2441 Kenwood Circle, Mansfield, Ohio 44906 • 419-755-4800 • 888-755-4899


cartoon owl studying

Study Tips

How to Study

Time Scheduling

In the Classroom

Unlock Your Textbook

Underlining Effectively

Ten Steps

Test Taking

Test Taking



  1. Give yourself the advantage of a good start; be certain of the time, place, and materials required for the exam; arrive with enough time to arrange your working conditions and build a calm, alert attitude. (This is especially true for Final Exams)
  2. Avoid getting involved in a last-minute cram session with panicky classmates.
  3. Regulate your speed to the time available, the point value of the question, and your own habits; allow time to look over your paper at the end.
  4. Don’t let lapses of memory produce anxiety or fear; such lapses are normal.
  5. Don’t waste time with emotional reactions to the quiz questions.
  6. Read directions carefully; listen for oral directions or corrections.
  7. Do what you know first; there may be clues within the test to the difficult questions.
  8. Give full attention to each question in turn; don’t worry about one question while trying to answer another.
  9. If an essay question seems ambiguous, vague, or too broad, make your interpretation of the question a part of your answer.
  10. If time remains, proofread.
    1. Look for incorrect responses and reread directions.
    2. See if you answered the question the instructor asked, rather than your own question.
    3. Change answers only if you are sure the first response is wrong.


Often despite our best efforts to prepare for an exam, some questions may seem like they came from the depths of Hell. If you leave the question blank you know for a fact that it is incorrect. So, guess! Remember, you will or should be very familiar with the test material. Therefore, other question and/or other answers may help your choice. You may also use the following to limit the number of answers to guess from.

Guess (using any clues available) at the answers for the following questions, then check your answers to the right.

In reading the rationale behind determining the correct answers below, please remember that these strategies are guidelines and not absolutes. No one can predict 100 percent any one professor’s techniques in testing. Also this technique is not supposed to be taken as a substitute for studying. However, using these techniques to supplement conscious preparation, it is reasonable to expect maximum results for one’s efforts. This test is a series of demonstration items that can show you how to approach items you may think you can’t answer.

A chair is:

  1. An object with four octagonal shaped legs.
  2. An object which has two heights, one 22 inches.
  3. An object which has a base measuring 52 inches and a seat measuring 44 inches.
  4. An object with legs, a seat and a back.
Pick the most general alternative—it is more likely to be correct. Here answer D is the best answer

A comedy is:

  1. A sad play.
  2. A long book.
  3. A work - especially a play in which the characters undergo amusing distress, and the action usually turns out well for the chief characters.
  4. An epic.
The longest alternative is frequently the best answer. Just plain human bias. The next best choice is the shortest answer.

The mature human being has how many teeth?

  1. 15
  2. 32
  3. 54
  4. 7
When values are involved, the middle value is usually correct.

The treaty of Brest Litovsk was ratified by Moscow because:

  1. Tsar Alexander I wanted to prevent Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.
  2. Russia was unable to keep up with the armament manufacture of Austria.
  3. Russia could not keep pace with the military production of Austria.
  4. Nicolai Lenin wanted to get the Soviet Union out of World War I.
When two responses mean the same thing (B & C), probably neither is correct. That brings you to a choice of 2 instead of 4. D is correct.

The planarian has:

  1. An anterior brain.
  2. Three legs.
  3. Red eyes.
  4. A posterior brain.
When two responses are opposite, one of them is probably correct. The choice, then, is between A & D. A is correct.

A biologist who specializes in the study of the relationship of an organism to its environment is known as an:

  1. Ecologist
  2. Structuralist
  3. Taxonomist
  4. Naturalist
Look for the response that agrees dramatically with the stem. In this example, A is correct. This is a rare error, but it does occur.

Important in feeling pain are:

  1. Bone
  2. Ear
  3. Muscle
  4. Nerves


Here is another grammatical cue - the verb is plural, so the response should be too.

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank is used to measure:

  1. Aptitudes
  2. Achievement
  3. Interest
  4. Adjustment
Look for similarities between words in the question and the responses. Here the giveaway is interest. Frequently, the real thing will be more subtle, but look for it.

