Types of Exams – Explained in Depth for Students

types of exams in college and high school

There are many types of exams that students have to face in college and high school. Each test type may hold a different way of testing the students – so the preparation for the test can vary. So, it’s pretty important for a student to know what they are facing before actually start studying for the exam.

Different Types of Exams

Exams have requirements students need to have and guidelines students need to follow. The type of test may change what the test entails – directly affecting the grade you are going to get. Let’s find out what types of tests are given in higher education – and how to prepare for them so you would get the grade you want at the end of the exam.

Closed Book Exams

These types of exams are the most common types of exams conducted in high school and college. They only allow you to take writing and drawing supplies such as pencils, and pens to face the exams. No notes or referring study materials are allowed and if you did refer them in the exam time period it’s considered cheating.

For mathematics tests some of the formula sheets that you require for calculations may be provided, most closed-book examinations also allow the use of calculators. Preparing for closed-book exams requires well preparation and good studying habits as they mostly focus on testing students’ memory capabilities and problem-solving skills under pressure.

How to Prepare For Closed Book Examinations

Closed book exams are the toughest exams in college and high schools. These are mostly cumulative exams that you have to start preparing from the start of the semester or school year if you wish to get a good grade. Here are some tips to help you prepare for closed-book examinations.

  • Study Plan – Make a proper study schedule and follow it up until the semester finals are over.
  • Take Notes – Take notes in every class and make sure to revise them every now and then until you understand the concepts better.
  • Study Groups – Make a study group with a couple of your friends taking the same courses and studying together at a place of your choosing.
  • Health – Take care of your health by eating healthy meals and snacks and hitting the gym or doing yoga to release stress and keep yourself healthy.
  • Read – Go through extra study materials such as textbooks, online videos, and online practice tests.
  • Prepare – Do practice questions and tests to make sure that you understood what was taught in the class.
  • Revise – When the exams are getting closer revise the notes you took in class and clarify the content you forgot or misunderstood.

Open book Exams

Open-book exams are the complete opposite of closed-book examinations and they have lesser restrictions. Students are allowed to refer to their own notes, class study materials, and textbooks and sometimes even internet searches and online resources are allowed in the exam.

But having access to materials won’t make it much easier than a closed-book exam, so preparing for open-book examinations is a must. These exams can be conducted physically in the classroom or online using a learning management system.

How to Prepare For Open Book Examinations

Open-book tests may be somewhat easier than closed-book or restricted exams but that does not mean that you can ease off by not studying for it. Here are some of the tips that will help you for both online and physical open-book exams.

  • Notes – Keep your notes organized and read through them at least twice a few weeks before the exam.
  • Study – Study to grasp the content better – do not entirely depend on browsing your notes during the exam as it would waste more time.
  • Highlight – Highlighting important parts of the notes will help you save more time to focus on the questions during the exam.
  • Summary – Write a short summary at the end of each topic to make it easier to revise the notes and quickly revisit them if needed during the exam.

Restricted Exams

These are exams that have characteristics of both open-book and closed-book exams – but mostly closed-book exams. Students are allowed to bring specific papers and notes sometimes. It could be formula sheets, notes of your own, or short notes.

Take Home Exams

These are a type of open book examination but that does not have a necessary place to do it. Take-home exams are usually given during finals week in college as a paper with a deadline. Within that deadline, you have to complete the paper and submit it by handing it to your professor or using the learning management system. For these exams, you are allowed to use study materials and even internet resources such as websites, journals, and more.

How to Prepare for Take-Home Exams

This leniency is what makes take-home exams a bit difficult to get a good grade – since the student has time they often focus on other exams and academic activities. Then they do the exam at the last minute not being able to do their best on the paper. Here are some of the tips that might help you beat the take-home exams and get a good grade.

  • Study Place – Pick a good and quiet place to finish the paper at your home or in a library and bring all you need to that place.
  • Format – Find if there is any specific format the paper should be in and adhere to the guidelines as it would get you more marks.
  • Research – Research using available study material and resources from the internet and take notes before you start on your paper.
  • Focus – Put together a couple of hours and write a rough draft according to the guidelines and the content you’ve already found using research.
  • Organize – Organize the content and start working on your final paper and read through it multiple times before submitting.

