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Overview of How to Take Many Kinds of Tests (and Deal With Test Anxiety)

Copyright Carter McNamara, Authenticity Consulting, LLC

Sections of This Topic Include

How to Overcome Test Anxiety
How to Prepare for a Test
Test-Taking Strategies in General
How to Pass Multiple-Choice Tests
How to Past True-False Test
How to Pass Matching Tests
How to Write Essays (Long Answers)
How to Pass Short-Answer Tests

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Creative Thinking
Critical Thinking
How to Study
Learning Style Inventory
Motivating Yourself
Reading Skills
Systems Thinking
Strategic Thinking
Writing Skills

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How to Overcome Test Anxiety

Most of us have experienced some form of strong discomfort before taking a test in which another person will be evaluating us. The most common examples are test in school. Perhaps even more stressful are tests to qualify for entrance into very selective schools. After graduation, you might undertake a test to qualify for a job.

This discomfort is often in the form of what is commonly called test anxiety. It can come in many forms, ranging from worrying to trouble in concentrating and from fearing to utter dread. Extreme forms can even include panic attacks and fainting.

The American Test Anxiety Association writes that "The majority of students report being more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives. About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in our schools today. Another 18% are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety."

However, forms of test anxiety are so common that many schools provide numerous resources to help students overcome it. Resources range from those for school-age children to those in college. Here are numerous resources to consider.
What Is Test Anxiety? (Symptoms, Causes and Treatment)
Test Anxiety (Wikipedia)
Test Anxiety: Can it be treated?
Overview of Test Taking and Anxiety
Test Anxiety (for teens)
Managing Test Anxiety
10 Ways to Beat Test Anxiety
How Can You Reduce Test Anxiety?
10 Ways to Overcome Test Anxiety
25 Practical Ways to Reduce Test Anxiety
Overcoming Test Anxiety

How to Prepare for a Test

Suggestions for preparing for tests range from attending classes, reading all assignments and taking notes to creating your own study guides, developing glossaries of key terms and taking mock tests. The way that you prepare for a test depends on your personality, your time available for preparation, the complexity of the test, and especially on the importance of the test that you will be taking.
Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips
How to Study for Exams
20 Study Strategies for Finals Week
10 Steps To Ace Your Next Test
I Know the Material, But When I Take the Test I Go Blank!
How Should I Prepare for Tests and Final Exams?
Test Preparation Tips
Preparing for Tests and Exams

Test-Taking Strategies in General

Before we cover forms of help for taking different tests, it will be useful to review some resources with general advice that might pertain to all forms of tests.
Test Taking Tips
Test Taking Strategies
10 Steps To Ace Your Next Test
Use Test-Taking Strategies on Exam Day
Strengthening Test Taking Skills
How To Ace A Test Without Studying
How to Get Good Grades in Tests with Little Studying
Lesson 6.1: Pre- Mid- and Post-Test-Taking Strategies
Tests: Before, During, & After
What to Do After a Test

How to Pass Multiple-Choice Tests

Each question in a multiple-choice test includes numerous optional answers from which the test-taker is to choose one or more of the correct answers. The tests are intended primarily to assess how well the test-taker remembers information about the topic of the test.
How to Pass Multiple-Choice Tests
How to Beat Multiple-Choice Tests
How to Pass Multiple-Choice Tests
Exam Preparation: Multiple Choice Exam Strategies
9 Multiple Choice Test Tips
Multiple-Choice Test Taking Tips and Strategies
Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies: How To Ace A Multiple-Choice Test

Some people believe that the designers of multiple-choice tests have biases, or inherent preferences, for selecting which options will be the correct choices. Thus, they believe that test-takers can increase test results, including by guessing which options are the correct ones.
4 Ways to Outsmart Any Multiple-Choice Test
How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions Like a Pro
If I Mark All Answers 'C', What is the Probability of Passing the Exam?

How to Past True-False Test

In a true-false test, a statement is made in which the test-taker is to choose whether the statement is true or false. The statement should be worded such that it is clearly one of the two options and not such that either true or false would be true.
Five Tips for Answering True-False Questions
Tips for Answering True/False Questions on Standardized Tests
True/False Test Tips-Help
How to Succeed When Taking True False Tests
Test–Taking Strategies for True–False Tests
True/False Exams
True/False Test Taking Strategies
True Or False Questions In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

How to Pass Matching Tests

Questions in a matching test include two columns of information. The test-taker is to connect each item in the first column with the item in the second column that most closely matches the nature of the first item. The test is intended primarily to assess the test-taker's ability to recall information about each item and to categorize types of information.
Sample Matching Test
The Top Ten Tips to Taking Matching
Tips for Taking Matching Tests
Matching Test Items: Getting Them Right
Matching Questions
Matching Questions
Tips For True/False & Matching Tests
Multiple Choice & Matching Test

How to Write Essays (Long Answers)

Essay exams are intended to assess the test-takers recall of information, ability to synthesize it and convey the information in a clear and concise manner -- especially a manner preferred by the reader. The exams usually requires the test-taker to write an essay of at least 250 words or more. Short-answer essays are usually around five sentences or less.
Essay Exam Preparation
How to Prepare for an Essay Exam
Exam Preparation: Strategies for Essay Exams
How to Ace (or At Least Pass) Undergraduate Essay Exams
Tips for Writing Essay Exams
How to Pass an Essay
Little Known Ways to Pass Essay Type Exams
14 Steps to Write an Essay the Last Minute and Still Pass

How to Pass Short-Answer Tests

A short-answer test includes usually open-ended questions, that is, questions that do not have a specific yes/no choice or a true/false choice, but rather require the test-taker to write a short answer of usually five sentences or less. The test is intended to assess the test-taker's recall of rather specific information and ability to describe the core concept underlying that information.
Short Answer Definition
Example of a short-answer test question and answer
Writing a GREAT Short Answer Response Using Evidence
A Guide on How to Take Tests That Are Short Answer or Essay
Short Answer Test Preparation Tips
Short Answer Test Tips-Help
How to Study for and Take a Short Answer or Essay Test
Test Taking Strategies for Short Answer and Essay Tests

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