Taking Objective Tests

Objective tests include fill ins, true-false, matching, multiple choice and problem solving. If you have been taking notes in which the main ideas, key concepts and questions are separated from the details, as in the Cornell notetaking method, and you have studied for the test by making summary sheets and mnemonic devices, taking the test will probably be a much easier task than coming into it cold.

Time Planning
1.Survey the test and take note of the different parts and what they are worth.

2.Estimate how much time you should spend on each part.

3.Leave at least five minutes at the end to look over your test.

4.Watch the clock as you work through the sections, and move along to meet your schedule.

5.If you get stuck, move on to easier ones, and mark lightly in pencil any that you need to return to later.

6.Return later to the difficult ones. If you are not marked off for incorrect answers, make your best effort to answer rather than leave any blank. Vocabulary in other questions and answers may spark a new response for those that are difficult that you have left to complete last.

1.Be sure to read slowly and carefully all the directions.
2.Are there any extra directions added to the standard directions? (Example: Mark all the answers true or false. Correct any false answers so they become true statements.)


Notice Clue Words
1.Certain words provide clues to help you estimate an answer. If a question uses absolute words, like "always", "never", "in every case", it is likely that the answer will not be true unless the absolute conditions are met.

2.Words like "sometimes", "often", "usually", "most", "some" give you clues that these statements may be true because they allow for a greater possible range of conditions.

3.Read the question carefully when the word "not" is used. Be sure you are interpreting the question correctly. Surveying when reading can cause misinterpretations that result in error.

Analyze Language
1.If the language of the question and options is confusing, search for the verb and then the subject of the sentence. Ask, who/what is doing what to/with whom? To find the verb, change the tense of the sentence. The word that changes will be the verb. (Example: "Thanksgiving is not celebrated in all cultures." Change to "Last year, Thanksgiving was not celebrated in all cultures." Note that "is" changed to "was"; this is the verb.)

2.Sometimes the answers can seem right because all the vocabulary words look familiar, but you have to analyze the phrases to pick out the relationships to see which choice is best.
For example, some of the options may confuse cause and effect, depict parts of a sequence out of order, or confuse subcategories with larger concepts within which they should be classified.

You have to be able to pick out the correct logic of your subject as presented in class and text by eliminating the options with confused thinking and relationships. "

You also need to analyze the phrases to carefully pick the option that offers the best, most precise answer. Example: "Liz chose to leave the poor conditions of the inner city to get an education so she could return to help her neighborhood." The question stem asks you, "Why did Liz leave the city?" Option 1: "The poor conditions drove Liz out of the inner city."
Option 2: "Liz left the city due to her motivation to be of help." Option 2 is better because it focuses on her inner motivation, a more subtle and precise cause than the blanket phrase, "the poor conditions".

3.Try to visualize any language that seems unclear. Draw a picture on fresh scratch paper to depict relationships.

Multiple Choice
For multiple choice exams, read the sentence stem first, and look away for a second or two while you formulate your own answer.
Then read the options given and choose the one that most closely approximates (is most similar to) your answer.