Objective Tests

How to do well on objective tests

What are objective tests?

Objective test questions ask you to recognize information.

These questions include multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, short answer, and true-false.

These kinds of questions are designed to make you read and think during the test.

In an objective test, the teacher is looking for your knowledge of details and ability to reason.

How do I study for an objective test?

Begin studying for an objective test the same way you do for an essay test. If you are uncertain about what to do, review "How do I study for an essay test?" As in studying for an essay test, you will study your textbook and notes and think of possible questions.

Some people find it useful to make a study guide by outlining each possible test topic. List and number each point. Highlight a key word or phrase for each. Recite the main points to help learn them. You may feel funny reciting them, but it can help you learn them!

How do I get started on an objective test?

1. Read the directions carefully and completely.
2. Budget your time.
Give the most time to the questions that are worth the most points.
Answer the `easy' questions first. This way, you will finish the ones you know before you run out of time.
This will also help you feel confident about the test.
3. If you are not sure of the answer to a question, skip it. Go
back to it after you finish the `easy' ones.

How do I answer objective test questions?

Given below are the different types of questions that you usually find on objective tests. In each section we have listed ways to help you choose the correct answer for each type of question.

Multiple Choice Questions

Example: Our lungs breathe in _____ .

a) dirt
b) water
c) air
d) rocks
e) all of these

1. Read the directions carefully. They will tell you whether to mark the right answer, the best answer, or all the correct answers.

2. Read each question carefully. Try to figure out the right answer before you read the choices given.
3. Watch for clues in the choices which may help you eliminate incorrect answers. Clues can be:
Absolutes. An absolute is a word such as always, never, every, or none. Choices which contain these words may be incorrect.
Grammar clues. Singular subjects require singular verbs, plural subjects require plural verbs.  The choice `ALL OF THE ABOVE' is often correct, especially if at least two of the choices are correct. Be careful though if all of the questions give this choice!   Similarities. Look carefully at choices that are very similar. Often, one of them is correct.

True-False Questions

1. Check each part of the sentence. If any part of the sentence is false, the entire statement is false.

Example: Healthy newborn babies weigh about 7 pounds,  are about 21" long, usually cry at birth, and are bald.

true false

Hint: This is false, since some babies are born with hair.

2. Statements that contain a qualifier may be true. A qualifier is a word such as some, most, many, usually.

Example: Most candies contain sugar.
true false

3. Statements that contain absolutes are often false. Absolutes are words such as all, none, always, never, and every.

Example: All candies contain sugar.

true false

Hint: Some candies are made with honey or maple syrup.

Short Answer and Fill in the Blank

You fill in the answer. There are no choices given.

Example: Our lungs breathe in ______.

1. Read the statement carefully. Information in the statement may help trigger your memory.

2. Pay attention to grammar clues.

Plural subjects need plural verbs.
Singular subjects need singular verbs.

Example: _______ join most picnics although they are almost never invited.

The word ‘an’ shows that the missing word starts with a vowel or the letter ‘h’.

Example: An _____ hunts at night and sounds as though it cries
"Hoo, hoo."


Example: The words on the left go with the phrases on the right.

On the line in front of each phrase, write the letter of the word that matches that phrase.

a: lungs
_____ pumps blood
b. heart
_____ digests food
c. stomach
_____ breathe in air

1. Read each list all the way through before you begin to match.

2. The first time through, mark only those answers you know well.

3. Keep working through the list. Eliminate possibilities each time.

4. Grammar clues can tell you some of the answers. Singular subjects require singular verbs. Plural subjects require plural verbs. In the example, “lungs” is the only plural word. The phrase “breathe in air” is the only plural phrase. The word “lungs” has to go with the phrase “breathe in air.”

Test Anxiety

I get nervous at the thought of a test. What can I do?

Taking a test makes some students tense and anxious. A little bit of anxiety is useful. It helps you focus your attention and do well. Too much anxiety, however, is not helpful. Some students score lower on a test because they are nervous. Some become physically upset—sweating or having difficulty breathing. Some react emotionally and feel stupid or like failures.

If you have test anxiety, don’t waste your time worrying about it. This is self-defeating. It won’t help you do better on tests. Instead, keep your anxiety at a level that will help you, not hurt you, on the test.

Here are some suggestions for how to control your anxiety:

1. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the test, find a seat, and get settled. Don’t be in a rush. This may make you anxious during the test.

2. Have a plan for the test. Plan your test-taking ahead of time. The suggestions given here can help you plan for the types of questions you will have on the test. You will feel confident about the test if you have a plan.

3. Take good care of yourself before the test. Good physical care includes the following:
Get a good night’s rest before the test.
Eat to do well on the test. Have a protein-filled dinner the night before the test, and a meal high in complex carbohydrates such as pasta before the test. Caffeine and sugar filled snacks before and during the test can increase your anxiety. Eat fruit instead.

Good emotional care includes the following:

Relax before the test. Study carefully, ahead of time. If you cram’ at the last minute, you’re likely to end up very tense.  Avoid your significant other before the test. You may be frazzled and upset. You two could have a disagreement, which will not help you concentrate on the test!

4. Don’t talk to others before the test. Anxiety is easy to spread. If you are not anxious already, you might become so.

5. Relax during the test. Some tension is normal and can help you focus and do well, so accept it. These exercises can help keep the tension at an acceptable level. Take several slow, deep breaths. Exhale as you let your shoulders drop slowly. Here’s an exercise that may help you relax during the test. Turn your head slowly in a circle — right ear to right shoulder, head back, left ear to left shoulder, head forward. Try it.

Some students use test anxiety as an excuse to not prepare. They feel that because they will worry during tests anyway, why study? This is not a helpful way to think. After all, if you prepare well, you should be able to pay attention to the test and do well.

Is test anxiety a problem that you can’t seem to overcome? Talk to someone about it. Speak to your teachers or guidance counselors. They may be able to help you or refer you to someone else who can.