Setting Time Priorities on a Timed Test
Standardized tests can be a student’s worst nightmare–especially those that are timed. If you’re not careful, the clock can become an enemy working against you as you try to get the highest score possible. Constant clock watching can be a distraction to you and may have a negative impact on performance. Mastering proper techniques for time-managing the standardized test is essential for students to perform at a satisfactory level—in some ways equally important to mastery of the substantive knowledge covered within the test itself.
A review of the following strategies for standardized test-taking will help you set priorities as to what to spend the most time on–thus efficiently managing the allotted completion time:
- ·Review the directions of each section first, making no assumptions about what is expected of you. Review sample questions and their instructions as well.
- ·Budget your time. Divide the number of questions on the test in half. Use the half-way point determined to check your progress.
Multiple Choice Strategies:
- ·When taking multiple choice tests be sure to read all the possible answers. This very often will facilitate your understanding of the question before selecting an answer.
- ·Review the entire section. Any questions that you immediately know the answer to should be answered first.
- ·When you become stuck on a particular question, eliminate all the possible answers that may be out of context for that question. There may be possible answers that you know are definitely not correct. By eliminating the answers you know to be incorrect, you increase the chances of choosing the right answer.
- ·For other questions which you may not be able to answer on the initial reading, mark the question with a star and return to it only after all other questions are completed.
- ·Read all the questions related to the excerpt before actually reading it. Try to identify and focus on the relevant points covered within the passage.
- ·Students should underline key phrases, ideas, and important details.
Timed Essay Questions
- ·Learn to effectively outline your thoughts even on timed essay questions.
- ·The writing process takes place the same way on timed tests as it does on term papers, just more quickly.
- ·Make sure that your topic sentence reiterates (restates) the question.
Timed Math Questions
- ·Clearly show your work. You may receive partial credit if the work shown is evaluated even if the answer derived is incorrect.
- ·Check for careless errors—decimal places, calculations, transcribing errors, and other common mistakes.
Reviewing Your Answers
- ·Go back and carefully review all of your answers if there is any time remaining.
- ·Before you finish your test check the answer key to make sure all of your answers are properly correlated with the questions.