Essay Test Preparation- 1. Being your preparation by reading any course curriculum or current scenarios and issues, and then writing down whatever assumption, biases, and teaching objectives are stated or implied in these materials. Determine how the various course topics relate to one another, and note any repeated themes. Think about any potential essay questions you can generate from this information, and then write them down.
2. Read assignments and listen to lectures and discussions with the purpose of determining how to content can support the major themes and answers the major questions you have generated from the syllabus. Modify ad refine these themes and questions throughout the course as you gain additional information.
3. At some point prior to the test- preferably a week are two before generate a list of major topics for the test. For each major topic, create a summary sheet of all the relevant factual data that relates to that topic.
4. In addition to learning the factual material, determine any logical relationships among topics. These relationships are often predictive of essay test questions.
Taking Essay Test
Before you write
1. Read all essay questions before you start to write. As ideas and examples come to you, jot them down on rough paper so that you would not clutter your mind trying to remember everything.
2. Budget your time according to the point value of each question, allowing time for proofreading and any unexpected emergencies (such as taking longer then you expected on a questions or going blank for a while.)
3. As you read the questions, underline key words (e.g., compare, explain, justify, and define), and make sure you understand what you are being asked.
4. Being with the questions that seems easiest to you. This procedure reduces anxiety and facilitates clear thinking.
5. Before actually writing, determine the relationship implies by the question, even if the key word or words do not express a specific relationship. For example if you were given the following questions, The Revolutionary Movement was a direct response to the problems of industrialization. You might focus your response to a more specific cause and effect relationship such as, What were the problems of industrialization that caused a response that we label the revolutionary movement?.
6. After determining the relationship implied by the question, picture the relationship by creating a chart or matrix of the related elements. Be sure to separate general issues you wish to bring up from supporting details and examples. Once this framework for your ideas has been created, generate as many ideas as you can within the stipulated time to fill in the categories that you have established.
While You Write An Essay
1. Be sure your answer has a definite theme that directly answers the question. State this theme within the first few sentences of your answer.
2. Prepare a pre-writing matrix, to give an idea on the content that you are going to develop in the essay.
3. Provide specific as well as general information in your response by including examples, substantiating facts, and relevant details from your pre-writing matrix.
4. Use the technical vocabulary of the subject being asked.
5. Leave space for additions to your answer by writing on every other line and on only one side of each page.
6. Write legibly.
7. If your mind goes blank or you do not know much about a question, relax and brainstorm for a few moments about the topic. Recall pages from your texts, particular lectures, and class discussions to trigger your memory about ideas relevant to the question. Write these ideas down as coherently as you can.
8. When you reach the end of your allotted time period for a given question, move on to the next item: Partially answering all the questions is better than fully answering some but not others.
9. If you find yourself out of time on a question, quickly write down in outline from what you would write if you had time.
After You Write
1. Review your answers and make any additions that are necessary for clarity and completeness.
2. Check your response for errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation.