Even in the most diverse schools, it is assumed that all students love to hate essay tests. Long form questions require a great deal of studying, as well as a history of paying attention and taking detailed notes in class. Essay tests are important tools for instructors to gauge student performances, but they often terrify even the most dedicated pupils. Simple essay test tips can help students feel more confident on testing day, and better manage time while writing. Basic essay test taking strategies can be put to use starting in middle school, all the way through graduate school.

Essay Test Strategies: Days Prior to the Exam

Trying to anticipate exam questions is one of the essay test taking strategies that can make students feel more confident on the day of the test. Refer to essay tests previously taken for the class. They are important refreshers on question phrasing, challenges, and details that earned high scores. Carefully study notes taken during class. When taking essay tests, it is important to have a strong understanding of the subject matter. A student probably won’t be able to compose a strong test essay if he or she relies too much on cramming and memorization.

Set up tutoring or extra help from the instructor if the material is challenging. It is important to remember how to take an essay test during study time. Organizational details, such as event timelines and important differences between several theories, are essential. Simply naming the events or theories probably won’t be enough for a test essay, the student must be able to apply context.

Tips for Essay Tests: Before Writing Begins

Listen to instructions given by the test proctor and carefully read written directions. Sometimes important tips for essay tests are provided, and students overlook them by tackling the questions right away. Skim the test, reading essay questions first even if they are printed after other types of questions. Often, essay test strategies are triggered by multiple choice, true or false, and short answer questions. Students can be prepared to jot down essay test tips if they know what to be aware of during the course of the exam.

Allocate time to each test essay before starting to write. Spending too much time on one question can leave the others deficient. Write a brief outline based on knowledge of the subject and notes taken during earlier portions of the exam. Depending on the amount of time available, an outline could be a series of important keywords arranged to flow logically, or complete facts that only require some transition wording to be made into firm answers.

How to Take an Essay Test

One of the most important essay test strategies is to answer the question thoroughly while following directions. The student must include important details, but avoid going off on tangents that waste precious time and are confusing to the reader. One of the most common tips on how to take an essay test involves starting with a thesis statement. The thesis statement should be a concise sentence that answers the question and gives the reader an idea of what will be elaborated upon in the essay paragraphs.

Although thesis statements are usually part of introductions, some essay test taking strategies suggest that students get going on the supporting paragraphs after writing a thesis statement. This way the bulk of the answer is on paper in case time runs out, and the introduction and conclusion can be tailored to complement the rest of the essay. Keep answers easy to read by highlighting one main point per paragraph. Avoid useless filler words and facts that are not relevant to the question. Words in the question such as “compare,” “analyze, “argue” and “describe” can help dictate how paragraphs should be phrased and structured.

Last Minute Essay Test Tips

Students should make use of all allotted time to perfect their essay tests. Details such as catchy introductions, memorable conclusions, and specific examples acquired from classroom discussions are often the essay test taking strategies that turn “B” answers into “A” answers. Of all tips for essay tests, the one that should not be forgotten is proofreading. Even if time only allows a quick scan, many detrimental errors can be caught and resolved after the writer has reviewed his or her work.