Test taking is a skill apart from learning course material, a
skill every student must acquire in order to survive. Test-Taking Strategies is the
book for anyone who has ever dreaded an exam. Strategies for taking every
kind of test are dealt with—objective tests (multiple choice, true/false,
matching), essay tests, and oral exams. The authors also offer help for
handling anxiety, explaining relaxation and desensitization techniques
that help students control nervousness and keep it from detracting from
performance. There are tips for managing time during the test, knowing
when to guess, and for pulling answers out of your memory even when the
question drew a blank at first glance.
Essay tests and oral exams are
particularly gruesome for most students, and until now there has been very
little advice for handling such tests. Test-Taking Strategies includes
plenty of advice for developing ideas while under pressure.
the reviewers said:
"Because test results have important consequences, a book like this
one could be a life changer....Unabashed shortcutting techniques and
'outsmarting' strategies are given - all of them aboveboard. The
authors cover specific techniques for improving performance on
multiple-choice tests, true-false exams, matching question problems,
verbal analogy sequences, and short-answer and fill-in-the-blank tests.
Unabashed shortcutting techniques and "outsmarting" strategies are
given--all of them aboveboard. At the outset, the authors describe
short-term and long-term cramming techniques and ways to overcome
anxiety, both before exams and once test time has arrived. The
advice is very practical and...applicable to test takes from junior high
through senior citizen level.... The
authors' specific strategies for taking various kinds of tests should
help...students approach tests with more confidence."
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An excerpt from Test-Taking Strategies
Verbal Analogy Strategies
are those sophisticated word problems (cat : dog = seed :
) found in SATs and other standardized tests. Typically, you are
given two words that are somehow related and then told to pick out two
other words that are related in the same way. These tests rarely
contribute to your grades in courses, but they do determine the courses or
schools to which you are admitted.
STRATEGY 1: PRACTICE
best way to become good at doing verbal analogies is to practice. Find
copies of similar tests from earlier years that you can work on (if the
answers are available). Or work with a book like the one listed in
It's tough to cram for verbal analogy tests. The best
results come from practicing for an hour a day for several weeks before
the exam. In fact, several months is none too long.
2: GIVE THE EXACT ANSWER CALLED FOR
It doesn't matter what
relationships you see between words; what counts is what
relationship the test-maker sees. Often, the tester's relationship is not
as sophisticated as the one you might come up with.
Example: bigotry :
- sweetness : bitterness
- segregation : integration
- equality : government
- fanaticism : intolerance
If your first conclusion is, "Bigots hate," you probably end up
trying to choose between (c) and (d) since people often equate
government with equality and fanatics with intolerance. The trouble with
such reasoning is that it's highly subjective; many people don't believe
that bigots hate, that governments foster equality, or that fanatics are
In the above example, you might instead notice that both
bigotry and hatred are forms of social excess or extreme, and thus
narrow down your choices to (b) and (d) since both are considered social
extremes by many people. However, in (b) the related words are
opposites; in the stem, the words are not opposites. If you
choose (d) as the correct answer, you're right.
STRATEGY 3: TURN
THE ANALOGIES INTO SENTENCES
Read the analogy problems as
sentences even if they aren't actually written that way. In the example
given above, read, "Bigotry relates to hatred in the same way that
sweetness relates to bitterness? segregation relates to integration?
equality relates to government? fanaticism relates to intolerance?"
STRATEGY 4: FIND A WORD FOR THE POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP
work faster and more accurately if you pick out a word—or, at times, two
or three words—that describes the relationship between the given analogy
words. Here are some of the main relationships.
|Purpose: A is used for B the same way X is used for Y.|
|Cause and effect: A has an effect on B the same way X has
an effect on Y.|
|Part to whole (or individual to group): A is part of B the
same way X is part of Y.|
|Part to part: A and B are both parts of something the way
that X and Y are both parts of something.|
|Action to object: A is done to B the same way X is done to
|Object to action: A does something to B just as X does
something to Y.|
|Word meaning: A means about the same as B. and X means
about the same as Y.|
|Opposite word meaning: A means about the opposite of B, and
X means about the opposite of Y.|
|Sequence: A comes before (or after) B just as X comes
before (or after) Y.|
|Place: A and B are related places just as X and Y are
|Magnitude: A is greater than (or less than) B and X is
greater than (or less than) Y.|
|Grammatical: A and B are parts of speech related to each
other—noun to noun, adjective to noun, etc.—in the same way that parts
of speech X and Y are related to each other.|
|Numerical: A is numerically related to B in the same way X
is related to Y.|
|Characteristic: The attributes of A and B are related in
the same way as those of X and Y. |
STRATEGY 5: ATTACK TOUGH PROBLEMS SYSTEMATICALLY
can't figure out a relationship by looking at the first word and then
the second, turn them around. See how the second relates to the first.
If you still can't come up with a relationship, look for links between
the first word of the given analogy and the first word of each answer.
Then look for relationships between the second word of the given
analogy and the second word of each answer. By that time the correct
answer may become very clear.
STRATEGY 6: MAKE EDUCATED GUESSES
As a last resort, eliminate the unlikely answers. For example, if the
given analogies are both nouns, you can cross out choices that include
a noun and a verb. From the remaining options, let your hunches lead
you to a possible right answer.
Since standardized tests are
generally organized from easy to tough, if you're near the beginning
of an analogy section, think about checking off the least complicated
relationship. But, if you're near the end of a particular section,
maybe you should mark the most complicated relationship.
If all else
fails, if answer (b) hasn't been chosen for a while on your answer
sheet, (b) might be a worthwhile choice.
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