Scale for Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies*

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to develop a "Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies Scale" (TPTTS) to diagnose exam-preparation and exam-taking strategies to be used by students preparing for the university selection examinations at national level. The participants of the study were from different kinds of public high schools and were preparing for the university entrance exam in a private training center located in Bolu, Turkey. To detect the construct validity of TPTTS, Exploratory Factor Analysis procedure was applied with varimax rotation. First of all, the scale was prepared as two main scales: (1) Test Preparation and (2) Test Taking Strategy having a total of 37 items. The first part of the scale "Test Preparation Strategies" consists of three sub-scales which are cognitive strategies (7 items), social strategies (3 items) and metacognitive strategies (7 items). The second part of the scale "Test Taking Strategy" consists of four subscales which are item analysis strategies (7 items), time management strategies (4 items), choice prediction strategies (3 items) and after test strategies (3 items). The internal consistency coefficients of the subscales change from 0.39 to 0.78 depending on the number of items.

Key Words

Test Taking Strategy, Test Preparation Strategy, Testwiseness, College Entry Exam.

There are many factors that affect the success of the students in exams. These include the school, the teacher, the quality of education, the methods of teaching, the teaching and learning equipment, the other students with whom one studies, personal studying habits, motivation and test-taking anxiety. Even if all the factors affecting the students' success in the exams are positive, it is still necessary to have a special preparation in the methods of responding to exam questions and to use appropriate strategies during the examination to be successful.

Bond and Herman (1994) assert that ability, success, and GPA are factors overlapped due to individual strategies. Therefore; the main focus needs to be on testing strategy rather than testing experience to increase exam performance. [Sternberg (1998), however, points out the metacognitive aspects of testing experience which include selection strategy, timing, difficulty prediction, and tracking. These aspects are considered to be important for testing strategies. The affective characteristics of students are regarded to be constituents of students' metacognitive attributes, which shows that some of the students are more confident on testing than others regardless of test difficulty or test format (Hacker, Bol, Horgan, & Rakow, 2000; Krebs & Roebers, 2010; Sternberg, 1998).

Kitsantas (2002); Hong, Sas, & Sas, (2006) points out that training about testing strategies can help students increase their locus of control, which, in turn, can improve their testing performances. On the other hand, because of the inadequate exam time or lack of motivation, students cannot apply their testing strategies during the exam (Barnett, 2000). Additionally, it was observed that inadequate preparation, lack of testing strategies and high anxiety levels have negative effect on test performance (Chittooran & Miles, 2001; Miyasaka, 2000).

It has been suggested that students who use test preparation and test taking strategies will have an increase in their academic success. For example, Samson (2001) gave a five-week training course on test-taking skills to high school and elementary school students. Students who were trained on test-taking skills for five weeks or more had higher academic success. This result shows that education in test-taking skills has a positive effect on the student's academic success. Smith (2002) studied the relationships between university students' perceptions of their test-taking skills and self-confidence and their test performance. Smith found that there was a relationship between the students' self-confidence and test performance, but there was not a relationship between the students' perceptions of their test-taking skills and their test performance. …