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1 Chapter 5 How to Solve Test Problems Test Taking Strategy

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2 Answering Questions If you are instructed to mark all correct answers rather than the single best answer, the elimination of false answers in each answer set should be your strategy Whereas normally we search for the correct answer, here we would search for the false statements

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3 Answering Questions Question: What city(s) is/are in California? a. San Diego b. New York c. Fresno d. Denver e. Barstow

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4 Answering Questions The correct answers are a, c, and e Did you eliminate b & d before choosing a, c, & e In answering this kind of question, you should first eliminate the false answers if you go through a few questions and find only one right answer to each question, suspect the directions were misleading change your strategy. Instead of first eliminating false statements, start searching for the true statements(s)

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5 Answering Questions Word problems are those which require reading text during the exam process. You then demonstrate proficiency or understanding by choosing correct answers. The test may be multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false, or short essay.

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6 Answering Questions The format for most text problems is fairly standard. A long block of often difficult text is presented and then several questions are asked.

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7 Answering Questions Usually the test is divided into sections When the test begins, examine the entire test One of the best strategies in test taking is to start with the easy problems first. by answering this way you achieve a minimum grade in the fastest time know how much time remains for the harder problems get a feel for how the test was constructed warm up

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8 Answering Questions Find the section of the test that you are most familiar with and answer the questions Then go to your next best section and answer the questions Continue working your way through the test saving the hardest part for last By following this procedure, you will save time for the hardest part because of how fast and easy the first sections were

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9 Answering Questions Remember, you must complete at least 90% of the test correctly to receive an A. Pace your test answering to ensure that you finish the exam.

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10 Answering Questions Before you read the text part of the test skim over the questions. Hold the questions in your mind as you read the text Read the entire text Even if you spot answers, do not return to the question until you have read the entire text Sometimes information will follow which changes your understanding of the text

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11 Answering Questions If you are allowed to mark the test material, then bullet or underline answers as you find them.

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12 Answering Questions Be careful when answering questions on text that deals with subjects you are very good in. It might actually be a handicap as you will anticipate answers on the basis of your prior knowledge rather than the information presented. This can happen. Sometimes the text will state something you know to be false. Then questions will be asked concerning that same incorrect information. If the text is clear, then the answer must correspond to the text.

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13 Answering Questions For example: America’s favorite pastime is baseball. One of the rules is two strikes and the batter is out; another rule is five balls and the batter advances to first base. Question: How many strikes in baseball to get a batter out? a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4 According to the paragraph, the correct answer is b. In an actual test, you should choose b. Select your answer based upon the actual text.

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14 Answering Questions If the test is fifty minutes long and has 50 questions, simple math would say spend one minute on each question Unfortunately, standardized tests are usually not that simple

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15 Answering Questions Factors include: the difficulty of the text the difficulty of the subject matter the length of the text the number of questions on each block of text the amount each counts towards the final grade Consider all these factors when taking the test

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16 Answering Questions Start with what you consider the easiest section make sure you complete the section fast enough to allow time for the harder sections if you spend too much time answering the easy questions, you might fail the test just because you did not answer enough questions

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17 Answering Questions Stay with the same text material until you have either run out of time or have answered all the questions to the best of your ability Do not jump around from section to section There will be some questions you cannot answer for these questions, skim over the answers (where they are offered) go back to the text and scan for keywords or phrases eliminate answers that are wrong. If you cannot eliminate all but one answer, you must decide whether or not you should guess

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18 Answering Questions The decision to guess should be based on whether you will be penalized for wrong answers If you are penalized for wrong answers, use the following rule if you can eliminate three of the five possible answers choose the best remaining answer if the remaining two answers seem evenly possible, then go ahead and guess one of the two. You have improved your odds from one in five to one in two with odds you should guess

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19 Answering Questions If there is no penalty for guessing, eliminate whatever incorrect answers you can and then guess the same letter throughout the test. A B C D E

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20 Answering Questions The reason for choosing the same letter on all pure guesses is that large standardized tests have their answers generated randomly. By picking one letter, you ensure that 20% (on a test with a – e) correct guess rate. If you changed your letter randomly, it is possible you could guess yourself out of the random answer.

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21 Answering Questions This method should definitely be used when answering test questions on material you haven’t even looked at Try to complete each section within your self determined time limit. If you cannot, guess on a basis of the above and proceed to the next section. Remember to mark your guesses (perhaps with a “?” or a “”) in case you have extra time at the end of the test to reexamine them

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22 Answering Questions Many text problems involve solving an algebraic equation. For example, if the text lists a series of items and their prices and asks you for the total, you would have to add up all the different prices.

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23 Answering Questions Some text problems might go a step further and require you to find an unknown For example, you are given four tests scores and need to compute a fifth which would give a stated average For example, ( x)/5 = 78. These kinds of questions are called first degree questions with a single variable Because this level of math is so prevalent in daily life, it is included in this manual

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24 Answering Questions The following steps represent a means of solving virtually every single variable first degree word problem.

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25 Answering Questions 1. Let x represent the unknown solution 2. Write expressions in terms of x to represent other unknown quantities 3. Translate the sentence(s) into an equation 4. Solve the equation 5. Check the solution by substituting it into the original problem

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26 Answering Questions Twice the sum of a number and 5 is 40. What is the number First, assign x to be the number Second, write expression 2 (x + 5). Third, translate to the equation 2 (x + 5) = 40 Fourth, solve the equation

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27 Answering Questions To solve any algebraic equation, use the following 4 steps Step 1. Clear any fractions by multiplying by LCM (Lowest Common Multiple) Step 2. Clear parenthesis Step 3. Do +,- until the variable and its coefficient are isolated on one side of the equation Step 4. Divide by the coefficient Following these steps (since there are no fractions), first clear parenthesis to get 2x + 10 = 40 Then subtract 10 from both sides to get 2x = 30 Then divide by the coefficient 2 to get the answer x = 15

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