(4) Technique: small segments. Sometimes it is necessary to learn
verbatim. When no memory tricks will work and rote learning is required, break the list
or other material into small segments. This is similar to the way you learned your social
security number and your home telephone number. These numbers are already broken
up into segments (indicated by a dash or parenthesis that separate the segments). You
can break up prose, rhyme, or members into similar segments that are logical to you.
The most productive way to prepare for an examination is to review the night
before and then go to sleep. Each person needs at least four to six hours sleep the
night before an examination. Review the material to be tested for the last time while
you are still alert, but all other studying is completed. If you have been reviewing
regularly, one to three hours before the examination should be enough. Don't rely on
cramming. This will defeat its own purpose. By cramming, you will not get enough
sleep to react well to the examination items. You may actually forget more than you
have learned during the cramming session. You also increase your anxiety level.
Some stress during an examination is normal and helps to keep you alert. Too much is
destructive. If you have arranged to review with a group, be sure the members of the
group are not overly resentful of the system or constantly voice their own fears. These
people will only increase your own anxiety level and cost your time and energy. Below
are some test-taking pointers that may help you.
a. Get to the Examination Room Five Minutes Early and Relax. Read a
newspaper or chat with other students about anything except the examination.
b. When You Get the Examination, Read All the Directions Carefully. If the
instructor or proctor goes over the directions orally, listen. He may say things that are
not in the written directions.
c. Begin by Checking the Whole Test. Answer the easy items first. Then go
back and wrestle with the tough ones. If there is no penalty for guessing, make an
educated guess. If a portion of the wrong answers will be deducted from the number
correct and you have no idea of the answer, do not guess. An educated guess means
that you can eliminate at least some of the distracters you know are wrong. In a
multiple-choice question with four alternatives and you can eliminate two, you have a
fifty percent chance of guessing correctly.
d. Analyze Test Items Quickly. In a multiple-choice question, the first
alternative answer is statistically the least likely to be correct and the longest one is
most likely to be correct. On true- false items, look for words such as "always," "never,"
or "none." These are absolutes, so statements containing these words are probably
false. Words such as "some," "often," "rarely," and "may" are qualifiers and are
probably true. Remember, if any part of the statement is false, the whole statement is