Making up fair and reasonable tests is an art that takes time to develop. Some faculty never develop the ability to judge the appropriate length of a test. In some cases, faculty give long tests on purpose just to sort out the really brilliant students from the others.
Here are some strategies you can use if the test is impossibly long:
- Realize that you are no worse off than other students. Don’t let the length of the test create a panic.
- Answer every question you know first. You want to maximize all the points you can get in the shortest amount of time.
- Try to respond to every question in some manner
- For problem questions, show the setup of the problem, but don’t carry through with the calculations until you have some answer for every question on the test.
- For true/false and multiple choice questions, fill in an answer for every question even if you don’t have time to read the question. Generally choices b or c are best on multiple choice tests and false is best on true/false tests.
- For essay questions, answer every question with at least some facts that are relevant.
- Don’t leave until the last possible moment. There’s generally a period of about five minutes from the time the teacher says the test is over until the last paper is turned in.
In most cases, teachers who give impossibly long tests also give a lot of partial credit. What you want to do is to maximize the partial credit you receive. These classes also have a generous curve. While your actual score may not be good, you may be ok with the curve if you maximized the partial credit you received..