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Critical thinking II

| Memorizing | December 11, 2011

Second stage exercise in critical thinking:

Critical thinking studies a topic or problem with open-mindedness.
This exercise outlines the second stage of applying a critical thinking approach to developing and understanding a topic.

With the second stage:

    • Refine/revise the topic
      either narrowing or broadening it according to outcomes of research
    • Rank or indicate the importance
      of three sources of research
    • Clarify any opinion, prejudice, or bias their authors have
      While an opinion is a belief or attitude toward someone or some thing,
      a prejudice is preconceived opinion without basis of fact
      while bias is an opinion based on fact or research.
    • Identify key words and concepts that seem to repeat
      Is there vocabulary you need to define?
      Are there concepts you need to understand better?
    • In reviewing your research, are there
      Sequences or patterns that emerge?
      Oposing points of view, contradictions, or facts that don’t “fit?”
      Summarize two points of view that you need to address
    • What questions remain to be answered?

Critical thinking, first stage helped you to

    • Develop a statement of the topic
    • List what you understand, what you’ve been told
      and what opinions you hold about it
    • Identify resources available for research
    • Define timelines and due dates
      and how they affect the development of your study
    • Print the list as your reference

With this second exercise,
think in terms of how you would demonstrate your learning for your topic
How would you create a test on what you have learned?
How would you best explain or demonstrate your findings?
From simple to more complex (1-6) learning operations:

  1. List, label, identify: demonstrate knowledge
  2. Define, explain, summarize in your own words: Comprehend/understand
  3. Solve, apply to a new situation: Apply what you have learned
  4. Compare and contrast, differentiate between items: analyze
  5. Create, combine, invent: Synthesize
  6. Assess, recommend, value: Evaluate and explain why


Summary of critical thinking:

    • Determine the facts of a new situation or subject
      without prejudice
    • Place these facts and information in a pattern
      so that you can understand and explain them
    • Accept or reject your resource values and conclusions
      based upon your experience, judgment, and beliefs

Preparing for and taking math exams

| Test taking | December 11, 2011

Preparation:

    • Begin preparing early
      Pay attention during class: every minute you daydream in class is many more minutes of studying later.
      Do assigned homework problems: math is a building process and in order to understand the next step you need to comprehend the present, and previous, ones
    • Simulate test conditions
      After you have studied and think you know the material, practice it under test conditions. Solve unassigned homework problems and see if you can finish them in the allotted time for the exam
    • Know your professor
      Study a copy of the exam of a previous class if available;
      Talk with someone who taken the professor before, preferably someone who has succeeded in the same class
    • Form a study group of 3-4 dedicated students
      Not only will other students be able to help you with problems, but by helping others you will better learn the material. If you are unable teach another student a topic you believe you know, chances are you don’t know that topic very well after all. If you can’t teach it, you don’t know it!

Testing:

    • Read through the exam
      Reading through the whole exam you can

      1. know what is expected of you
      2. prioritize items on the test
      3. pace yourself.
    • Carefully read the instructions
      Make sure you are answering the question that is being asked!
      Often students know how to solve a problem, but they misread or misinterpret the question itself
    • Check that you have correctly rewritten the problem
      If you use a scratch piece of paper make sure that you correctly rewrite the problem.
      Don’t skip steps. Start from the beginning;
    • Clearly write each step of the solution
      Be neat and don’t rush writing numbers down.
      Keep checking your solution as you are working.
      Neatness makes it easier to recheck your work;
    • Double check your math, especially your calculator entries
      Double check your calculator work immediately.
      The chances of hitting a wrong number are high, but the chances of hitting the same wrong number are not;
    • Don’t Dilly Dally
      If you get stuck on a problem move on and come back to it later.
      When you are finished, recheck all your work

Short answer tests

| Test taking | December 11, 2011

A teacher’s primary purpose
in giving a short-answer test is to test whether you have a foundation of knowing the material, usually factual.

Prepare for the test
Develop summary sheets of the course material information.
Focus on key words, events, vocabulary, concepts
Organize and categorize the material, then review

When taking the test

    • Respond directly to the question or directive
      Focus on keywords and ideas called for
      Eliminate those that do not directly address the information requested in the test item
    • Respond and write concise answers
      Connect key facts into short sentences according to the test instructions
    • If you can think of several answers
      let the instructor know. The instructor may give you a clue to the correct answer he/she’s looking for
    • A guess made with common sense
      could get you more test points than if you leave an answer blank

Directives for essays, reports, tests..

| Test taking | December 11, 2011

“Directives” ask you to answer, or present information, in a particular way.
Review these, and most of all note that there are different ways
of answering a question or writing a paper!

