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Try College 101

Unit 9: Be Ready For Tests and Test Anxiety   This unit will present you with strategies you can use to study for tests, reduce or eliminate stress related to test-taking – commonly called test anxiety – and increase your skills in taking tests.
 
The weeks and days before a test are a great time to remind yourself of an important point: being a college student is voluntary! Put another way, you are in college because it will help you achieve the goals you set out at the beginning of this course. If you approach tests as an opportunity to see how well you are doing, rather than as a punishment or trial, you will find it easier for you to have a positive attitude about the process. Nearly every student has experienced test anxiety at some point, so if it happens to you, do not see it as a sign of failure. Instead, learn the strategies presented in this unit so that when test anxiety appears, you will have the emotional tools to manage it. 
 
One of the most effective strategies for avoiding excessive anxiety during an exam is being well-prepared for the exam itself. Feeling confident about the material comes from studying effectively and often, and from feeling healthy and well-rested on the exam day. This unit also covers strategies for actually taking a test, including understanding the different question types, which questions to answer first, and other useful tips.

Unit 9 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 11.75 hours:
 
☐    Subunit 9.1: 0.5 hours
 
☐    Subunit 9.2: 1 hour
 
☐    Subunit 9.3: 2.25 hours
 
☐    Subunit 9.4: 0.25 hours
 
☐    Subunit 9.5: 0.5 hours
 
☐    Subunit 9.6: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.7: 1 hour
 
☐    Subunit 9.8: 1 hour
 
☐    Subunit 9.9: 3 hours
 
☐    Unit 9 Assessment: 0.75 hours

Unit9 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - explain the purpose of tests and exams in college; - define and identify test anxiety; - list strategies for controlling and reducing test anxiety; - identify and use key strategies for effective test studying; - describe general strategies you can apply when taking tests and quizzes; and - identify and use specific strategies for addressing different types of test questions.

9.1 Why Test?   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6: Preparing for and Taking Tests” Link: College Success“Chapter 6: Preparing for and Taking Tests” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Chapter 6 of the textbook, begin by filling out the self-assessments titled “Where You Are Now?” and “Where Do You Want to Go?” Then read “How to Get There” and the introduction titled “Tested at Every Turn” to gain some new perspectives on the purpose and value of testing. Pay particular attention to how testing fits into the learning cycle you have studied in earlier units of this course.
 
This material also covers the topics outlined in subunits 9.1.1-9.1.3 below.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.1.1 To Measure Progress   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 9.1 above. Spend approximately 15 minutes reviewing this reading to better understand how the results of your tests can show you how much you have learned, not just what you haven’t learned.

9.1.2 To Reinforce Your Understanding   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 9.1 above. Focus on reviewing how tests can present extraordinary learning opportunities to sharpen and hone your knowledge.

9.1.3 Testing’s Place in the Learning Cycle   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 9.1 above. Pay special attention to reviewing Figure 6.2 in the reading.

9.2 Why Stress?   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.1: Test Anxiety and How to Control It” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.1: Test Anxiety and How to Control It” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In this section, you will learn about the symptoms of test anxiety and many techniques for reducing and managing these symptoms when you experience them. You may be surprised to learn that you have symptoms of test anxiety – but note that these symptoms are extremely common among college students. The remainder of this subunit will present you with ways to keep your anxiety from affecting your performance. Make sure to complete all the activities in the reading, including the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.3 How to Be Prepared for the Test   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.2: Studying to Learn (Not Just for Tests)” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.2: Studying to Learn (Not Just for Tests)” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In this section, you will learn about different studying techniques to employ at different stages of the testing cycle. Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

  • Reading: Duke University: Academic Resource Center’s “How To Form a Successful Study Group” Link: Duke University: Academic Resource Center’s “How To Form a Successful Study Group” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: On this webpage, scroll down to the heading titled “Additional Resources” and read the document titled “How To Form a Successful Study Group.” In your notebook, describe a successful study group that you have participated in in the past. If you haven’t participated in such a group, write down what an imaginary successful group would look like based on one of the subjects you are studying. Then, describe a less-than-successful study session. What are three things you can do to make your next study group more successful?
     
    Reading this resource and completing the notebook entry should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

9.4 Types of Tests and Strategies for Each   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.3: Taking Tests” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 3: Taking Tests” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the section titled “Types of Tests” to learn about the different types of tests and techniques for doing your best work on each.
 
This material also covers topics outlined in subunit 9.5 below.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.5 General Strategies for Test-Taking   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.3: Taking Tests” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.3: Taking Tests” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the sections entitled “Tips for Taking Tests” and “Strategies for Math and Science Exams.” 