Charles Dickens’ Hard Times deals with:

  1. The difficult life of a factory worker.
  2. The politics of the French chateau country.
  3. The court of King Edward III.
  4. The limitation of European existentialism.
This one is less direct. Hard Times = difficult life. A is correct.

T or F

It is generally sunny during the summer.


T or F

It is always sunny during the summer.

Watch absolute words. Always, never, only, all, none are some examples. Most of the time these are determiners of incorrect responses. More general words are more likely to be correct. The top question is true. The bottom question is false.




  1. Set up a time schedule. If six questions are to be answered in sixty minutes, allow yourself only seven minutes for each. When the time is up for one questions, stop writing and begin the next one. There will be 15 to 18 minutes remaining when the last question is completed. The incomplete answers can be completed during that time. Six incomplete answers, by the way, will usually receive more credit than three complete ones.
  2. Read through the questions once. Answers will come to mind immediately for some questions. Write down key words, listings, etc., now when they’re fresh in mind. Otherwise these ideas may be blocked (or be unavailable) when the time comes to write the later questions. This will reduce "clutching" or panic, an anxiety, or fear which disrupts thoughts.
  3. Before attempting to answer a question, put it in your own words. Now compare your version with the original. Do they mean the same thing? If they don’t, you have misread the question.
  4. Outline the answers before writing. Whether the teacher realizes it or not, he is greatly influenced by the compactness, completeness, and clarity of an organized answer. To begin writing in the hope that the right answer will somehow turn up is time-consuming and usually futile. To know a little and to present it well, is, by and large, superior to knowing much and presenting it poorly.
  5. Take time to write an introduction and summary. The introduction will consist of the main point to be made: the summary is simply a paraphrasing of the material you’ve presented. A neat bundle with a beginning and ending is very satisfying to the reader.
  6. Take time at the end to reread the paper. When writing in haste we tend to:
    1. Misspell words
    2. Omit words and parts of words
    3. Omit parts of questions
    4. Miswrite dates and figures (1353 written as 1953).
  7. Qualify answers when in doubt. It is better to say "Toward the end of the 19th century" than to say "In 1894" when you can’t remember whether it’s 1864 or 1894. In many cases, the approximate time is all that is wanted; unfortunately 1894, though approximate, may be incorrect and will usually be marked accordingly.
  8. Support generalizations with details and examples.


Remember to answer the question that was asked -- not your own question.

ANALYZE - Means to find the main ideas and show how they are related and why they are important

COMMENT ON - Means to discuss, criticize, or explain its meaning as completely as possible.

COMPARE - Emphasize similarities, but differences may be mentioned.

CONTRAST - Stress differences.

CRITICIZE - Express your judgment as to the correctness or merit of the matters under consideration.

DEFINE - Make a clear statement, including all items which belong within the category you are defining but excluding all items which do not belong.

DESCRIBE - Characterize the item from several points of view. (Sometimes this question may begin with the word, "What.")

DIAGRAM - Means to make a graph, chart, or drawing. Be sure you label it and add a brief explanation if it is needed.

DISCUSS - Outline the item completely, paying special attention to organization. Present pros and cons and illustrative details. Outline the item completely, paying special attention to organization. Present pros and cons and illustrative details.

ENUMERATE - Means to list. Name and list the main ideas one by one. Number items.

EVALUATE - Means to give your opinion or some expert’s opinion of the truth or importance of the concept. Tell the advantages and disadvantages.

ILLUSTRATE - Means to explain or make clear by concrete examples, comparisons, or analogies.

INTERPRET - Means to give the meaning using examples and personal comments.

JUSTIFY - Prove or show the grounds for your conclusions. Try to present your evidence in a convincing form. (Sometimes, this appears as a "Why" or a "Prove" question.)

LIST - Name the items briefly, one after the other. Name the items briefly, one after the other.

OUTLINE - Summarize in the form of a series of headings and subheading.





North Central State College Seal

©2016 North Central State College
2441 Kenwood Circle
Mansfield, OH 44906

Phone Icon419-755-4800
Phone Icon888-755-4899

Pagemasters Login