It is hard to imagine that the brightest human beings on this planet are poor test takers. Many of these poor test takers have gone on to be great inventors and world leaders.
Having said that, we should feel more at ease knowing we are not alone in the test-taking world. Some even say that test taking is an art that must be mastered over the course of a lifetime.
I personally feel that test taking requires that one be very confident in not just the materials, but the layout of the test itself. The more you understand what the test is generally asking from you, the better you will probably score.
In this article, we will examine the different types of test and the various styles of questions that could be on any test that you may be administered.
There are many different styles of test that are administered in our schools, government and workplace. There are some test that are standardized and some test that are considered to be non-standardized.
We must first define each of these styles of test. A standardized test is one that is designed in a way that the questions, conditions for testing, scoring procedures and interpretations are always consistent. A perfect example would be the SAT reasoning test or the GED.
Our next type of test is the non-standardized test. This type of test will have multiple versions and many of the participants will receive different questions. The testing conditions will vary, meaning time, place and date. The test also may have variations in how they are graded. A good example of this is the social studies test that your instructor-teacher has administered to you in high school or college.
The standardized or non-standardized test can contain questions that are multiple choice, true or false, matching, fill-in-the-blank and essay questions.
I find that many students dislike fill-in-the-blank questions, especially when there is no word bank given. Essay prompts or "free response" questions can be very difficult for the student, as well. This is extremely true if the student is not well versed in writing and grammar.
Many times the student will answer the essay question with irrelevant data either because they have trouble(s) expressing their main ideas or they just simply do not know the answer to the question.
The most beneficial skill that a student can learn is not only the content that they are being tested on, but the method or technique they are employing to complete the test.
Students will begin a test by spending the majority of their time on the more difficult questions. They also will jump back and forth through the entire test, which eventually leads them to overall confusion.
There must be a methodical approach before a student "dives" into a test.
Having a method to test taking can be a savior for the student, even when the student is weak in the content matter.
As you can see, there are different types and styles of test and every instructor has their own method of constructing test questions.
Having a standard approach to taking test will allow you to work through any instructor's test questions and any type of test.
In the next article, I will begin to discuss the actual techniques that a student can use to develop better test taking skills.
Cordell is the owner of Excell Tutoring Services, 346 Broad St., Montoursville. He may be reached at 506-9998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.