True/False Statements:
Use extreme care when reading each statement. Consider the meaning of the statement, giving it your full attention. If you have time go back and try a new approach. What was said about this in class? Did the teacher point out something special about this? Check for key words, such as "always" or "never" in the statements: they are usually false.

Multiple Choice or Selected Response Items
Be sure to read the item stem and answer the choices carefully. After careful study of the stem, look at the proposed answer choices. Mark through the choices, which you know are not correct. Choose the one answer choice that you think is best. If you cannot come up with an answer go onto the next item. Sometimes, coming back to an item later, allows you to look at it in a new way. Relax between each question so that you will be fresh for the next one.

Matching Items
Read through the column with the longest answers first. This is the column that contains the clues that work with the matching items in the other column. Take care of the matches that you know first. Cross off the matches as you use them. Match the harder items last. Consider whether the clues are referring to a person, place, date or idea. Choose the best answer from the remaining choices. For example, if the statement on the left refers to a person, check the name that are listed. Which name seems to be correct? Beware! Sometimes teachers will use the same answer more than once just to make the test a little more complicated. Check the directions carefully! Usually the directions will state that some answers may be mused more than once, if this is the case.

Fill-In the Blank/Short Answer Items
Before you start, check out tht section of the test. Does the test have a word bank, which gives you answer choices? Read the test items through quickly. Finish the items that you know first. Come back to items that you don't know. Try to think of the homework that you have done and class discussion. Come up with as much information as much as you can and write it in. Sometimes you are able to get partial credit if your answer is on the right track. Write neatly! If the teacher cannot read your response, it is very likely that your answer will be counted as incorrect.

Open-Book Tests / Open-Note Tests
Some students do not study for open-book for open-note test. which is a mistake. They spend too much time looking up answers and often do not finish the test. When taking an open-book or open-note test, it is important to be familiar with the material. In the days before your test, go through your text - or notes - so that you know where to find the answers. In the case of your textbook, know how to use the headings, the index, the glossary, etc. Read the captions under the pictures, and be familiar with any graphs, charts or diagrams. In the case of an open-note test, make sure you have organized your notes for the material to be tested. If you are missing information, get with the teacher or another student to ensure that you will have the material you will need. This takes planning and should be done as you are walking in the classroom to take the test. Go through the test and answer the questions that you know without looking them up. Flag those questions and come back to them later if you have time at the end of the testing session. Use your text or notes to answer those questions you are unsure of.

Essay Tests
First glance over the questions. Check the number of questions and decide how much time to allow for each. Look at each question. What does it ask you to do? Be sure you understand what the questions is asking. Restate the question as a the topic sentence. Organize your thoughts and outline what you are going to say. After you finish, if time allows, review your essay to see if anything needs to be added. Look for misspelled words and grammatical errors.

Problem-Solving and Performance-Assessment Tests
Study and analyze the problem. ask yourself, "What did the teacher ask in this problem? Which of the principles which we have studied, can be used to solve this problem? Which steps are to be used in the solution?" Thinking in words will help you select the correct process. Use proper notations and solve the problem as completely as possible. Leaving out steps may lead to mistakes. Keep thinking words about what you are doing as you solve the problem. This helps keep your thoughts centered on the task and helps avoid errors. When finished, relax and go back through the reasoning of your answers.

Modified from "The Box Model," Missouri Comprehensive Guidance, 1998, M/JH-475


www.testtakingtips.com - This is a good website with general information for students on how to most effectively prepare for tests and how to best answer different kinds of questions.

www.engageny.org/3-8 - This is a good resource for parents on the Common Core standards, and provides sample test questions with explanations.

www.pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/teststress - This is another good resource for students on different things to do to combat test anxiety.

http://custom-writing.org/blog/test-taking-skills - This is another good resource for students on 35 Must-Know Test Taking Tips & Strategies.

TEST TAKING TIPS: When you get the test look over the entire test to learn the number and type of questions. Is the test timed? If so, budget your time accordingly.

Hints for Answering Objective Questions:

Multiple Choice


Short Answer


  • Read the question

  • Try to think of the answer before you look at the choices

  • Read the choices

  • Cross out the wrong ones

  • Pick the most logical answer that remain

  • Do the ones you know first and cross them off

  • Do the best you can with whatever is left

  • If you don't know the exact answer, write down whatever you do know that's related. You may get partial credit

  • Read the statements very carefully. Remember that all parts of a statement must be true for it to be true.


Constructed Response / Essay

  • Highlight or underline key words

  • Use prewriting strategies, such as mind maps or outlines

  • Rephrase the question as your topic sentence

  • Write facts about the key words in the question

  • Answer all of the question

  • Use complete sentences

Contact: Susan Elliott