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Center for Academic
Franklin Pierce University
1. Who We Are
2. Test-taking 101
3. Multiple-choice and standardized tests
4. Managing your stress, now and then
Who We Are
The Center for Academic
Learn about us at
Who Are You?
Note Card Activity
What year are you in your program?
When was the last time you took an
important multiple-choice test?
How did you do?
What questions/concerns do you
have about NPTE or other tests?
General Test Taking
Read each question carefully and
Keep your mind open as you read test
items. A question or answer can trigger
your knowledge about another test item.
Before answering, look at all of the
Pace yourself on a timed test. At the
start, glance through to determine the
number of questions on the test.
It is not a race to the finish! Use the time
you are given.
Employ a “cover-up” strategy by trying to answer
a question before looking at the choices.
Treat each answer choice as a true or false
response. Select the “most true” answer.
Rephrase a question as a statement using each
answer in the sentence. Which seems most true?
If the test format allows, mark question numbers
that you can’t answer and continue working
through the test.
Save time to return to the skipped questions at the
end, even if it is simply to mark a guess.
Eliminating Choices on Difficult
When you are unsure of an answer, try to
eliminate as many answers as possible.
(Eliminating one or more choices increases your
Use prior knowledge of word prefixes, suffixes,
and roots to make intelligent guesses about
Beware of the use of negative terms used in
answers, such as none, not, and never.
Be aware of superlatives in answer choices, such
as all, more, always, and only. Superlatives
usually indicate an undisputed fact.
Difficult Questions, continued:
Try to make an educated guess.
Choose the most precise answer.
Avoid answers that seem out of context or that
that are grammatically incorrect.
Choose a numerical answer from the middle of
the range, not from either extreme.
If all else fails, have a guessing strategy: make
the same letter your guess for each question,
choose the longest answer, or make C, or D your
Final Test-Taking Advice
Be prepared! Study ahead of time
and review in advance to avoid last-
Get a good night’s sleep the night
before the test.
Eat breakfast the day of the test.
Be confident to do your best.
Become familiar with the format of the
Practice using the same medium as the
one you will face on test day, or as close
Learn the length of the test and how
many sections it has, as well as the
subjects tested and how much you have
to know on each.
Review sample tests published by the test
maker, reading through and memorizing
the instructions to each section so you
won't waste precious time on the real
test doing so.
Take a diagnostic practice test, using a
facsimile of the real test, in test-like
Buy a test prep book, take a course or go
to a test center to take a practice test.
Take the test in one sitting if that is how
it will be administered when you take it
Once you have your results, review and
bone up on your weak areas.
Slow down and get more easy answers
Many test-takers will rush through the
easy questions, getting a few wrong in
their haste, and then get stuck on the
harder ones, where more time won't
necessarily help them find the answers
If the test scores every answer
equally, use your time to rack up as
many easy points as you can.
Leveraging the Scoring
If there is no error penalty, make sure
that no answers are left blank.
If time is short, just fill every
remaining answer with the same
letter, going straight down. (This also
helps you analyze your results, as you
will recognize that letter as the one
you chose for those questions that you
didn't have time to do.)
Test tricks help you leverage partial
knowledge, optimize your test-taking
time, and avoid typical errors.
The best way to increase your score,
however, is through thorough and pin-
pointed study, practice tests and
review of your mistakes.
Plan a long-term schedule that allows
you to take the test more than once,
if possible, so that you may have a
chance to raise your score.
Plan to Win
Before the test
Get a good night’s rest
Bring a watch to your exam
Have your bag packed
Set multiple alarms
Take a deep breath to relax
Eat a healthy breakfast high
Figure out how much time
you get for each section
Read the directions
Test Day, continued
When in doubt, guess (strategically)
Use any extra time
Don’t change your initial answer
unless you have a good reason to do
so; research indicates that 3 out of
4 times a first choice is correct.
How to handle that
Dealing with Stress
Breathe, deeply from your belly, at least
four cleansing breaths
Creative visualization—what is the image
you want to hold with you?
Befriend your fight-or-flight response.
Your bodily reactions (however
misguided) are there to help. Thank them
and move on.
What should DPT students
know and do about taking
do you still have?
The Center for Academic Excellence
Test Taking Strategies: Multiple Choice
Tests. Muskingum University CAL
Learning Strategies Database
NPTE Candidate Handbook