LAB B2OWL—an acronym to help you remember critical aspects of successful test-taking strategies.
LOOK: Look over the entire exam before you start. Take care to read the directions, underline test words, and circle questions you don’t fully understand.
ASK: If you have any questions at all, ask. For example, if the exam doesn’t indicate total point allocation, be sure to ask your instructor.
BUDGET: Budget your time based on the point allocation for each question. For instance, let’s say your exam has one essay question worth 50 percent, and 5 identifications worth 10 percent each. If you have two hours to take the test, this gives you one hour to complete the essay, and 10 minutes for each of the five short-answer questions. You will have 10 minutes in reserve to review your work before turning it in.
BEGIN X 2: Begin with an easy question in order to build your confidence and get warmed up for the rest of the exam. Begin each answer with a thesis topic sentence. Restate the question in a single sentence to help you focus your answer.
OUTLINE: Be careful to write a quick outline for your essay on a separate page before you begin. This will help you organize your facts and focus your ideas. It might also serve to show your professor where you were going if you don’t have time to finish.
WATCH: Watch for key testing words like analyze, define, evaluate, and illustrate. These help you understand what your professor will be looking for in an answer.
LOOK: Finally, look over your exam before turning it in to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.