A Practical Guide to Testing

Examinations play an important part in the grading. This guide is intended to provide some practical help to you in your preparation and studying for the exams in this course.

In general, questions will take two forms: identifications and essays. Identifications are really short essays.

I. CLASS NOTES: Most of the material which will appear on the exams will come from class sessions. All students are encouraged to take good, thorough notes.

o Copy down the list of terms presented in each lecture and know what each term refers to.

o Complete all your reading before class to maximize what you get out of the lectures or discussions.

o If you do not understand a concept which has been raised in the lectures, you can be sure that others did not understand either.

o When in doubt, write down everything you can---the physical act of writing will help you to remember these things.

II. ESSAY QUESTIONS: Here are some tips for writing good essay answers:

o Use complete sentences at all times.

o A well-written essay answer will always receive a higher grade than a poorly written answer. Be careful about your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Normally a grade will not be adversely affected by mistakes in spelling or grammar, but they can contribute to the reader's misunderstanding of what you were trying to say. Be clear, concise, and to the point!

o Make certain that you thoroughly understand the question and all its parts. Many poor essay answers stem from a student's answering only part of the question. Answer all parts of the questions thoroughly.

o Answer each question fully, constructing your answer to make a point. An essay question never asks just for information. It asks you to do something with the information you have learned in class. Perhaps you are to "compare and contrast" to different things or ideas. You might attack this question by first writing about each issue separately, then comparing the two highlighting the similarities and the differences.

o A well written essay answer is crafted to show that the students know the facts and that they can manipulate those facts to make a point.

o When in doubt, elaborate on all parts of your answer. It is far better to write too much, than to write too little thinking that the professor will understand what you know and grade the answer accordingly.

o Some students find it helpful to write a brief outline before writing out the complete answer. This outline should be included with your answer in the examination booklet, usually at the beginning of the answer. An outline can help you quickly plan who you will answer all parts of the question.

III. IDENTIFICATIONS: Identification questions are really brief essay questions.

o Answer ID's with complete sentences.

o Always answer these questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

o Discuss the significance of the person, place, thing, or idea, or its relevance to the course.

o Be as complete in your answer as possible. When in doubt, elaborate!

Finally, pay attention to the clock, so that you are able to complete the exam in the allotted time.