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Test-taking Skills


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Test-taking Skills

  1. 1. Test-taking Skills Center for Academic Excellence Franklin Pierce University
  2. 2. Agenda 1. Who We Are 2. Test-taking 101 3. Multiple-choice and standardized tests 4. Managing your stress, now and then 5. Questions 6. Resources
  3. 3. Who We Are
  4. 4. The Center for Academic Excellence
  5. 5. Learn about us at /
  6. 6. Who Are You?
  7. 7. Note Card Activity  What year are you in your program?  When was the last time you took an important multiple-choice test?  How did you do?  What questions/concerns do you have about NPTE or other tests?
  8. 8. Strategies
  9. 9. General Test Taking Strategies:  Read each question carefully and thoroughly.  Keep your mind open as you read test items. A question or answer can trigger your knowledge about another test item.  Before answering, look at all of the answer choices.  Pace yourself on a timed test. At the start, glance through to determine the number of questions on the test.  It is not a race to the finish! Use the time you are given.
  10. 10. Answering Options  Employ a “cover-up” strategy by trying to answer a question before looking at the choices.  Treat each answer choice as a true or false response. Select the “most true” answer.  Rephrase a question as a statement using each answer in the sentence. Which seems most true?  If the test format allows, mark question numbers that you can’t answer and continue working through the test.  Save time to return to the skipped questions at the end, even if it is simply to mark a guess.
  11. 11. Eliminating Choices on Difficult Questions  When you are unsure of an answer, try to eliminate as many answers as possible. (Eliminating one or more choices increases your odds!)  Use prior knowledge of word prefixes, suffixes, and roots to make intelligent guesses about unknown terms.  Beware of the use of negative terms used in answers, such as none, not, and never.  Be aware of superlatives in answer choices, such as all, more, always, and only. Superlatives usually indicate an undisputed fact.
  12. 12. Difficult Questions, continued: Guessing Strategies  Try to make an educated guess.  Choose the most precise answer.  Avoid answers that seem out of context or that that are grammatically incorrect.  Choose a numerical answer from the middle of the range, not from either extreme.  If all else fails, have a guessing strategy: make the same letter your guess for each question, choose the longest answer, or make C, or D your favorite.
  13. 13. Final Test-Taking Advice  Be prepared! Study ahead of time and review in advance to avoid last- minute cramming.  Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test.  Eat breakfast the day of the test.  Be confident to do your best.
  14. 14. Standardized Tests
  15. 15. Test Format  Become familiar with the format of the test.  Practice using the same medium as the one you will face on test day, or as close as possible  Learn the length of the test and how many sections it has, as well as the subjects tested and how much you have to know on each.  Review sample tests published by the test maker, reading through and memorizing the instructions to each section so you won't waste precious time on the real test doing so.
  16. 16. Practice Test  Take a diagnostic practice test, using a facsimile of the real test, in test-like conditions.  Buy a test prep book, take a course or go to a test center to take a practice test.  Take the test in one sitting if that is how it will be administered when you take it for real.  Once you have your results, review and bone up on your weak areas.
  17. 17. More Points  Slow down and get more easy answers right.  Many test-takers will rush through the easy questions, getting a few wrong in their haste, and then get stuck on the harder ones, where more time won't necessarily help them find the answers anyway.  If the test scores every answer equally, use your time to rack up as many easy points as you can.
  18. 18. Leveraging the Scoring System  If there is no error penalty, make sure that no answers are left blank.  If time is short, just fill every remaining answer with the same letter, going straight down. (This also helps you analyze your results, as you will recognize that letter as the one you chose for those questions that you didn't have time to do.)
  19. 19. Keeping Perspective  Test tricks help you leverage partial knowledge, optimize your test-taking time, and avoid typical errors.  The best way to increase your score, however, is through thorough and pin- pointed study, practice tests and review of your mistakes.  Plan a long-term schedule that allows you to take the test more than once, if possible, so that you may have a chance to raise your score.
  20. 20. Test-Taking Strategies–A Game Plan to Win
  21. 21. Before the test Get a good night’s rest Bring a watch to your exam Have your bag packed Set multiple alarms
  22. 22. Test Day! Take a deep breath to relax Eat a healthy breakfast high in protein Figure out how much time you get for each section Read the directions
  23. 23. Test Day, continued  Pace yourself  When in doubt, guess (strategically)  Use any extra time  Don’t change your initial answer unless you have a good reason to do so; research indicates that 3 out of 4 times a first choice is correct.
  24. 24. How to handle that stress!
  25. 25. Dealing with Stress  Positive self-talk  Breathe, deeply from your belly, at least four cleansing breaths  Center yourself  Creative visualization—what is the image you want to hold with you?  Befriend your fight-or-flight response. Your bodily reactions (however misguided) are there to help. Thank them and move on.
  26. 26. Let’s hear from you What should DPT students know and do about taking tests? Which questions/concerns do you still have?
  27. 27. Resources  The Center for Academic Excellence    Test Taking Strategies: Multiple Choice Tests. Muskingum University CAL Learning Strategies Database abase/general/testtaking.html#MChoic e  NPTE Candidate Handbook ments/free- resources/CandidateHandbook2013091 0.pdf