Compare:
Examine qualities, or characteristics, to discover resemblances. “Compare” is usually stated as “compare with”: you are to emphasize similarities, although differences may be mentioned.

Contrast:
Stress dissimilarities, differences, or unlikeness of things, qualities, events, or problems.

Criticize:
Express your judgment or correctness or merit. Discuss the limitations and good points or contributions of the plan or work in question.

Define:
Definitions call for concise, clear, authoritative meanings. Details are not required but limitations of the definition should be briefly cited. You must keep in mind the class to which a thing belongs and whatever differentiates the particular object from all others in the class.

Describe:
In a descriptive answer you should recount, characterize, sketch or relate in narrative form.

Diagram:
For a question which specifies a diagram you should present a drawing, chart, plan, or graphic representation in your answer. Generally you are expected to label the diagram and in some cases add a brief explanation or description.

Discuss:
The term discuss, which appears often in essay questions, directs you to examine, analyze carefully, and present considerations pro and con regarding the problems or items involved. This type of question calls for a complete and entailed answer.

Enumerate:
The word enumerate specifies a list or outline form of reply. In such questions you should recount, one by one, in concise form, the points required.

Evaluate:
In an evaluation question you are expected to present a careful appraisal of the problem stressing both advantages and limitations. Evaluation implies authoritative and, to a lesser degree, personal appraisal of both contributions and limitations.

Explain:
In explanatory answers it is imperative that you clarify and interpret the material you present. In such an answer it is best to state the “how or why,” reconcile any differences in opinion or experimental results, and, where possible, state causes. The aim is to make plain the conditions which give rise to whatever you are examining.

Illustrate:
A question which asks you to illustrate usually requires you to explain or clarify your answer to the problem by presenting a figure, picture, diagram, or concrete example.

Interpret:
An interpretation question is similar to one requiring explanation. You are expected to translate, exemplify, solve, or comment upon the subject and usually to give your judgment or reaction to the problem.

Justify:
When you are instructed to justify your answer you must prove or show grounds for decisions. In such an answer, evidence should be presented in convincing form.

List:
Listing is similar to enumeration. You are expected in such questions to present an itemized series or tabulation. Such answers should always be given in concise form.

Outline:
An outline answer is organized description. You should give main points and essential supplementary materials, omitting minor details, and present the information in a systematic arrangement or classification.

Prove:
A question which requires proof is one which demands confirmation or verification. In such discussions you should establish something with certainty by evaluating and citing experimental evidence or by logical reasoning.

Relate:
In a question which asks you to show the relationship or to relate, your answer should emphasize connections and associations in descriptive form.

Review:
A review specifies a critical examination. You should analyze and comment briefly in organized sequence upon the major points of the problem.

State:
In questions which direct you to specify, give, state, or present, you are called upon to express the high points in brief, clear narrative form. Details, and usually illustrations or examples, may be omitted.

Summarize:
When you are asked to summarize or present a summarization, you should give in condensed form the main points or facts. All details, illustrations and elaboration are to be omitted.

Trace:
When a question asks you to trace a course of events, you are to give a description of progress, historical sequence, or development from the point of origin. Such narratives may call for probing or for deduction

Constructing multiple choice tests

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

What happens:Learner

  • Reads an incomplete statement or a question, also called the “stem”
  • Reads three to five alternatives, including
    the incorrect options, also called the “distractors”
    the correct option, also called the “keyed response”
  • Marks his or her choice

How to develop:

  • Outline the core content that the test will cover
  • Identify and prioritize key points, tasks
  • Write out a series of stems
    (The question format is generally is less ambiguous than the completion format)
  • Write keyed responses in a clear, grammatical sentence
    that follows the format of the stems
  • Develop alternatives or distractors that follow the grammatical style,
    are consistent in length, and avoid quoting the content of the course

When/how to use:

  • Appropriate for all levels of cognitive ability
  • Objective
  • Useful for automated scoring
  • Useful for item analysis, internal and over time

Ideal test items and stems:

