Test Taking

Tests are designed to see how well you have learned the material to date. No matter how good you are at test taking, good preparation through studying is the only sure way to do well on the tests.

Before the test: Read the chapter summary and practice the review problems and chapter test in the book. Review your notes and text for points that seemed critical or emphasized. Review the night before the test. DO NOT CRAM! This will only confuse you. All homework should be completed by this time. You should work only a few well chosen problems, not every question in the text the night before. Don't even think that waiting until the day of the test is a good time to start. Prepare your things for the morning ahead and get a good night's sleep. Remember your calculator and pencil.

During the test: There are several things that should take place when you are taking a test. Along with breathing, having proper tools (pencils, calculator, brain), you might want to follow these steps:

1. Primary data dump

As soon as you get the test, write down all the formulas, rules, and key concepts that relate to the tested material. This is done before you look at any test questions.

2. Preview

Look the test over before you start. Figure out which problems will be the easiest or quickest for you to do. Also, see if you need anymore formulas that you did not dump earlier.

3. 2nd data dump

Repeat step 1 with more useful formulas, rules, and concepts.

4. Work schedule

Make a schedule that outlines how many problems per minute that you need to do to finish the test on time. This will help you decide if you have spent too much time on a problem.

5. Easiest / quickest 1st

Do the problems that you know you can get right without too much grief first! Do not spend a lot of time on the hard ones first and run out of time for the easy ones.

6. Not sure? - Skip it

If you encounter problems where you get stuck, do not waste your time there. Go on to other problems and come back to the unfinished ones later.

7. Look over skipped problems

Finish where you left off. You should have left plenty of space between your well numbered problems to continue.

8. Guess / try

When time is running out and you have done all that you can, GUESS!!!! Never leave an answer blank, if you can help it.

9. Review for careless errors

With the remaining time, check your work for careless mistakes. Under a stressful situation 2 + 2 might equal 5.

10. Use ALL time available

You may get some burst of inspiration at the last minute that leads you to an answer. Use your time wisely.

11. Number your work clearly

The instructor can only grade the answers and work that can be found. Be as neat as you can. Make sure that anyone could find your work for any problem on the test.

Test errors: There are several types of errors that can occur during a test. By reading the directions carefully, you can avoid many unnecessary wrong answers. Make sure that you answer the given question, not your own. Careless mistakes can be corrected by checking the work over at the end of the test. Concept errors can only be fixed by restudying the material. It is usually obvious when a student does not have a clue of what to do. These are concept errors. If you can set up the problem, but can not finish it, then you may have made an application error. You might know all the formulas and when to use them, but how to use them is the problem. More practice and study can usually fix this. Study errors are pretty easy to handle. These errors occur when students study the wrong material. Make sure that you know what topics, concepts, and sections are going to be tested. There should be no surprises on the test.