Tips for Taking Exams:
Multiple Choice Exams
- Circle or underline the key words in the question.
- Answer the questions in order. Mark any questions you are unsure of, return to them later.
- Anticipate the answer before reading the choices .
- Read all the choices.
- Narrow the choices by eliminating those choices that are obviously incorrect .
- Remember words such as: always, never, all, and none tend to be incorrect options. Words such as sometimes, seldom, and many tend to be in correct options.
- Review the test . Use the information you've acquired working through the test and answer earlier questions you were not sure of.
- Check your answers . Change responses only if you read a question incorrectly or if you recall additional information.
- Make an educated guess if you do not know the answer. Never leave an answer blank .
- Write legibly . Grading essay questions is in large part a subjective process. Sloppy, difficult to read handwriting might actually lower your grade.
- Be brief . Avoid filler and sentences that say nothing. Write as if you expect the person grading your test to be tired, bored, and overworked.
- Use a pen . Ink is easier to read than pencil.
- Write on one side of the paper . Writing on the back page will show through and make it harder to read.
Words commonly found in essay questions:
- Analyze : Break into separate parts and discuss, examine, or interpret each part.
- Compare : Examine two or more things. Identify similarities and differences.
- Contrast : Show differences. Set in opposition.
- Criticize : Make judgments. Evaluate comparative worth. Criticism often involves analysis.
- Define : Give the meaning, usually a meaning specific to the course or subject. Determine the precise limits of the term to be defined. Explain the exact meaning. Definitions are usually short.
- Describe : Give a detailed account. Make a picture with words. List characteristics, qualities, and parts.
- Discuss : Consider and debate or argue the pros and cons of an issue. Write about any conflict. Compare and contrast.
- Enumerate : List several ideas, aspects, events, things, qualities, reasons etc.
- Explain : Make an idea clear. Show logically how a concept is developed. Give the reasons for the event.
- Evaluate : Give your opinion or cite the opinion of an expert. Include evidence to support the evaluation.
- Illustrate : Give concrete examples. Explain clearly by using comparisons or examples.
- Interpret : Comment upon, give examples, describe relationships. Explain the meaning. Describe, then evaluate.
- Outline : Describe main ideas, characteristics, or events. (Does not necessarily mean "write a Roman numeral/letter outline.")
- Prove : Support with facts (especially facts presented in class or in the text.)
- Relate : Show the connection between ideas or events. Provide a larger context.
- State : Explain precisely.
- Summarize : Give a brief, condensed account. Include conclusions. Avoid unnecessary details.
- Trace : Show order of events or progress of a subject or event.