2017-2018 Student Handbook

Test Taking Tips


  • Preview the test before you answer anything.
  • Write your short answers in clear and simple sentences.
  • Do a mind dump and write down anything you think you might forget.
  • Quickly calculate how much time you should allow for each section according to the point value.
  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Answer the easy questions first.
  • Go back to the difficult questions.
  • Look for cues (other questions might provide an answer).
  • Answer all questions (unless you are penalized for wrong answers).
  • Ask the instructor to explain any items that are not clear.
  • Try to answer the questions from the instructor’s point of view.
  • Use the margin to explain why you chose the answer.
  • Circle key words in difficult questions, this keeps you focused on what is important.
  • Express difficult questions in your own words.
  • Do not change answers. Go with your first instinct. It is usually correct.
  • Use all of the time allotted for the test.

Multiple Choice

  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Know whether you must mark the one best correct answer or all correct answers.
  • Know if you are penalized for guessing.
  • Read the stem of the question.
  • Use the options for hints.
  • If you are uncertain of the correct answer, cross out all that are definitely wrong and then come back to this item later.
  • Circle all negative words and 100 percent ("all") words.
  • "All of the above" answers are often correct.


  • Most true/false tests contain more true answers than false answers.
  • Pay close attention to qualifiers, negatives and long strings of statements.
  • Qualifiers are words that restrict or open up general statements: never, none, always or frequently, often, generally.
  • Negatives are confusing. Circle the negative and read what remains, answering whether it is true or false. If it is true, the opposite or negative is usually false.
  • Every part of a true sentence must be true.

Fill in the Blank or Short Answer

  • Prepare for the test; try to categorize your study material.
  • Use grammatical clues as hints.
  • If you can think of several answers, try to determine what the instructor is seeking.
  • Make a guess using common sense, usually better than leaving it blank.
  • Write your short answers in clear and simple sentences.


  • Understand what the question is asking.
  • First sentence of the essay’s answer should repeat the question and show the reader how you will develop your answer.
  • Outline major points; they should stand out.
  • Major points should be supported with facts and examples, and clear transitions from one to the next.
  • Someone who has not taken the course should be able to understand what you have written.
  • Major points should be completely covered to adequately answer the question.
  • Be sure to stick to the question.
  • A conclusion with a summary statement should be included.
  • Proofread for grammar, spelling and other errors that could impede the reader’s understanding.
  • Write neatly; you want the reader to be able to decipher your handwriting.