High School Test Taking Tips: Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies and How to Take an Essay Test

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You may wonder why your high school teacher never seems to teach you anything useful. There he is droning on in the front about symbolism in Romeo & Juliet and all you can think about is standardised tests coming up next week. Well, never fear! I’ve assembled expert high school test taking tips, including multiple choice test taking strategies and how to an take essay test. These strategies, along with knowing the material of course, will put you on your best ground in the testing environment.

Reading Test Tips

Ray Bradbury was prophetic. Political correctness and easily offended special interests groups have made reading test selections some of the most boring literature on the planet. Students have noticed. It is your responsibility as a teacher to prepare them for these hard to read test passages:

  • Before you begin reading the passage, read the questions.
  • Use active reading strategies. If the test allows, write in the margins.
  • Analyze the title. This is a quick way to gain insights to the overall theme of the passage.
  • Look for main ideas.
  • Use context clues to determine word meanings.
  • Determine the theme as you read.

Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies

  1. Read the question twice. This simple act will clarify what the question is asking.
  2. Put the question in your own words.
  3. Read all the answer choices.
  4. Eliminate obvious wrong answers. It’s a basic question of math. Fewer possible answer choices lead to a higher percentage of right answers.
  5. Look for specialized vocabulary.
  6. Pay attention to choices such as all of the above or none of the above.
  7. Identify key words in the question and answer choices.

How to Take an Essay Test and Respond to Short Answer Questions

Short Answer Questions:

  1. Read the question twice.
  2. State your response directly and concisely.
  3. Support your ideas with evidence.
  4. Use correct grammar

Essay Questions:

  1. Know the essay requirements. How long does it have to be?
  2. Identify the purpose of the essay. Are you informing, persuading, or entertaining?
  3. Identify the type of essay. Is it a narrative, compare and contrast, persuasive, descriptive, or cause and effect essay?
  4. Look for direction words in the writing prompts to determine the type of essay the question wants.
  5. List you main ideas before you start writing. Take the time to do an outline or bubble cluster. This will eliminate writer’s block.
  6. Write an attention-getting introduction with a thesis statement as the last sentence.
  7. Develop your ideas in the body by stating your main ideas and developing them with evidence and commentary.
  8. Write a conclusion.
  9. Edit for mechanics and grammar.