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Exam Cram Virtual Edition

Exam Strategies

These strategies for taking exams come from the library eBook: Study Skills Strategies: Get the Most From Every Minute of Learning, available to all Kirkwood students with a k number and password.

For objective tests:

  • Answer easiest questions first.
  • Underline key words in each question.
  • Cross out answers you’ve eliminated.
  • Be alert for words such as always and never.
  • Ensure that the grammatical structure of the answer is consistent with the question.
  • If there’s no penalty for guessing, answer every question.

For essay exams:

  • Anticipate questions the instructor might ask.
  • Sketch a variety of outline responses to model questions.
  • Practice writing sample essays.
  • Analyze the entire test, and budget your time before beginning to write.
  • Read each question carefully, and underline key words.
  • Create an informal cluster outline of your response before starting to write. If you choose, you can simply number your main points.
  • Strive for a focused essay, tightly organized and supported with facts.
  • Make sure your paragraphs have main ideas (topic sentences) and a thesis (central idea). Be sure your topic sentences relate to the thesis in your introductory paragraph in an organized way that parallels the ideas in the thesis statement.
  • Use a paragraph structure that goes with the essay test question. Use the key words in the question as your guide.
  • Add a conclusion to your essay or paragraph. The conclusion should relate to the essay test question.


Lengefeld, Uelaine A. Study Skills Strategies : Get the Most From Every Minute of Learning. 4th ed, Axzo Press, 2009.

from the chapter "Exam Strategies"


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Iowa City Campus Library

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