To help students overcome the hurdles associated with testing, Sylvan Learning offers the following test-taking tips for multiple-choice, open-ended and essay- format exams.

To help students overcome the hurdles associated with testing, Sylvan Learning offers the following test-taking tips for multiple-choice, open-ended and essay- format exams.

Taking the stress out of test-taking

Sixty-nine per cent of students between the ages of 13 and 17 agree they could benefit from help in studying and taking tests better.

“Students experience different kinds of stress associated with the test-taking process,” says Esther Hong, Centre Director for Sylvan Learning in Langley. “Recognizing that a child’s emotional state will affect the score, parents and teachers should help students prepare for tests without cramming to reduce the anxiety associated with the exam process.”

To help students overcome the hurdles associated with testing, Sylvan Learning offers the following test-taking tips for multiple-choice, open-ended and essay- format exams. Tips include how to prepare for the exam and reduce test-day anxiety.

Multiple Choice Test

• Do a quick review of the entire test, and manage your time.

• Read all directions clearly and carefully.

• Answer ALL questions. It is better to guess than to leave the question blank.

• Can’t figure out the answer? See if you can eliminate at least one wrong answer.

• Review your answers and ensure you didn’t miss any questions.

• For true or false questions, go with your instinct – it’s often right. Look for trigger words like “always” and “never.” There are few things you can say never or always about, so the answer is probably false.

• On reading tests, scan for keywords relating to the question. Be on the lookout for the main idea and answers to who, what, where, when, why and how.

• On language arts tests, quickly eliminate known misspellings. For fill-in sentences, read the entire sentence and look for context clues before trying each possible answer.

• On math tests, use scratch paper and write down the critical information you need to solve the problems, such as number sentences and equations. Check answers by reversing, i.e. adding to check subtraction.

Open-ended Questions

• Do a quick scan of the test. How many questions are there? How many points is each question worth?

• Write your answers clearly.

• Do the easy questions first. Then, come back to the difficult ones.

• Proofread. Did you answer the question? Check for spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors.

• Plan out what you want to say.

• On reading questions, if you are asked to write an answer that draws a conclusion, use details from the passage to support your idea.

• For math questions, jot down what you know about the word problem and maybe draw a picture to help you solve it. Make sure that your answers make sense – if the question asks how many miles, make sure that your answer is in miles, not feet or metres.

Essay Questions

• Review the question. How many parts are there to the question? Make sure you answer every aspect.

• Read the question twice – once to see what’s wanted and then a second time to underline keywords.

• Suppose you have a choice of questions to answer; do you have enough supporting material to answer the ones you want?

• Prepare an outline. Keep your facts straight, and be sure to include supporting details.

• Be concise when expressing your thoughts. Don’t ramble.

• Pace yourself. Leave enough time to answer all questions and time for reviewing and editing. In addition to answering the questions correctly, you will be evaluated on spelling and grammar.

• Provide supporting details for major topic areas – create introductory and concluding statements and restate your theme or thesis statement in your conclusion.

Sylvan Learning offers tips on how to make learning fun. For tips and information, visit www.SylvanLearning.ca. To learn more about Sylvan Learning, contact 604-532-0030.