Taking Essay Tests
One of the dreads that many college students have is taking essay tests. These are tests done in the infamous blue books. How do you do well in essay tests?
Here are some ideas you may use:
- Try to anticipate the topics that might be on the essay tests. Some of the tips you might look for include:
- Points of emphasis in the lecture
- Topics that easy to convert into a discussion question. Think of topics that lend themselves to why questions rather that what, when, or where questions.
- Read the question carefully. Try to think about what the teacher would like to see emphasized in the essay.
- Before you begin writing, make a list of the key points you want to cover in the essay. You can do this in the margin of the blue book. Try to recall the points the teacher emphasized during the lecture.
- Organize the key points from step (2) into a logical discussion flow. Put numbers beside each topic to represent the order you want the topic covered.
- Begin the essay with your strongest point. You want to create a good first impression.
- Make each topic into a separate paragraph. When you are unclear on a specific fact, give some qualifying words. Don’t make statements that can be clearly identified as wrong.
- Provide a general summary at the end, but don’t overdo the summary.
There are a few other points for doing well on an essay tests.
- Manage your time well. You don’t want to finish too early. The more you say, the better you will generally be. You also don’t want to run out of time. You can give yourself a rough time schedule when you develop your topic list.
- Be neat. If your handwriting is hard to read, print. Write in pencil. Don’t strike through what you write. Erase and write over. Sloppy work will get point deductions.
- Set aside five minutes to proof read your essay. Pay special attention to punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
Keep one thing in mind when doing an essay test. The easier you make it for the teacher to read the essay, the better your grade is likely to be..