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Bringing Confidence to Your Essay Tests

Successful test takers have a positive attitude, knowledge of test content material and good test-taking skills. When writing an essay test, it is important to construct good paragraphs. A paragraph should begin with a topic sentence and then follow with supporting sentences.

Avoid careless mistakes and mechanical errors caused by not reading questions carefully. Read the question twice for understanding. You should be able to correctly identify what the question is asking -- e.g., analysis of information or compare and contrast. An accurate understanding of what the question is asking is critical to answering essay questions successfully.

Essay tests require that you spread out your test time according to the number of questions asked. This enables you to write adequate amounts of information on all questions, instead of a lot of information on only a couple of questions.

You should attack an essay test by writing a very brief outline of what you intend to write. This will keep you on track and will help you avoid omitting important information. Link paragraphs with connecting words or phrases to maintain continuity and clarity in your answer. And don't filibuster.