Academic Support

Test Taking Tips

Short Answer Questions

Include specific detail
Remember key words
Answer question precisely
Write neatly

Matching Questions

Review both lists
Determine if lists are one-to-one
Start with shorter list
Search entire list before selecting match
Cross out items when you’re certain they match
Use process of elimination to guess (after all matches have been made)

True/False Questions

Be careful with multiple negatives
Look for multiple parts of the question that may be false
Watch for negative words
Qualifiers (many, some, usually) usually point to true answers
Absolutes (none, always, all) usually point to false answers
There are typically more true answers
Look for clues in other test questions

Essay Questions

Read question carefully
Brainstorm and jot down ideas
Write an outline to organize your thoughts
Rephrase question as introduction
Stress concepts, key words and phrases
Write complete sentences and paragraphs, with good transitions
End with good conclusion paragraph
Write neatly

Essay Question – Key Words

Define – give meaning
Identify – establish characteristics
Describe –characterize
Explain – give reasons
Discuss – to examine or analyze
Summarize – briefly state major points
Outline – layout main ideas and sub points
Enumerate – numbered list
Illustrate – draw a picture and label, or give long example
Compare – similarities
Contrast – differences
Relate – discuss connections and associations among items
Trace – discuss in logical or chronological sequence
Interpret – analyze data and explain results
Justify – discuss good/bad points, conclude good
Prove – discuss good/bad points, conclude good
Criticize – discuss good/bad points; conclude good or bad

Contact Information

Megan King
Academic Learning Specialist

Amanda Funk
Academic Learning Specialist
Graduate & Adult Education

Jami Gresh
Graduate Assistant

Appointment Hotline:

Academic Success Center
Bernardine Hall - Suite 105

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