Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Test Taking

With finals approaching rapidly for all of my college faring subscribers, i figured i'd take this moment to do a little bit of a survey. See where everyone stands in terms of your test taking strategies and how you get by when it comes to tests.

I myself have always been a bit of an enigma when it comes to test taking. Everyone around me is always stressing out about the content of the test, whether or not they will remember all of the information, yadda, yadda, yadda. I always found this to be counter productive when i'm taking tests.

Ever since as far back as i could remember i never studied for tests, i mean sure, if i did i might have scored better here and there but overall i've never once studied for a test and it doesn't show. Usually i can fail at homework, fail at taking notes, but for some reason, once i'm told something, i usually retain it within a certain degree of accuracy and i never have to retouch on it in order to recall it to memory. I don't have a eidetic memory but, like i said, i can remember just about anything within a very high degree of accuracy. I'm not always 100% accurate and i can rarely recite exact verbage, but i can paraphrase it to what my mind remembers.

This comes in handy with test taking because all i need to do is sit back and relax. Most importantly, i don't stress, i show up for class, i take the test and thats it. there's no study there's no late night cramming, there's no stress 10 minutes before the test and there's no blanking out half-way through the test. My freshman math teacher in high school used to always get angry at me because it looked like i never paid any attention to him in class but whenever he called on me i would recite the last 2 minutes of his dialogue word for word or pretty damn close to it.

So when it comes to actual test taking, i walk in cool as a cucumber. Take the test and if i don't remember how to pull the answer to a certain question, i just use question logic to deduce what it should or shouldn't be and then carry on my way. for instance, if you don't know there are usually 3 things i look for or try to do:

  1. Process of Elimination - probably the most self explanatory one, if you remember bits and pieces but not the exact answer you can usually use a process of elimination to narrow the choices down to three or two. Once you're there, your chances of being correct have jumped substantially.
  2. The Longest Answer - Read the question, read the longest answer, does it make sense with the question? If so, it could very well be the right answer (this is a last resort more than anything)
  3. The Answer C - People tend to over analyze things when creating a multiple choice test. If your teacher creates it by hand, chances are they're no exception to this rule. I once read a statistic that said something to the extent of the answer C is correct 40%-60% of the time on multiple choice tests. It may have changed and those numbers may not be wholly accurate but it was a shocking majority compared to the other possible answers.
So just relax, if you botch a question here or there it's not a big deal, if you put the time and effort in during the rest of the semester, that will do you more good than aceing the final exam. Besides, if you're failing by the time you get to the final, there's no way you're going to make that A you're stressing about.

My freshman biology teacher in high school used to always tell us, if a vegetable could push a pencil and fill out a scantron, it will always score at least 25% because there's only 4 answers and one would assume the vegetable would answer the same for every question. So to all of you still in school, best of luck to you on your finals and i wish you all the best, but seriously, chill out, it's all gonna turn out fine :P.

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