Please update your web browser or disable Compatibility View.

Test Taking Skills

Effective Study Techniques for Essay Tests

1. PREDICT QUESTIONS FROM YOUR NOTES.

  • SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
    • If your notes list a group of people or things, the kind of essay question to predict is a short answer question.
    • Short answer questions usually include one of the following words: list, name,define, or identify.
  • TRACE QUESTIONS
    • If your notes show the steps in a process of the listing and development of something, you should predict a trace question.
    • Some key words or phrases usually found in trace questions are: "Describe the stepsin..."; "Outline the history or..."; "Trace the events leading up to..."; "Trace and development of...."
  • COMPARE AND CONTRAST QUESTIONS
    • If your notes describe two or more things that have some features which are similar and others which are different, predict a compare and contrast question.
    • Words or phrases found in these questions might be: "Compare and contrast..."; "Show the similarities and differences..."; "Tell how two things are alike and different...";"Weigh the advantages and disadvantages..."
  • DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    • If your notes describe the effects of one thing on another, or the significance of a particular event, or the role of a specific individual or institution, predict a discussion question.
    • These questions often begin: "Discuss the significance of..."; "Discuss the role of..."; "Discuss the effect of..."; "Discuss the relationship between...."

2. PRACTICE WRITING ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS YOU PREDICT.

3. PLAN YOUR APPROACH TO ANSWERING THE ACTUAL TEST QUESTIONS.

  • Note points assigned to each question and allot your time accordingly.
  • If you have a problem with a question, go on to the next one and come back to the first one later, if possible.
  • Make brief, concise notes for each essay question.