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Simple Test-Taking Techniques

As is true with any test, it is important to understand concepts. If you understand the basic thought, premise or idea, then you should be able to answer any type of question. For example, as air is heated, the molecules begin to move and expand and, consequently, warm air rises and colder air sinks. Conceptually, you understand this principle.

If you are asked a true or false question regarding the effects of heat on air or a multiple choice question covering the same concept, you should be able to answer the question because you understand the underlying concept -- the big picture. However, if you only memorized the fact that warm air rises and you really don't understand why, you may have difficulty answering any question that deals with the reason that air as a gas expands, becomes lighter and rises.

To oversimplify the point, let's assume that you only memorized "two plus two equals four." You have mastered this problem as you prepare for a test. However, instead of asking you how much "two plus two" equals, the test question states, how much is "three plus one"? Because you don't understand the concept of "what makes a four," you may have difficulty answering this question.

Objective tests typically ask specific questions. Therefore, it may be necessary to memorize certain facts, figures, names, places and dates.

Understanding Concepts + Memorization = Objective Test Success