How to Take an Exam

How to Take an Exam

Qualitative data from various research findings shows that success in examination depends on content knowledge. Knowing how to take an exam directly impacts the final scores since students can maximize cognitive functions, manage time, and reduce stress and anxiety. Some strategies are also vital when making educated guesses and adapting to different test formats and complexities. Our test analysis experts explain savvy answering techniques and problem-solving approaches steadfast students use to circumvent problems in tests for high scores. We also take exams for learners struggling with conceptual understanding at student-friendly fees.

Predicting the Question Before Reading It

The most significant way on how to take an exam is the ability to extract meaningful information from the question stem. Learners capable of identifying variables, keywords, and hypotheses can easily predict outcomes based on particular questions already developed in the mind. Below are the steps examinees should follow to master this concept:

  • Identify key terms: Each question has the core concept defining how to answer it. The term provides context and the meaning learners rely on for interpretation. Key terms also ensure relevance and precision that shape critical and analytical thinking. Identifying the key terms helps avoid misunderstanding.
  • Pose questions: Before diving into the exam materials (e.g., passages), take a moment to review the title, headings, and introduction. A sense of what the materials are about can help the learners generate the context and compare them with concepts learned in class. Use the understanding of the materials to create a list of questions in the mind.
  • Delve into the practical applications: While reading the question stem, use the knowledge to explore the list of practical applications. Learners should consider all the case studies and brainstorm their effective problem-solving techniques. 

Examining the Test Instructions Thoughtfully

Deliberating on the test instructions is the second most impactful exam answering technique. It enables learners to define the question context, identify applicability, and develop correct outcomes.

  • Review the instructions multiple times: Review the instructions before reviewing any question. Circle or underline the keywords for context.
  • Check the question format: Each question format requires a unique response. For example, essay questions require learners to provide comprehensive explanations. Conversely, multiple-choice questions need examinees to choose the most suitable answer from a list of options. Failing to follow the format results in an instant penalty.
  • Underline Special Instructions: Special instructions are often italicized or bolded. Some exams come with special notes in brackets or after the stem. Special instructions have critical information defining how to approach the questions to avoid overlooking minuscule details.

Skimming the Whole Test and Categorizing Questions Depending on Difficulty Level

Learners should rank questions depending on their complexities to help identify the most straightforward sections and tackle them first for effective time management. Question categorization also enables examinees to gain momentum and focus their energy on tackling difficult content areas. Some questions impact heavily on the final score. Brilliant students prioritize such questions to help them meet target scores and balance time. Here is how to categorize questions.

  • Estimate Time Needed for Each Question: Revise all the questions briefly to estimate the time needed to tackle each. The instructions and question type should guide learners in deciding the duration.
  • Devise the answer plan and idea: Use the keywords on the question stem to plan a brief answering technique. Categorize the answering ideas as easy, moderate, and complex. Learners should begin with answers they are most confident about and designate them under the “easy” category.

Dealing With Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice questions (MCQs) are prevalent on many exams, including ATI TEAS, LSAT, and HESI Exit NCLEX. Most of them provide learners with four almost similar and confusing answer choices. Here is how to answer such questions:

  • Read the question stem: Review the question stem and come up with answer choices without looking at the options provided.
  • Review the provided options and remove illogical answers or “Obviously” incorrect choices. An expert way would be to rank the options depending on their correctness level.
  • Pick the best answer over the correct one should there be two confusing choices. Also, if there are two similar choices (with confusing wordings), they’re both likely wrong.
  • Don’t make intelligent guesses. After eliminating nonsensical answers and two wrong options, make an educated guess informed by the context.

Tackling the Most Difficult Test Questions

Challenging questions should come after a learner has handled all the straightforward content areas. Below are the steps for tackling difficult exam questions for high scores.

  • Read the question stem while paying attention to the keywords. Break down the core concepts and rephrase the question to make it less intimidating.
  • For each question, develop an idea. A structured approach that identifies the problem and its solution can help learners achieve the desired accuracy. For science and math questions, use a step-by-step approach that shows the entire work without skipping a step.
  • For multiple-choice questions, eliminate nonsensical answers and make educated guesses when stuck. Prioritize difficult questions depending on grades or point values.
  • If there’s still time, review the answers provided and double-check hints. This step is necessary for identifying errors and correcting them.

How to Take an Exam: The Bottom Line

How to take an exam is a vital predictor for success, regardless of the test type and format. The best part is that exam-taking strategies are learned through reading and daily practice. Hire our test experts for professional “take my exam” services to help streamline your success path.

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