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Quality Tips for Acing Any Kind of Exam

Mid-terms are just around the corner, so it is time to brush up on test-taking strategies. No matter the kind of test you get, here are a few strategies for acing every section.

Strategies for Essay Questions

Know the Question

You first need to understand the question and what it is asking you to do. Identify the action verbs:
  • summarize, discuss, explain- mean that you should review a concept in your own words.
  • outline, list, solve- require more detail and description of steps or processes.
  • defend, justify, argue- want you to write in favor of an idea and to give reasons for the side presented.
  • define, clarify, illustrate, describe- ask for specific detail and meaning behind a concept.
  • compare, contrast, distinguish- require you to describe two or more situations or ideas.

Organize First

Do not just start writing away. Make an outline of your thoughts on a separate piece of paper first, including your thesis and key words you want to use. Having an organized process will help you write the essay quicker and make it stronger for the reader.

Restate the Question

You should paraphrase the question, putting it into your own words, and use it for your introductory paragraph. Doing so will let the grader know that you understood the question, and will help them see if you interpreted it differently. It also helps you get the question straight in your own mind.

Follow the Rules of Composition

Make sure your essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion. The body should include at least two, but ideally three points to back up your thesis statement with supportive details and examples. Your introduction should restate the question and present your thesis statement. The conclusion should summarize your thoughts and restate the thesis statement.

Write Legibly

Follow the rules of penmanship to make it easier for your grader to read your essay. Use blue or black pen or pencil to keep your answer visible. Try not to smudge the ink or cross out sentences. If your teacher has to work hard to read your essay, you will likely receive a lower grade.

Formatting Makes it Pretty

When appropriate, use numbers or bullets to list out your points. Do not bury them in the middle of a paragraph, but make them clearly identifiable to your reader. You should avoid long paragraphs, but if you must write one, be sure to underline the main point. Using these formats will help your teacher recognize what you want to say.

For Tutoring near Hayesville

Get more help with test-taking strategies at The Tutoring Center near Hayesville. Our one-to-one tutoring programs in test prep, math, reading, and writing are tailored to your needs based on a free diagnostic assessment. Call (971) 600-3288 to schedule yours today. Find out more about us from our webpage.

Strategies for True/False Questions

When in Doubt

If you do not know if a statement is true or false, mark it true. It is hard to make a true statement false, so there are usually more true statements on a test than false ones. This holds especially true if there is specific data in the statement itself.

Read Carefully

Often times, a teacher will add a qualifier to a true statement to make it false. Be on the lookout for these. Do not assume that because the statement contains some truth that it is therefore true. "The American flag has 50 stars to represent the 50 states, just as it did since the country's founding." It is true that the flag has 50 stars for the 50 states, but we did not always have 50 states, so the statement is false.

Falsifying Modifiers

Teachers can add modifiers to a true statement to make it false. Examples include: always, all, none, best, absolutely, everybody, invariably, only. If your question includes one of these modifiers or something similar, pay extra close attention.

Verifying Modifiers

Other modifiers are likely to make a statement true, rather than false. For example, seldom, many, sometimes, a few, likely, probably, might, all soften a statement to make it more accurate.

Double Negatives

Be aware of any double negatives in the statement meant to confuse you. "Not uncommon" means "common," for example. Also keep an eye out for negative prefixes, "un-," "im-," or "mis-," which will change the meaning of the statement.

Cause and Effect

Statements that provide a reason for a true statement may often be false. The effect itself may be true, but the cause given may not be, making the statement false. "The grass is green because it is made of dollar bills."

Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions

Create Your Own Answer

Before reading any of the options you have, formulate your own answer to the question. Having an idea of what you are looking for already in your mind will increase your concentration, exercise your memory, and help you identify the correct response.

Eliminate Wrong Answers

Scratch off answers that are obviously incorrect so you do not focus any more attention on them. If you can eliminate two options, you may have doubled your chances of choosing the right one.

The Golden Mean

We can often be drawn to the extremes when considering answers with numerical values. Test-makers know this tendency and take advantage of it to fool you. If you are not sure of the exact answer, you can usually eliminate the lowest and the highest values, and choose between the middle range.

Devil in the Details

Answers that provide more descriptive details are often correct. False answers are usually short and made up quickly, so they are usually easy to spot. If in doubt, go for the longer option.

Similarity in Answers

If you have two answers that seem similar, splice them apart and analyze them in detail. One of them may be correct and the other altered slightly to make it false.

Beware of NOT TRUE

Some multiple-choice questions may ask you to identify the statement that is not true. In this case, you will be eliminating correct statements, because the right answer is false.

For Tutoring near Hayesville

Get these and more test-taking help at The Tutoring Center near Hayesville. We have one-to-one tutoring programs tailored to your needs based on a free diagnostic assessment. Find out more online and call (971) 600-3288 to schedule yours today.


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