Despite the fashionable criticism of this method, standardized multiple-choice exams¦are well suited for assessing students recall of factual knowledge and their ability to solve problems. (Hoachlander, 1998, p. 2) Other types of exams are open ended questions, true or false, fill in the blank, or short essays. Erbe (2007) wants her students to learn more than facts, so she never gives multiple-choice exams and usually includes a mix of short answer questions and longer essays in her exams. Asking the teacher about which type of exam he or she will be administering will help a student to better prepare for that exam.
Achievement tests can be administered as a take-home exam or a classroom exam. Many teachers, however, tend to prefer a classroom exam than a take-home exam. They believe that a classroom exam is more valid and reliable than a take-home exam. In addition, a classroom exam is easy to administer and to control. (Ngadiman, 2006, p. 2) Open book exams give students too much security where they more than likely will not study or prepare for the exam.
Erbe (2007) incorporated a cheat sheet for her students to help reduce their anxiety over taking her exams while at the same time helping them increase their knowledge. The rules for her cheat sheet include no more than one 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper, each student must prepare their own cheat sheet, and no photocopies from textbooks. The cheat sheet enabled students to only write down information that they did not know or remember. According to Erbe (2007), The cheat sheet is a security blanket that provides basic information, it enhances learning, improves test performance, and reduces test anxiety. It works for students who take test preparation seriously. (p. 2)
There are several strategies, or ways, to prepare for an exam. While studying alone an individual could use notecards. One could also review with a group of classmates so everyone studies the same material. Another technique for remembering information is to create a way to relate to the material. For example, a person could use acrostics, rhymes, or mnemonics. An acrostic is using the first letter of each line in a poem, or other form of writing, that spells out a word or a message. A commonly used rhyme is i before e except after c. Mnemonics are associations between information that is needed to be recalled and easy to remember concepts, like using Never Eat Shredded Wheat to recall North, East, South, and West. There are no right or wrong ways to study because everybody has a different technique that they prefer to use.
There are several ways to get information for an exam. Most students resort to their classroom textbooks for study material. Sometimes teachers issue study guides specifically for an exam. A popular place to procure information is from the World Wide Web. Students can now-a-days access and learn from huge databases and other sources of information. (Trilling & Fadel, 2009) Although gathering information from an online source is easy to do, it may not be 100 percent accurate; the website might be outdated or the material could be one-sided or biased. Simply asking the teacher for guidance on where to go for study material may be the best option. On the night before an exam it is wise to get some good rest and make sure the alarm clock is set for the appropriate time.
A person should not cram information for they more than likely will not remember it. Do not stress over the exam because it causes anxiety which can lead to forgetting the information. It is wise to have all the required materials ready for the following morning such as pens or pencils, blank paper, a protractor, or a calculator. Be sure to know exactly where the exam will be given; it might be held in an unfamiliar building. Doing the above will help an individual stay focused for the exam. On the morning of the exam be sure to eat a good, nutritious breakfast; hunger pains and sounds are distracting during the exam. A person might look over the material one final time but they should not study in depth or cram information right before the exam.
Be sure to bring the required materials if there are any. It is always smart to arrive early for an exam but absolutely never be late. Some proctors will not allow individuals to take the exam if they arrive late. It is wise to use the restroom before the exam starts because pausing half way through may be distracting. Do not bring a cell phone in the examination room because it eliminates distracting calls during the exam. Some proctors may take all cell phones before the exam starts and then hand them back once everyone has completed so personnel do not use their cell phones to cheat. Above all else, try not to be nervous for the exam. During the exam, be sure to read the entire test first to manage time. When time is a factor do not stay on a question or problem for too long if unable to answer it.
Skipping that question and coming back it later will help manage time. Look at each question fully so there are no questions that are accidentally answered wrong. Work slowly enough to avoid making careless mistakes during the classroom exam. Write legibly. Sloppy handwriting can easily be misunderstood and interpreted as an incorrect answer. (Glenn, 2004, p. 3). Lastly, do not cheat. Consequences for cheating could result in immediate failure for the exam or class, or worse, possible expulsion. Cheating is not worth the risks. After an exam, many students may have a sense of relief. An individual should still remain focused, for there are some responsibilities they still need to take care of.
If time remains after the test is taken, look over the test. Make sure you have answered all of your questions. Look for any careless mistakes. Change answers only if you have misread or misinterpreted the question. The first answer you give is usually the correct one¦As silly as it may sound, make sure your name is on the test. (Glenn, 2004, p. 3). After leaving the facility, remember to look up the answers to the unfamiliar questions from the exam. Be sure to go back through text books and highlight certain information that was on the exam, because that information could show up on a future exam.
Preparing for exams should be not taken lightly because exams are an important aspect of a students overall class grade. ¦any test is likely to influence the behaviour of students and teachers, provided that they know about it in advance, because the students will want to do well and the teachers want their students to do well. (Gipps, 1994, p. 31) Each student should take the time to figure out which study strategy works best for him or her. Good studying habits are the key to academic success. What is the best way to test? There isnt one. (Hoachlander, 1998, p. 3)
Erbe, Brigitte (2007) Reducing test anxiety while increasing learning the cheat sheet http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=26288467&site=ehost-live
Gipps, Caroline V. (1994) Beyond testing: Towards a theory of educational assessment
Glenn, Robert E. (2004) Teach kids test-taking tactics
Hoachlander, Gareth E. (1998) Is there a best way to test? Assessing assessment http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/216108045?accountid=8289
Ngadiman, Agustinus (2006) Students strategies for taking classroom tests http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/236676727?accountid=8289