One of the secrets to doing well in class is to be able to anticipate the questions to be asked on a test. In most classes, the teacher will give you some guidance as to what to expect on a test. But you need to be able to use the guidelines to develop a list of possible test questions. Here are some general guidelines for anticipating test questions:
- Focus on what was covered in class – Most questions will come from what was presented in class.
- Identify key concepts – This is especially true in math/science classes. You may not have a problem directly like the homework, but if you know the key concepts, you should be able to apply these to any problem.
- Review the homework – This is especially critical in Math/Science classes. Most of the test questions will look like the homework.
- Look for test questions from the textbook.
- Look for lists – These are good multiple choice questions.
- Look for definitions – These are good fill in the blank or matching questions.
- Look for factual statements on such things as names or proper dates. These can be used in fill in the blank or matching questions.
- Get old tests – you can find these from students who had this teacher. You should especially look at the grading on the test to see what is being stressed.
- Identify test samples – You can find these on Koofers.com. If you don’t find these for classes on your campus, look for comparable classes at similar universities.
- Look at review problems/questions in the book. These are an excellent source of potential test questions.
- Look for conceptual problems. In math/science classes there is generally one question that doesn’t look like anything that you have seen before. To prepare for these questions, do the conceptual questions at the end of the problem set for each chapter in the book. If you struggle doing these problems, you can seek help on Cramster.com or Khanacademy.org.
If you follow these practices, you should be able to anticipate 90% of what is on the test. To see how well you do, measure your test preparation against the actual test. When there was a question on the test that you didn’t anticipate, ask yourself: “How could I have missed this question?” This question can lead you to improve your test question preparation.