals for yourself, the result is stress that is no longer motivating, but debilitating. 

 

 

Tips for Successful Test Taking

 

 

Simple tips that may help in test situations:

 

        Analyze, ask, and stay calm (Read all the instructions before you begin so that you understand what to do.  Ask the instructor for clarification if you don’t understand something)

 

        Make the best use of your time (Quickly survey the entire test and decide how much time you will spend on each section).

 

        Answer the easy questions first (Complete the type of questions you are most comfortable with first.  Be sure to allow enough time for any essays).

 

        If you finish early, don’t leave (Stay and check your work for errors)

 

 

Essay Questions

 

 

Many college teachers have s strong preference for the essay exam for a simple reason: It promotes higher-order critical thinking, whereas other types of exams tend to be exercises in memorization.  

 

When taking essay exams;

 

        Budget your exam time

        Develop a brief outline of your answers before you begin to write

        Write concise, organized answers (Some students feel they must write a lot for a good essay answer, however, concise, to the point responses are better answers).

 

Multiple-Choice Questions

 

Preparing for multiple-choice tests requires you to actively review all of the material covered in the course. 

 

When taking Multiple-choice exams, take advantage of the many cues that multiple-choice questions contain. Remember that questions that use absolute words such as always, never, and only:  are often (but not always) incorrect.

 

 

True/False Questions

 

Remember, for the question to be true, every detail of the question must be true.  Questions containing words such as Always, Never, and only are usually false.  Whereas less definitive terms such as often and frequently suggest the statement may be true.

 

 

Open-Book and Open-Note Tests

 

If you never had open-book or open-note tests in high school, you may be tempted to study less thoroughly, thinking that you will have access to all the information you need during the test. 

 

This is a common misjudgment on the part of first-year students.  Open book and open note test are usually harder than other exams, not easier.

 

Even though the test is open book, many students find that they do not have enough time to spend looking up answers during this type of exam.

 

You may want to use the same strategy for studying as you would for any regular test.  Use Numbered pages in you notes where you anticipate certain answers can be found. This will help you conserve time as you search for answers.  

 

Whatever you do, study as completely as you would for any other test, and do not be fooled into thinking that you do not need to know the material.

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