  • Use simple, direct language to present direct, core information for analysis, comparison, evaluation, etc.
    (avoid cleverness, trickery, and verbal complexity)
  • Include as much of the item as possible in the stem
    (avoids repeated information and briefer alternatives)
  • Present unique content
    Do not build upon other questions
    Do not supply answers to other questions
  • Avoid negative stems
    IF negatives are necessary, they are emphasized with underlined, bolded, CAPITALIZED, italicized, and/or colored indicatorsfont>
  • Use either the “correct answer” or “best answer” format
    Correct answer: key response is clearly right and distractors are clearly wrong
    Best answer: while distractors can be relatively viable, the key response is clearly demonstrated to fulfill all conditions of the test item. Best answer should avoid “none of the above,” “both a. and e. above,” “all of the above,” options.
  • Avoid “All of the following are true, except . . .”
    unless testing for exceptions to rules
  • Paraphrase, and do not directly quote, course content to avoid burdening students with detailed verbal analyses, to maintain focus on differentiating, as well as to avoid copyright issues
  • Qualify significant information at the beginning of the stem:
    Background, opinions, etc,: “According to…., ….”
  • Do not introduce unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts in the test unless there is a relevant stated purpose in the test directions

Alternatives:

  • Avoid generalizations that are open to interpretation
  • Use the number of alternatives appropriate to a test item throughout the test, generally three to five (no necessity to use a consistent number throughout the test)
  • Sequence alternatives in logical or numerical order;
    Should there be no order, randomly assign correct answers in the sequence
  • List alternatives on separate lines, indent, separate by blank line, use letters vs. numbers for alternative answers
  • Pay attention to grammatical consistency of all alternatives

Keyed (correct) responses

  • Vary position in sequence of alternatives

Distractors

  • Include common misconceptions as distractors
  • Include plausible content or viable cues in each distractor
    Consider optional testing formats if distractors are difficult to develop
    Avoid meaningless, even humorous distractors
  • Re-use key words from the correct alternative to make distractors more viable
  • Avoid “All of the above”
    One incorrect distractor eliminates it; two correct distractors identify it
  • Use “None of the above” as an effective option for factual information (historical dates, math, etc.) to make a question more challenging
  • Do not use with a negative stem since it becomes a double-negative
  • Do not use “None of the above” in a “best answer” question

Avoiding cheating:

  • Develop a pool of questions
  • Generate several optional tests
  • Distribute randomly

Types of Multiple-choice questions:

Base questions upon, and preceded by, a statement, image, map, chart, etc.
Can accommodate alternative learning styles

Use the Roman Type for comparisons and contrasts
Test stem includes two options, each preceded by a (Roman) numeral.
Alternatives present optional combinations:

Example:

Which of the following is (are) accurate about…?

  1. First option
  2. Second option
    1. I only
    2. II only
    3. Both I and II.
    4. Neither I nor II

Multiple choice tests

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

Multiple choice questions usually include a phrase or stem
followed by three to five options:

Test strategies:

    • Read the directions carefully
      Know if each question has one or more correct option
      Know if you are penalized for guessing
      Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy)
    • Preview the test
      Read through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first
      Mark those you think you know in some way that is appropriate
    • Read through the test a second time and answer more difficult questions
      You may pick up cues for answers from the first reading, or become more comfortable in the testing situation
    • If time allows, review both questions and answers
      It is possible you mis-read questions the first time

Answering options
Improve your odds, think critically:

Cover the options, read the stem, and try to answer
Select the option that most closely matches your answer

Read the stem with each option
Treat each option as a true-false question, and choose the “most true”

Strategies for answering difficult questions:

  1. Eliminate options you know to be incorrect
    If allowed, mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option
  2. Give each option of a question the “true-false test:”
    This may reduce your selection to the best answer
  3. Question options that grammatically don’t fit with the stem
  4. Question options that are totally unfamiliar to you
  5. Question options that contain negative or absolute words.
    Try substituting a qualified term for the absolute one.
    For example,  frequently for always; or typical for every to see if you can eliminate an option
  6. “All of the above:”
    If you know two of three options seem correct, “all of the above” is a strong possibility
  7. Number answers:
    toss out the high and low and consider the middle range numbers
  8. “Look alike options”
    probably one is correct; choose the best but eliminate choices that mean basically the same thing, and thus cancel each other out
  9. Double negatives:
    Create the equivalent positive statement
  10. Echo options:
    If two options are opposite each other, chances are one of them is correct
  11. Favor options that contain qualifiers
    The result is longer, more inclusive items that better fill the role of the answer
  12. If two alternatives seem correct,
    compare them for differences,
    then refer to the stem to find your best answer

Guessing:

    • Always guess when there is no penalty
      for guessing or you can eliminate options
    • Don’t guess if you are penalized for guessing
      and if you have no basis for your choice
    • Use hints from questions you know
      to answer questions you do not.
    • Change your first answers
      when you are sure of the correction, or other cues in the test cue you to change.

