Test-taking might not be such a big deal after all

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Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 - 12:00am

Having problems taking tests? Can't seem to get the right answers? CEU presented Darlene Severeid with her tips on taking tests this week on Tuesday as part of the Student Success Skills Workshop offered each week. Four of the major concepts included: test taking before the exam, during the exam, after the exam and test anxiety.

"Test taking should not begin the night before you have your test." Severeid said about pre-test taking strategies. There are certain questions that must be asked in order to be the most efficient during a test. Some questions include: how many questions will be on the test? What types of questions will be on the test? What materials will be covered?

"Preparation for tests begins day one of the semester." Severied tells the students to read all syllabi for test dates and mark those test dates on a calendar or in an individual's planner. Time management study skills and attending class were also listed to be some of the best preparations for taking a test.

"Come prepared," Severeid continues. Some of the most simple, but hard to-do activities include coming prepared with bluebooks, scantrons, pencils etc., arriving early, listening carefully to the instructor's directions and budgeting your time. Do not take too long on one question, always answer test questions if no penalty applies, underline important words in a test question and take a deep breath and refocus (which helps with test anxiety).

The types of questions were also discussed by Severied. Tips for multiple choice included "physically crossing out wrong answers, paying attention to the word not, and if you don't know the answer, employ educated guessing techniques." These were included with the packet that was handed out.

Tips for true-false questions include, "reading the question carefully and resorting to an educated guess if the answer is not known." Tips for making an educated guess include, "absolute qualifiers and general qualifiers."

"Did you leave yourself any time to go over test and correct mistakes?" After the exam is when the student should "identify their mistake patterns." Other concepts included in this part of the lecture were that students must take advantage of retakes, and when the exam has been given back, they should keep it in their possession to study for cumulative final exams.

During the next part of the presentation Severeid had the students participate in a quiz to see how they were affected by test anxiety. Some of the tips to prevent anxiety include being prepared and arriving to the test early. Students should concentrate on facts they know to build confidence and to answer the questions that they did not know as well. Severeid said that if a student has a severe anxiety problem, help is going to be available with a new CEU counselor.

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