What tests do you take?

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  • Jamey Gill
  • Curriculum and Instruction Specialist
  • Coordinator, Lake County College-Going Initiative
  • Lake County Office of Education

What tests do you take?

  • Classroom
  • CST
  • EAP
  • College Placement Exams (math/English)

What are some road blocks to successful test-taking?

  • Spending too much time on difficult questions
  • Not finishing the test
  • Not being able to concentrate
  • Skipping too many questions
  • Not understanding directions

Not listening to instructions

  • Not listening to instructions
  • Being nervous and anxious
  • Not checking work
  • Not studying enough
  • Not studying the correct material
  • Studying only the night before the test

Suppose a man walks up to you on the street and asks….. Does a finite abelian P-group have a basis?

  • Will you break out in a cold sweat?
  • Will your breathing become shallow?
  • Will your muscles tense up?
  • Probably NOT!
  • But if you get the same question on a test, your palms may get clammy.
  • Tests are powerful!

What you can do to be successful…..

before the test?

Know the Test

  • Know the Test
    • What types of questions will be asked?
    • How much time will you have to take the test?
    • How will the test be scored?

Verify Information

  • Verify Information
  • What materials will you be able to use during the test?
    • Textbooks
    • Notes
    • Calculators
    • Writing on the test

Study Effectively

  • Study Effectively
  • Study a little bit every day (no cramming allowed)
  • Review notes daily
  • Ask your teacher when you don’t understand something

When you first get the test…

Read the Directions

  • Read the Directions
    • Don’t skip this part of the test
  • Scan and Review
    • Quickly read over each section of the test
  • Pace Yourself
    • Keep a watch on your desk if you cannot see a clock
  • Do the easy questions first
    • Build your confidence
  • On math tests, show all of your work
    • Never waste time erasing

What are the strategies you can use during the test?

True-false Matching Fill-in-the-blank Multiple choice Vocabulary Essay

  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #1

True-False Questions

  • These are the easiest questions to complete because………
  • you have a 50% chance of getting the answer correct.

What types of questions are found on tests?

However, this type of question is often very tricky!

Let’s try one….

The novel “Romeo and Juliet” was written by William Shakespeare.



Careful….a single word can make a true sentence false.

  • Careful….a single word can make a true sentence false.

Teenagers are always loud.



Watch out for broad, general statements that may often be true, but are not always true.

  • Watch out for broad, general statements that may often be true, but are not always true.

In True-False questions a false sentence often looks like a true one. -READ CAREFULLY-

Hunt for the word or detail that can make a statement false.

Other Strategies: True/False

  • Qualifiers: words like ‘sometimes, often, frequently, generally’ make more modest claims, and may indicate a ‘True’ answer.

Other Strategies: True/False

  • Absolute words: ‘No, never, none, always, every…’ imply the statement must be true 100% of the time, and may indicate a ‘False’ answer.

Other Strategies: True/False

  • Generally, there are more ‘True’ answers than ‘False’ answers.
  • Know your test writer’s tendencies.
  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #2
  • Matching Tests

Matching Tests

  • Directions –
  • Match these famous people with their accomplishments:
  • 1) Mae West ___They discovered the North Pole in 1909
  • 2) Thomas Edison ___French General in the Revolutionary War
  • 3) Henson and Peary ___Invented the light bulb
  • 4) General Rochambeau ___First woman to earn a million dollars in the movie business.
  • 5) Jim Abbott

Tips for Matching Tests

  • Count each list.
  • Answer items you know first.
  • Look for clues (gender, he/she vs. they)
  • Make intelligent guesses (e.g., matching “French General” with a French-sounding name).
  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #3
  • Fill-In the Blank Questions

Fill-In the Blank Questions

  • Read carefully.
  • Be sure your answer fits correctly into the sentence.
  • Read the entire sentence once you have answered to make sure it sounds right.
    • -Example: __________is the capital of California (proper noun).
  • Pay attention to the number and length of the blank spaces in the sentences.
  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #4
  • Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Write on your test - underline the key words.
  • Read all of the answers - eliminate obvious incorrect answers (cross out incorrect answers).
  • Answer all of the questions you know first (if you skip a question, make sure you use the correct area on your answer sheet for next question).
  • Go back and look at the questions you didn’t know. Make an intelligent guess after eliminating wrong answers and using other clues within the test.
  • Look for trick words.
  • Watch out for “all of the above” or “none of the above”.

If two answers have similar-sounding or similar-looking words (intermediate, intermittent), chose one of these answers.

  • If two answers have similar-sounding or similar-looking words (intermediate, intermittent), chose one of these answers.
  • If two quantities are almost the same, choose one.
  • If the answers cover a wide range (4.5, 66.7, 88.7, 90.1, 5000.11), chose the one in the middle of the range.
  • Sample Multiple Choice Question:
  • Which of the following is a flavor made from beans?
  • A. Strawberry
  • B. Cherry
  • C. Vanilla
  • D. Licorice
  • E. All of the above
  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #5
  • Vocabulary Tests

Vocabulary Tests

    • Example-
    • Multitude:
    • Multiplication
    • Magnification
    • Many
    • Altitude
    • All of the above

Tips for Vocabulary Tests

Try to come up with your own definition of the word.

  • Think of the word in a sentence.
  • Eliminate choices you know are wrong.
  • Look at the parts of a word.
  • Example: TELEPATHY –
  • Think of other words that begin with “tele”
  • Think of other words that end with “pathy”
  • BIG Test-Taking Tip #6
  • Essay Tests

If some essay questions are worth more points than others…..

  • Spend more time answering the higher point question.

Read the directions…..

  • Make sure that you don’t answer more questions than you need to!

Look for key words:

Make sure you read ALL parts of the essay question.

    • Many questions have several parts.
    • If you don’t answer every part, you will lose points.

Start your thinking/planning with a….

    • graphic organizer
    • outline
    • list
    • some quick notes

Keep your audience in mind.

    • Your teacher will be reading your answer for a classroom test.
    • HOWEVER,
    • you may need to write to someone specific.

Reread your answer when you have completed it.

    • Check for complete ideas
    • Make sure that you have not strayed from the topic
    • Check punctuation and spelling
    • Check for neatness – rewrite anything that is too hard to read.

The Cost of Cheating…..


  • Good luck on your tests!

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