Academic Resource Guide - Types of Exams

You will encounter many different types of exams in college. Below are tips from the Academic Success Center that are focused on preparing for different types of exams, including multiple choice tests, essay exams, and cumulative exams. 

Tips for taking multiple choice tests: 

  •  Circle or underline important words in the  item. 
  • Read all the answer choices before  selecting one. 
  •  Cross out answer choices you are certain are not correct. 
  • Look for two answer choices that are opposites. 
  •  Look for hints about the correct answer choice in other items on the test. 
  •  Look for answer choices that contain language used by your teacher. 
  • Do not change your initial answer unless you are sure another answer is correct. 
  •  Choose “all of the above” if you are certain all other answer choices are correct. 
  •  Choose “none of the above” if you are sure all other answer choices are wrong. 

Tips for taking essay exams: 

  •  Read through the exam. 
  •  Start with a prompt with which you are  comfortable. 
  •  List main ideas. 
  • Create a rough outline. 
  • If you are stuck, continue with the exam. 

Tips for taking cumulative exams:

  • Obtain copies of old exams. These can act as “study guides” and help you plan a review strategy. 
  •  Consult the syllabus to refresh your memory with what was covered over the semester. 
  • Consult your textbook’s table of contents to draw up a comprehensive list of the materials that should be reviewed. 

Adapted from Kent State University Academic Success Center’s Test Preparation Workshop PowerPoint.