How To Succeed On Exams
(Adapted from Gardner, John N., and A. Jerome Jewler (2004). Your College Experience: Strategies for Success. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA. Page references pertain to this book.)
Multiple Choice Questions: Clues To The Right Answer
- Look for absolute words such as always, never or only. These choices are generally not the right answer
- Look for words such as not, except, and but in the choices. The most inclusive choice is generally the right answer.
- Any choice that does not agree grammatically with the stem of the question is probably not the right answer. For instance, if the stem of the question is “The quick brown fox,” the answer would not be “jump over the fence.” The correct answer would be “jumps over the fence.” (P. 104)
Unlocking the Answers to True/False Questions
Every detail in a question must be true for the answer to be true.
Absolute words in a question such as always, never or only generally signal that the answer is false, while less definite words -- such as often and frequently -- indicate that the
answer is probably true. (P. 104)
Matching questions are the hardest to decode.
Composed of two columns, your task is to match the terms or phrases in one column with their respective descriptions in the other column. While guessing the right answers in matching questions is hard, you can use the process of elimination to get through them.
- Match the easiest terms or phrases and descriptions first.
- As you match a term or phrase with a description, cross out both the term and the phrase.
- Once you’re down to just a few matches remaining, make “educated” guesses on the answers. (P. 105)
Clues to Look for in Sentence Completion Questions
The number and length of the blanks
- If just one space is provided, then the answer is a single word.
- Multiple blanks call for multiple words: A long blank implies a long word, while a short blank calls for a short word.
The grammatical structure of the sentence to be completed is a clue
- For example, a blank that is preceded by the indefinite article, an, must be followed by a word that begins with a vowel.
- Suggestion: If you don’t know the exact word or phrase, provide a descriptive answer to the question. The instructor may give you full or partial credit because you will have demonstrated that you understand the material although you cannot give an exact answer.