Multiple Choice Tests

Multiple-choice questions are usually given at quizzes, midterms, and final exams in college and high school. They seem easier to answer since all you have to do is pick one or a few options from the given answers. However, answering these questions requires a better understanding of the concepts than in any other exam.

MCQ Test Preparation

Preparing for multiple-question tests can be the trickiest but the easiest to beat if you know what was taught in the class. Here are some tips that might get you prepped for the upcoming MCQ test in your midterms or final exams.

  • Study – Just because you can pick the answer from the given answers don’t stop studying for the test. One wrong answer can reduce more marks than a part of an essay question.
  • Strategies – Learn MCQ test strategies that would help you get the correct answer for the trickiest multiple-choice questions.
  • Practice – If available find some past papers and try them before you actually face your multiple-choice question test.

Short Answer Exams

Just as in multiple choice question tests – short answer tests require the utmost focus and understanding of the concepts, topics, and relationships between them to answer properly. The only difference is that you have to write a short answer which could be a few words or sentences or solve a math question and give the answer depending on your study area.

These types of exams are given mostly for the midterms but they can be included in the finals exams as well. Teachers usually test students understanding of key concepts and mathematical formulas through short answer exams.

Preparation Tips for Short Answer Tests

Even though short answer questions can appear as easy to answer – getting the correct answer can be tricky just like in MCQ tests. Getting one word wrong for short answers or a wrong sentence could cost you a few marks. Therefore preparing for short answer exams before the exam is a must.

  • Key Concepts – Study and better understand key terms, concepts, and formulas which will be tested through short answer questions.
  • Examples – Find some practice test papers or questions for the subject and try them at least a couple of times before the exam.
  • Read Carefully – Read the question thoroughly before even thinking of answering it – reading it multiple times is recommended.
  • Leaving the Question – If you don’t get the answer at the second look move on to another question for the time being. But try to revisit the question and answer it later – don’t leave the question unanswered.

Essay Exams

Essay-type questions are one of the most common test questions in final exams but they can be also given for midterms. Essay questions are added in an exam to test the students ability to solve problem and test their long term memory. For these types of questions in a exam you would have to response with a few logical and organized paragraphs.

How to Preapare for Essay Tests

Essay questions may require more time to answer and more time to study. But they can be so easy to answer if you know what exactly to do. Therefore, preparing for essay questions properly is important and we’ve added some tips that might help you answer them.

  • Study Early – Start studying and preparing for the exam at the beginning of the semester or school year so you’re better prepped for the exam.
  • Notes – Take notes and make small summaries in areas that you assume to be given as an essay type question.
  • Practice – Find past paper essay questions and find similar questions for the past papers then try to answer them on your own.
  • Discuss – If you have a study group then discuss questions and concepts with your group as it would help you understand and clarify content better.

Case Study Exams

This is one of the complex type of test students can be given which will test their critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. The question will include paragraphs, graphs, tables, client briefs, scenario or any type of information. You will be asked to conduct an analysis or answer series of questions based on given information.

How to prepare for case study tests

Even though case study test questions can be somewhat easy to answer it requires throughout knowledge in the subject. Here are some of the tips that might help you prepare for case study test questions and answer them like a pro.

  • Read – Read the question and given information carefully before starting the analysis or answering series of question.
  • Revisit – Re read the information while answering the question if you need.
  • Time – Take your time to answer the question or give your analysis.
  • Write – Write the answers to the question or provide your analysis in an logical and organized way using the given information.

Math Exams

Mathematical exams are usually given for courses that covers mathematical subjects like Algebra, Calculus and it can be given in mathematical related courses like machine learning. For these exams sometimes you are allowed to bring a scientific calculator or graphing calculator.

Math based exams can be either open-book or closed-book exams depending on the school or program. Best way to prepare for math tests is study concepts and apply them using practice questions as much as you can before the exam.

The Conclusion

There are a lot of exam types in college and high school and each of them have different preparation method. Knowing what type of test is you are facing can be an huge advantage when it comes to preparing for exams and getting a good grade.

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