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Lesson #20 - Taking Tests, Part 3

In this lesson, you will learn about tests that are different from multiple choice, true-false, and matching. These tests require you to recognize and select an answer. Short answer and essay tests require you to recall and construct an answer.

Q: Do recall tests require different preparation?

Yes, you should prepare differently for recall tests. You should study systematically and master the material as recommended throughout STUDY SMART. But, preparation for the test should change.

We will first look at the purposes and demands of essay and short answer tests. One important characteristic is that you must remember and express your learning. Your answer must be well organized and clear to receive the best grade. In other words, your grade is influenced by how you write, as well as what you have learned. Teachers usually have their own criteria to grade recall tests, so it is important to find out how your tests will be graded.

Q: How should you Prepare for recall test?

To Prepare for recall tests you should:

  1. Make sure you know what your teacher expects:  The best way to find out is to ask your teachers. You want to know if spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors count against you. You also want to know if you have to provide evidence for your answers and what kinds. You can write a sample answer and ask your teacher to look at it for strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Practice writing answers:  You can make up sample questions and write answers. Because essay questions are quite broad, it is likely you will make up questions that will be similar to your teacher's.

    You can also ask students who were in your teacher's classes before what questions were asked. The important thing is to write actual answers. Be sure to review your answers to see how they can be improved.

  3. Organize well the ideas and main points that the test will include: It is very important to understand main points and how they relate to each other. You can do this using skills presented in Lessons 12 and 13 such as outlines, idea skeletons, and summaries.

Q: What should you do during the test?

Below are actions that improve success on recall tests.

  1. Read the directions carefully and follow them:  Ask if you are unsure of what your teacher wants.
  2. Read each essay question before answering any:  Decide how much time you can spend on each and stay in your time limits. Make a note sheet for each question - use this to jot down ideas as they come to you and as you think about and plan your answer.
  3. Organize your answers:  Before writing, think about what you will say and make a brief outline. Follow the organization as you write.
  4. Answer questions clearly and directly:  Use the words and phrases your teachers and textbooks use.
  5. Review your answers:  Make sure you have said what you intended and that you have written clearly.
  6. Write neatly and legibly:  Use erasable pens or white-out fluid to correct errors. Neat papers get higher grades.
  7. Always write an answer to every question:  Show that you know something. Never leave a question unanswered. If you have a choice, answer only the number of questions required.
  8. For short answer tests, write short clear responses that completely answer the question:  Do not write more than is needed to answer questions. Make your answers easy for teachers to read.
Q: What should you do after the test?

Check your test to make sure your test was correctly graded. Read your answers carefully and examine your errors and teacher's comments. If you do not understand why you lost points or made an error, ask your teacher to explain. Then, see if you can write a better answer. You can even ask your teacher to read this new answer. Most teachers expect you to do things in a specific way that may be different from other teachers. It is important to learn these special requirements early.

You should think about tests as opportunities to show what you know. If you are systematic when you study and prepare for tests, you can do very well.

Q: How can you get started?

For tests that you have essay questions, write five practice questions. Think about what you believe your teachers will ask. You can also ask some friends to do the same thing. Use these to practice while preparing for the test. You may be surprised at how similar your questions are to your teachers' questions. You can use Form 20.1 to write your questions.

Lesson #21
Lesson #19

ECC [] ©Copyright 1991, Thomas M. Sherman. Further distribution without the written consent of, Inc. is prohibited.


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