 Reading this section should take you approximately 15 minutes to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
  • Reading: Florida Atlantic University: Center for Learning and Student Success’ “Exam Success” Link: Florida Atlantic University: Center for Learning and Student Success’ “Exam Success” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: On this webpage, click on the link titled “Exam Success” to access an online guide containing 20 useful tips for both exam preparation and exam-taking. You may want to print this document and refer to it later, especially as you prepare to take the final exam for this course.
     
    Reading this webpage should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

9.6 Types of Test Questions and Strategies for Each   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.4: The Secrets of the Q and A’s” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.4: The Secrets of the Q and A’s” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In this section, you will learn about the different types of test questions and strategies for effectively answering each of these types of questions. After completing the reading, take about a half hour or less to attempt the checkpoint exercises at the end of the section.  
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.7 Academic Honesty   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.5: The Honest Truth” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.5: The Honest Truth” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this section to review what constitutes academic honesty versus academic dishonesty. Make sure to complete the checkpoint exercises at the end of the reading.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.8 After the Test   - Reading: College Success: “Chapter 6, Section 6.6: Using Test Results” Link: College Success“Chapter 6, Section 6.6: Using Test Results” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this section in its entirety. Make sure to attempt the checkpoint exercises after you complete the reading.
 
Reading this section and completing the exercises should take approximately 1 hour.  
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

9.9 Practice Your Test-Taking Skills   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Short Answer and Essay Test” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Short Answer and Essay Test” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Access this exam and practice responding to the different types of exam questions. Spend only 15-20 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between each exam question, but it may be a good idea for you to attempt all five questions in one sitting in order to simulate the time allotted for each short answer and essay response in a typical college test. You can check your answers here.
 
Completing this assessment and checking your answers should take approximately 1 hour.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Matching and Fill in the Blank Test” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Matching and Fill in the Blank Test” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Access this exam to practice three matching and fill-in-the-blank exam questions. Spend only 5 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between answering each exam question, but it may be a good idea for you to answer all three in one sitting in order to simulate the typical time allotted for each question in the matching section of a college test. You can check your answers here.
     
    Completing this assessment and checking your answers should take approximately 1 hour.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Multiple Choice and True/False Exam” Link: The Saylor Foundation: Becky Samitore-Durand’s “Multiple Choice and True/False Exam” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Access this quiz to practice answering five multiple choice and true/false exam questions. Spend only 5 minutes answering each exam question. You may take a break between each question, but it may be a good idea for you to answer all five questions in one sitting in order to simulate the amount of time allotted for each question in the multiple choice or true/false section of a typical college test. You can check your answers here.
     
    Completing this assessment and checking your answers should take approximately 1 hour.

Unit 9 Assessment   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Developing a Test-taking Plan and Putting It to Work” Link: “Try College 101 Discussion Board” (HTML)
 
Instructions: One of the most important strategies for ensuring your college success is to develop a plan for how you will prepare for quizzes, tests, and exams. If you do not already have a basic plan, now is the time to create one. Pull out your planner or calendar, your course syllabus, and your course notes and other materials. Note all your upcoming quizzes, tests, and exams in your planner.
 
Also be sure to:
 
1. Schedule time on your calendar for reviewing your course notes. Divide the notes into manageable chunks and schedule time every day between now and the next upcoming exam to review these notes.
 
2. Attend extra study sessions. Make sure all your group study sessions, recitations, review sessions, and tutoring appointments are on your calendar. Don’t wait too long to try to find a tutor if you need one. The closer to the exam you are, the harder it will be to find someone who has time to help you.
 
3. Plan as if you have a critically important meeting the night before the exam. How can you have all your studying completed well beforehand?
 
4. Eat, sleep, and exercise. Don’t forget to eat properly, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Make sure you have a good breakfast and/or snack before the test.
 
5. Relax during the exam. What are three things you can do while taking the exam to help you relax and to calm your nerves? Share your answers on the “Try College 101 Discussion Board.”
 
6. Review test-taking tips. Make note of effective test-taking strategies based on your readings in your College Success textbook. Share strategies that work for you on the “Try College 101 Discussion Board.”
 
7. It’s not over yetOnce you have completed your exam, read through it one last time to make sure you have not missed any questions before you turn it in.
 
When the graded exam is returned to you, be sure to review it. Focus on any parts of the exam in which you performed poorly, and use the test as a resource to prepare yourself for future exams. Receiving your first test grade is a good time to schedule an appointment with your instructor to discuss anything you do not understand.
 
Wash, Rinse, and Repeat
 
Effective test-taking is an important part of learning and is a skill that you will continue to develop over time. As you continue to improve the studying and test-taking skills that you have learned in this course, you will find that they will continue to pay dividends throughout your college career.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Preparing for Tests” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Preparing for Tests” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This assessment asks you to reflect on a time when you were a successful test-taker. Can you visualize your success? If you feel comfortable sharing your strategies for preparing for tests, consider sharing your insights on the Try College 101 Discussion Board after you finish.
     
    Completing this assesment should take approximately 15 minutes.