Ways to Ace Essay and Multiple Choice Tests

Question: How can my child learn to ace essay and multiple choice tests? It's been a real stumbling block stopping her from getting A's and B's. -- Blocked

Answer: Different types of tests definitely require special strategies in order to really get your best score. There are secrets for acing tests.

Strategies for Multiple Choice Tests:

  • -Read the question or problem all the way through and then carefully read all answer choices before make a selection.
  • -When you don't know the correct answer, eliminate the ones that are obviously wrong, and then choose between the remaining choices.
  • -Don't spend too much time on a question that you can't answer or are unsure of. You can mark the question and return to it later if time allows.
  • -Circle, underline or fill in answers neatly. Stray marks can result in wrong answers on machine-scored tests, and teachers don't like to guess which answer you chose.

Strategies for Essay Tests:

  • -In the first three grades, children don't answer many essay questions on tests. But as they get into upper elementary and middle school, more and more essay questions appear on their classroom tests, with the children being expected to write longer answers with each grade level. Essay questions are used the most on social studies and language arts tests. The purpose is to have children demonstrate their understanding of a topic. While questions may just ask for a recall of facts, many times they require children to think critically about a topic.
  • -To answer questions well, older children will need to know the exact meaning of commonly used essay words such as "analyze," "compare," "contrast," "criticize," "define," "describe," "discuss," "enumerate," "evaluate," "examine," "explain," "illustrate," "interpret," "list," "outline," "prove," "state" and "summarize."
  • -Students should study for essay tests by practicing writing out answers to questions in their textbooks.
  • -Make a brief outline before answering a question by listing key points.