Remember that you are looking for the best answer,
not only a correct one, and not one which must be true all of the time, in all cases, and without exception.

Constructing Essay Exams

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

What happens:Learner

  • Hears and reads instructions
  • Interprets the question
  • Recalls relevant information
  • Prepares a response according to the verbal directive,
    either mentally or written, either outlined or “mapped”,
  • Writes response
  • Reviews and edits if time permits

Essay tests can evaluate more complex cognitive or thinking skills
assuming that rote memory and recall tasks are assessed more appropriately through objectives tests as true-false and multiple choice questions. These cognitive challenges are reflected in the verbs of the questions themselves, from simple to complex (c.f. lists of verbs in objects…)

  1. Knowledge: recall, define, arrange, list, label, identify, match, reproduce
  2. Comprehension: describe, explain, recognize, restate, review, translate, classify; give examples; (re)state in own words
  3. Application: apply, illustrate, interpret, operate, solve, predict, utilize
  4. Analysis: analyze, compare, contrast, distinguish, examine, experiment, diagram; outline
  5. Synthesis: design, develop, formulate, propose, construct, create, reorganize, integrate, model, incorporate, plan
  6. Evaluation: evaluate, argue, assess, compare, contrast, conclude, defend, judge, support, interpret, justify

(for a complete listing of verbs in these categories.

Advantages:

  • Require students to demonstrate critical thinking
    in organizing and producing an answer beyond rote recall and memory
  • Empower students to demonstrate their knowledge
    within broad limits beyond the restraint of objective tests (true false, multiple choice)
  • Allows learners to demonstrate originality and creativity
  • Reduces preparation time in developing,
    as well as distributing, a test, especially for small number of students
  • Presents more possibilities for diagnosis

Disadvantages:

  • Grading is often subjective and not consistent, colored by
    preconceptions of student, prior performance, time of day, neatness and handwriting, spelling and grammar, and where the actual test falls in
  • Can be a limited sampling of content
  • Good writing requires time to think,
    organize, write and revise
  • Time consuming to correct
  • Advantageous for students with good writing and verbal skills
    as opposed to those who have alternative learning styles (visual and kinesthetic)
  • Essay questions are not always properly developed
    to assess higher thinking skills (often only test for recall and style)
  • Advantageous for students who are quick,
    as opposed to those who take time to develop an argument or may suffer from writers block

Mechanics:

  • Clearly state questions
    not only to make essay tests easier for students to answer,
    but also to make the responses easier to evaluate
  • Include a relatively larger number of questions
    requiring shorter answers in order to cover more content
  • Guard against having too many test items
    for the time allowed
  • Indicate an appropriate response length
    for each question
  • Set time limits if necessary
  • Note graded weights to questions

Ideal test items:

  • Integrate course objectives into the essay items
  • Specify and define what mental process you want the students to perform
    (e.g., analyze, synthesize, compare, contrast, etc.).
    Does not assume learner is practiced with the process
  • Start questions with an active verb
    such as “compare”, “contrast”, “explain why”;
    Offer definitions of the active verb, and even practice beforehand.
  • Avoid writing essay questions that require factual knowledge,
    as those beginning questions with interrogative pronouns
    (who, when, why, where)
  • Avoid vague, ambiguous, or non-specific verbs
    (consider, examine, discuss, explain)
    unless you include specific instructions in developing responses
  • Have each student answer all the questions
    Do not offer options for questions
  • Structure the question to minimize subjective interpretations

Directions:

