There are many types of majors available to college students, requiring different styles of learning and studying. Throughout these dividing factors there will always be a factor that links us all together; examinations. Reading textbooks, reviewing flashcards and studying notes are all in preparation for these tests. Exams are typically classified in one of four categories: true or false, multi-choice, short answer/define and essay/presentation. Many exam formats use a mix of the four, a single category or use them all! Let’s ‘examine’ all four types and pinpoint their pros and cons.
True or False
Answering the classic true or false questions can make a student feel like a gambler; especially if answering it correctly is really up to chance. You’re not only betting on a 50 percent chance of guessing it right, but your risking the actual point value of the question if you luck out! Another stake true or false questions present can be its very format by wording a true statement as false and a false statement as true. These wager-heavy questions truly test your knowledge, so studying the entire context of the subject is the key to hitting the jackpot.
Multi-choice questions are a common test format, giving visual answer options with the presented questions. The key to mastering multi-choice exams is simple mathematics. Though I have seen up to seven multi-choice options for a question in my college experiences, let’s focus on four. You have four options; subtract two by process of elimination. Divide the remaining answers into separate options before adding that recollection of knowledge from studying. Do this times the number of remaining answers and you’re all set, no calculator required! And remember, “all of the above” is not always the quick, right answer, trust me.
Short Answer / Define
Short answer and define sections let students give creative answers, giving many professors and instructors the opportunity to gauge in-depth understanding of the course work. For short answer sections keep it short and to the point. The best way to prepare for these sections is to memorize key points and build off them to create a coherent answer. This same rule applies to defining a word, phrase or event. If this is done in the classroom on paper, incorrectly spelled words will not be underlined in red for you so practice spelling, especially for those highly-technical terms.
Essay / Presentation
Essays written on your own time are typically graded more rigorously because professors and instructors expect that you used that time out of class to write a high-quality paper. Make sure to do research on recommended sites, because the sight of a non-cited essay that required it is not good at all. And easy enough, presentations that involving speaking to the class can be aced if practiced with family and friends for feedback. Here’s a reversing trick for mastering the two: For essays, reading them out loud helps find errors while reading a speech to yourself helps to memorize it; that way you can focus more on your audience and less on reading from a paper.
Every semester I have a mix of these exam options, and find that they all work well if studied right. With all that said, what’s your favorite type of exam and why?
Mario Adkins is a senior at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). When not drawing or playing his favorite video games, he can be found on campus facilitating programs and events as both a resident assistant and vice president of membership for GVSU’s OΔK Circle–a national leadership honor society. Follow him on Twitter @zerolocked.