Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Self-Management Approach

By Myron H. Dembo | Go to book overview

11
Taking Exams

Now that you have learned how to prepare for exams, you are ready to improve your test-taking strategies. Although you will learn a number of strategies to help you succeed on exams, it is important to remember that these strategies are most effective when you prepare properly for an exam. Simply stated: Test-taking strategies cannot substitute for ineffective exam preparation!

I will focus on two different types of test questions -- objective and essay. Objective tests include true-false, completion, matching, and multiple-choice questions. These questions require students to select correct answers from given choices, or to supply an answer limited to a word or phrase. On the other hand, essay questions require students to construct their own response to questions. Most instructors use combinations of these two major categories of questions.

How many times have you heard the following statements: "I really know the material, but I am a poor test taker," "The test was tricky," "I really knew that question, but I misread it," or "I knew the answer but I did not organize my response adequately." Although many instructors often will empathize with your predicaments, they grade exams on what was checked, circled, underlined, or written. It is your performance that is evaluated, not your intentions, beliefs, or test-taking strategies.

Think about the tests you have taken during your school experience. What type of tests gives you some difficulty? Make a list of some of the characteristics of tests that have irritated you at some time during your academic career. What strategies could you use to improve your performance?

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