Ace Tests with Confidence: Personal Development Tips

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    How to Overcome Test Anxiety

    Most of us have experienced some form of strong discomfort before taking a test in which another person will be evaluating us. The most common examples are tests in school. Perhaps even more stressful are tests to qualify for entrance into very selective schools. After graduation, you might undertake a test to qualify for a job.

    This discomfort is often in the form of what is commonly called test anxiety. It can come in many forms, ranging from worrying to trouble concentrating and from fear to utter dread. Extreme forms can even include panic attacks and fainting.

    The American Test Anxiety Association writes “The majority of students report being more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives. About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in our schools today. Another 18% are troubled by moderately high test anxiety.”

    However, forms of test anxiety are so common that many schools provide numerous resources to help students overcome it. Resources range from those for school-age children to those in college. Here are numerous resources to consider.

    How to Prepare for a Test

    Suggestions for preparing for tests range from attending classes, reading all assignments, and taking notes to create your own study guides, developing glossaries of key terms, and taking mock tests. The way that you prepare for a test depends on your personality, the time available for preparation, the complexity of the test, and especially the importance of the test that you will be taking.

    Test-Taking Strategies in General

    Before we cover forms of help for taking different tests, it will be useful to review some resources with general advice that might pertain to all forms of tests.

    How to Pass Multiple-Choice Tests

    Each question in a multiple-choice test includes numerous optional answers from which the test-taker is to choose one or more of the correct answers. The tests are intended primarily to assess how well the test-taker remembers information about the topic of the test.

    Some people believe that the designers of multiple-choice tests have biases, or inherent preferences, for selecting which options will be the correct choices. Thus, they believe that test-takers can increase test results, including by guessing which options are the correct ones.

    How to pass the True-False Test

    In a true-false test, a statement is made in which the test-taker is to choose whether the statement is true or false. The statement should be worded such that it is clearly one of the two options and not such that either true or false would be true.

    How to Pass Matching Tests

    Questions in a matching test include two columns of information. The test-taker is to connect each item in the first column with the item in the second column that most closely matches the nature of the first item. The test is intended primarily to assess the test-taker’s ability to recall information about each item and to categorize types of information.

    How to Write Essays (Long Answers)

    Essay exams are intended to assess the test-taker’s recall of information, ability to synthesize it, and convey the information in a clear and concise manner — especially a manner preferred by the reader. The exams usually require the test-taker to write an essay of at least 250 words or more. Short-answer essays are usually around five sentences or less.

    How to Pass Short-Answer Tests

    A short-answer test includes usually open-ended questions, that is, questions that do not have a specific yes/no choice or a true/false choice, but rather require the test-taker to write a short answer of usually five sentences or less. The test is intended to assess the test-taker’s recall of rather specific information and ability to describe the core concept underlying that information.

    For the Category of Personal Development:

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