  • Present the assignment both verbally and in writing.
    The initial oral plus written presentation to promote and inspire thought;
    written for reference within the test
  • Provide evaluation criteria
  • Focus on the mental activity to avoid rote answers,
    and/or repeating examples from the text
  • Teach students how to write an essay (test)
    explaining definitions of cognitive verbs
  • Teach the difference
    between presenting a position as opposed to presenting an opinion
  • Define requirements clearly
    State the number of points each question is worth
  • Warn students of possible pitfalls
    especially if you have strong ideas of what you do and do not want
  • Inform the students about how you evaluate
    misspelled words, neatness, handwriting, grammar, irrelevant material (bluffing)

Correcting:

  • Develop a model answer
    that contains all necessary points
  • Note additional content for extra points
  • Conceal or ignore students’ names in the correcting process
  • Read through the answers to one test item at a time
    without interruption
  • Sequence best through worst responses
    for verification if time permits
  • Write comments on the students’ answers,
    both affirming and correcting
  • Do not give credit for irrelevant material
  • Mix or shuffle papers to vary subject’s location
    before assessing the next test item

The Essay Exam

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

Organization and neatness have merit

Before writing out the exam:

      • Write down their key words, listings, etc, as they are fresh in your mind.
        Otherwise these ideas may be blocked (or be unavailable) when the time comes to write the later questions. This will reduce “clutching” or panic (anxiety, actually fear which disrupts thoughts).

Set up a time schedule
to answer each question and to review/edit all questions

    • If six questions are to be answered in sixty minutes,
      allow yourself only seven minutes for each
    • If questions are “weighted”,
      prioritize that into your time allocation for each question
    • When the time is up for one question, stop writing,
      leave space, and begin the next question. The incomplete answers can be completed during the review time
    • Six incomplete answers will usually receive more credit than three, complete ones

Read through the questions once and note if you have any choice in answering questions

    • Pay attention to how the question is phrased,
      or to the “directives”, or words such as “compare”, “contrast”, “criticize”, etc.
    • Answers will come to mind immediately for some questions

Before attempting to answer a question, put it in your own words

      • Now compare your version with the original.
        Do they mean the same thing? If they don’t, you’ve misread the question. You’ll be surprised how often they don’t agree.

Think before you write:
Make a brief outline for each question
Number the items in the order you will discuss them

      • Get right to the point
        State your main point in the first sentence
        Use your first paragraph to provide an overview of your essay.
        Use the rest of your essay to discuss these points in more detail.
        Back up your points with specific information, examples, or quotations from your readings and notes
        • Teachers are influenced by compactness,
          completeness and clarity of an organized answer
        • Writing in the hope
          that the right answer will somehow turn up is time-consuming and usually futile
        • To know a little and to present that little well is,
          by and large, superior to knowing much and presenting it poorly–when judged by the grade received.

Writing & answering:

Begin with a strong first sentence
that states the main idea of your essay.
Continue this first paragraph by presenting key points

Develop your argument

        • Begin each paragraph
          with a key point from the introduction
        • Develop each point
          in a complete paragraph
        • Use transitions,
          or enumerate, to connect your points
        • Hold to your time
          allocation and organization
        • Avoid very definite statements
          when possible; a qualified statement connotes a philosophic attitude, the mark of an educated person
        • Qualify answers when in doubt.
          It is better to say “toward the end of the 19th century” than to say “in 1894” when you can’t remember, whether it’s 1884 or 1894. In many cases, the approximate time is all that is wanted; unfortunately 1894, though approximate, may be incorrect, and will usually be marked accordingly.

Summarize in your last paragraph
Restate your central idea and indicate why it is important.

Review:

Complete questions left incomplete,
but allow time to review all questions

Review, edit, correct
misspellings, incomplete words and sentences, miswritten dates and numbers.

Not enough time?

Constructing true/false tests

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

What happens:Learner

  • Analyzes a statement
  • Assesses whether true or false
  • Marks an answer

When/how to use:

  • Appropriate for all levels of cognitive ability
  • Objective
  • Efficient in testing recall and comprehension of a broader content area relative to other testing strategies
  • Well suited to test recall, comprehension of simple logic or understanding, as with “if-then” “causal/because” statements
  • Not appropriate to test the ability to read or interpret complex sentences or understand complex thoughts
  • Sufficiently reliable and valid instrument:
    Its ability to include the most test items in a time frame increases its reliability.
    True false tests are less reliable than multiple choice tests unless relatively more test items are used
  • Useful for automated scoring
  • Useful for item analysis, internal and over time

Ideal test items
Critical content should be readily apparent and identified for analysis, avoiding cleverness, trickery, and verbal complexity

