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Academic Study Skills

This guide can assist you to increase your understanding of course material, improve your marks, and make learning a little less stressful. Here you will find strategies for time management, reading and note-taking, study skills, and test-taking.

Test Taking - Objective Tests

College instructors test students using a variety of test methods. To prepare for any test you should first find out what kind of test you will be taking. The method of testing will determine how you should prepare for the test, and help you study effectively. Secondly, when taking the test, use some of the following suggestions for each particular testing method.

True-False Questions

Statements are given that can be true or partly or totally false. Consider the following tips:

  • Read the whole statement carefully. Often, one or two words can make it false.
  • If any part of the statement is incorrect, the statement is false. For example, if the statement has two parts, one of which is correct but the other is wrong, it is false.
  • Use qualifiers as a guide. For example, words such as “always”, “never”, “all”, or “every” when used in the statement usually indicate a false answer. On the other hand, words such as “some”, “often”, or “frequently” limit meanings and tend to be true statements.
  • Your first instinctive answer is often right. Change an answer only if you have a rational reason.
  • Take the questions at face value and accept it. Don’t let personal opinions sway your answering.

Matching Questions

Two columns of names or terms are given. You must recognize factual relationships by pairing a term from the first column with a term from the second. Here are some strategies:

  • Read both columns of names/terms first to see what items are included.
  • Check both columns for the number of entries as there could be more in one column than the other to make the test more difficult.
  • Fill in matches that you are sure of first. This reduces the number of possibilities for some of the more difficult pairs. If there is no penalty for wrong answers, guess at the ones you don’t know for sure. Don’t leave a question unanswered.

Fill in the Blanks/Sentence Completion Questions

You have to supply words or phrases that have been omitted from a statement. The questions could be asking for specific names, definitions, or short descriptions. Follow these suggestions:

  • Read the entire sentence(s) before answering; look for clues in the context of the question.
  • Note the number and length of blanks: for example, if two blanks appear right after each other, the instructor is looking for a two word answer. If the line is longer for some questions, it usually indicates a longer answer is needed.
  • Use the number of marks the question has as a guide. Questions worth more marks often need more information for you to get full marks.
  • After answering, reread the question with your response to make sure that it makes sense and relates to the course content.