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1 How to Take Tests VI How to Take a Blue Book Exam

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2 Getting Started Read the instructions Determine how the grading will be done Are all the questions weighted the same Often teachers will require some questions to be answered and give more points for certain questions

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3 Getting Started Do all the questions need to be answered or just one or two from each category? Most tests will state these objectives at the top prior, to any questions. If you are not sure – ASK. Even if no one else seems to be having a problem, you are being graded on your work and need to understand what is required.

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4 Test Strategies Read the questions, as you read each one, write margin notes about the answer as ideas occur to you Do not write extensively, just jot down key ideas

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5 Test Strategies If nothing occurs to you (you draw a complete blank), go on to the next question Do not spend more than a couple of minutes studying any one question Continue making margin notes next to each question until you have completed all the questions

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6 Test Strategies Examine the entire test For example, a one-hour test has 12 questions and 100 points possible one question is worth 20 points five questions are worth ten points six questions are worth 5 points Where should you start?

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7 Test Strategies The following 5 slides give four different strategies you can use to proceed

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8 Strategy #1 Decide what your strongest areas are based on your margin notes Wherever your notes appear to be the best is a good place to start

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9 Strategy #2 Start with the five-point answers Remember the time limit as you write Do as many of the five-point questions that you feel good about answering Do not spend time on weak answers

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10 Strategy #2 (cont’d) Go on to the ten-point questions and work the same way Continue with the ten-point questions until only fifteen minutes remain in the exam time Then go to the 20-point question

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11 Strategy #3 Base the length of your answers on their point value If you wrote one page for a five-point question, write two pages for a ten-point question, and four pages for the 20-point question

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12 Strategy #4 Consider whether the instructions limit you to one blue book, two blue books, or leave it up to you Most instructors do not want to read really long answers. They have to read all the exams, not just yours If a length is set, do not exceed it

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13 Test Strategies If the number of pages for the entire exam is restricted, then use the same kind of ratio as above Try to utilize as much of the allowed length as you can without rambling

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14 Test Strategies When you start the 20-point question, take some time and reexamine it in terms of all your other answers. Do you still feel comfortable with your margin notes?

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15 Test Strategies You should have fifteen minutes, so start with an outline of what you intend to write. Use headings. (Remember the outline will part of your blue book and therefore turned in.) Then write sentences for each idea.

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16 Test Strategies If you have time after finishing the biggest question, go back to any questions worth ten points that you left blank and write a short answer. Then go to any five-point questions remaining. If you still have a little time, go back to your short answers and try to add to them.

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17 Test Strategies Now, let’s look at a one-hour exam where all the questions have the same value.

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18 Test Strategies You spend eight minutes reading the instructions and questions. 52 minutes remain to answer the 12 questions which means you have four and one-third minutes to answer each question.

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19 Pace yourself on this basis

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