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Classroom testing

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[wc_testimonial by=”” url=”” position=”left”]Timeline of Test-Taking[/wc_testimonial]

calendar with a red date

Before the test

1. Work backward from the test date to determine how many days to dedicate to studying

2. Look out for any test prep sessions from TA’s or the ALPHA Center, or visit the professor in office hours for extra tips on what to study

3. Get a good night’s rest, avoid all-nighters

4. Go over examples from homework and previous quizzes, test styles generally stay the same

5. Eat a good meal, and possibly exercise before taking the exam


During the test

1. Look over the entire exam to see the different components before you begin

2. Focus on the problems that you know first, and mark the ones to come back to

3. Notice if there are problems that will make up the majority of the points, and work on those first

4. When you are done, go back over your test to make sure you answered each question, and stick with your first answer if you are second-guessing yourself

5. Proofread any essay or short answer questions


After the test

1. Double check that everything was graded properly

2. Know what you did wrong and take good notes, you will likely see similar questions on the final

3. Talk directly to your professor if you have specific questions, most are willing to discuss how you did

discussion with a professor


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[wc_testimonial by=”” url=”” position=”left”]Test Styles[/wc_testimonial]

Multiple Choice

  • Before  reading any of the options, try to answer the question in your head first
  • Typically the answers to choose from are one of each category below:Make sure you read each option before choosing, and test your answer so it fits the question perfectly
    • Right answer
    • Very close to the right answer
    • An obviously incorrect answer
    • Includes some similar terms, but wrong application
  • Your first thought is usually right, go with your gut!

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.


You can’t spell essay without E, A, S, Y, right?

    1. Determine exactly what the question is asking you.  Look for terms like “explain, compare, summarize, analyze.”
    2. Have an outline in your head that consists of an introduction, several main points, and a conclusion.  Include a few key details to show mastery of the concept.
    3. Write clearly.
    4. Proofread your work and correct any mistakes!

Student taking essay exam on paper

Short Answer

This is where knowing your notes will be the best resource.  Use memory techniques to recall the physical location on your notebook page and the words that pertain to the question.  Many times questions will be repeated from previous quizzes.  Make sure to include details and facts, don’t be too vague.


The timer to finish can be both your enemy and ally.  Make sure you know which it is for you.  Some might do better not knowing how much time is left by covering it up, or you can use it to budget the remaining time and speed up if needed.

Make sure you are in a space where you won’t get distracted and lose valuable time.  Have any allowed resources ready to go.

 Many students on laptop computers in a lecture hallCountdown from 10 to 0