Essay tests are common in many types of subjects and they are usually set to test the writing skills of the individuals. There are also quite a number of standardized admissions tests that require essays.
Regardless of the type of subject and the occasion of taking these tests, the steps taken in the composition of an effective essay within the time limits are the same. There are a number of things that an individual needs to know before taking the essay tests.
How Essay Tests are constructed
There are two major purposes of using essay tests: to assess the understanding ability to think about the subject content matter and to assess their writing abilities. Since these two purposes are different, the essay question usually treats them differently. A good essay test question will:
- Clearly define the task for the examinee
- Specify the limitations- the limitations will be in terms of the number of words, the length of time or the number of points for each item.
- Structure the task
- Provide the context- this will guide the examinee understand the background of the essay question so that they can come up with the best way of answering it.
Some of the essay test questions test for content and are usually structured to be short in order to increase the coverage. It also increases the reliability if the content as the examinees will be guided by the various items that are available.
How to Prepare
Preparing for an essay test exam requires a different type of methodology as compared to the other tests. One of the most important is getting organized: the examinees need to collect their notes and other resources that will be needed for the study so that they can concentrate on the task at hand be productive. The examinee should ensure that they have been taking good notes in class so that they have the right type of material to study. The examinee needs also to identify and understand the major points that their instructors emphasized in class as they may develop the essay test questions from these areas.
The examinees should then begin an exam review. This entails the prediction and formulation of different types of essay questions. Some of these questions are available in different sources such as textbooks’ boldface and the examinees can turn them into questions by use of various key words like explain, define and describe. The other source is the course outline which will contain the various topics in the course. The other sources of these questions are the end-of-chapter discussions and brainstorming with fellow students.
Once the questions have been formulated, the examinees need to create a study sheet for each. They should then review their lecture notes, textbooks and study guides in order to record the relevant material for each question to be used when answering the questions.
Tips and Tactics on How to Succeed On the Test
Apart from being prepared, there are additional tips that the examinees can apply in order to succeed.
- They should read the directions properly and carefully in order to know what they are required to do.
- Ensure that they have understood what the question is asking them and if not, they should ask their instructors.
- Budgeting their time is very important because it will allow them to spend adequate time on each easy question and enable them provide adequate materials as required.
- It is recommended that they make an outline before they start their essay as this will enable them to come with a more fluid and organized essay.
- When writing, they should not focus on long introductions and conclusions as this will take a lot of their time.
- It is imperative to focus on one idea per paragraph.