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Examinations

Question Types And Examination Formats

  In your college career you will doubtless encounter several styles of examinations, ranging from all multiple choice to short answer and long essays. Regardless of the exam format, however, to be successful you must be well prepared and think carefully. Since multiple choice exams, such as those often given in introductory science classes, seem to pose a particular problem for students, let's concentrate on how best to approach this type of examination.

Because of the large size of most introductory science classes, exam questions tend to be predominantly multiple choice in format, although short answers and essays are also used in some cases. Despite what you may have heard about multiple choice questions being “picky” or “too specific,” professors try very hard to avoid this problem. In fact, many of the multiple choice questions on exams can be thought provoking and thorough in their scope.

  For this reason, you must learn to read and think very carefully while taking multiple choice tests. There are a number of strategies for training yourself to be a careful thinker on exams, and you should feel free to use whatever method works best for you. One proven method is to employ this simple three-step technique:


  1. Read the question completely and carefully.
  2. Think about your answer before looking at the possible choices.
  3. Evaluate each choice critically before selecting the best answer.

 


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