  • Use simple, direct language in declarative sentences
  • Present the correct part of the statement first,
    and vary the truth or falsity of the second part if the statement expresses a relationship (cause, effect–if, then)
  • Statements must be absolute without qualification,
    subject to the true/false dichotomy without exceptions
  • Every part of a true sentence must be “true”
    If any one part of the sentence is false,
    the whole sentence is false despite many other true statements.
  • Paraphrase, and do not directly quote,
    course content to avoid burdening students with detailed verbal analyses, maintain focus on differentiating, as well as avoid copyright issues
  • Include background, qualifications, and context as necesary:
    “According to…., ….”
  • In developing a question with a qualifier, negative or absolute word,
    substitute or experiment with variations to find the best phrase and assessment

Avoid

  • Unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts
  • Long strings of statements
  • Ambiguous statements and generalizations
    that are open to interpretation
  • Indefinite or subjective terms
    that are open to interpretation
    “a very large part” “a long time ago” “most”
  • Negative words and phrases: they can be confusing
    IF negatives are necessary, they are emphasized with underlined, bolded, CAPITALIZED, italicized, and/or colored indicators
    e.g.: “no” “not” “cannot”
    Drop the negative and read what remains to test your item
  • Absolute words restrict possibilities.
    These imply the statement must be true 100% of the time and usually cue a “false” answer
    e.g.: “No” “never” “none” “always” “every” “entirely” “only”
  • Relative and qualifying words restrict or open up general statements.
    They make modest claims, are more likely to reflect reality, and usually cue a “true” answer.
    e.g. “usually” “often” “seldom” “sometimes” “often” “frequently” “ordinarily” “generally”
  • Pay close attention to
    negatives, qualifiers, absolutes, and long strings of statements

Variations in answers:

  • Base questions upon introductory material,
    as graphs, images, descriptions, problems, mediated objects, etc. to
    Enhance assessment value
    Accommodate and empower those with alternative learning styles
    Evoke higher level thinking, analysis, or problem solving
  • Add an option to “True” “False” possibility, as “Opinion”
  • Ask for an elaboration on the answer, as
    “True” “False”
    If so, Why?
  • Ask for a correction to false statements

Test instructions:

  • Before the test, give clear, proactive instructions
    on what content is covered,
    level of detail, and what type of questions will be asked:
    Encourage comprehension: cause and effect, if/then, sequences,
    Avoid memorization
  • Detail exactly what must be exactly memorized:
    dates, locations, proper names, sequences
  • Be consistent in test administration over time
  • Have students indicate their answers by circling
    complete words of “true” “false” (not “t” “f”)
    Do not have students write their response of t/f or true/false to (avoids distinguishing/problems of hand writing and sloppiness)
    Avoid plus or minus signs “+” of “-“
  • Indicate how the test is scored:
    total right, or total right minus wrong?

How to develop a true/false test:

  1. Write out essential content statements
  2. Convert half to false, though not negative, statements
  3. Make true and false statements equal in length
  4. Group questions by content
  5. Build up to difficulty
    (encourage with simpler questions first)
  6. Randomize sequences of T/F responses
    Avoid a discernable pattern
  7. Vary the quantity of true/false statements from test to test
    recognizing that “true” is marked more often in guessing, and
    that assessing false statements tends to be more challenging

Limitations:

  • Scoring tends to be high
    since guessing yields a 50-50 score (half right half wrong) as a base. i.e. if there are 100 items, and the student knows the correct answer to 50, and guesses on the other half, the score will be 75 knowing only half the material.
  • Since the stem can cue a correct answer,
    guessing is enhanced without really understanding the question
  • The format does not provide diagnostic information
    on why a student got it wrong
  • It may be easy to cheat
  • Content can be simplistic and/or trivial

True/false tests

| Test taking | December 10, 2011

Exercise text without examples:

Every part of a true sentence must be “true”
If any one part of the sentence is false,
the whole sentence is false despite many other true statements.

Pay close attention to
negatives, qualifiers, absolutes, and long strings of statements

Negatives can be confusing.
If the question contains negatives, as “no, not, cannot”
Drop the negative and read what remains.
Decide whether that sentence is true or false.
If it is true, its opposite, or negative, is usually false

Qualifiers are words that restrict or open up general statements.
Words like “sometimes, often, frequently, ordinarily, generally” open up the possibilities of making accurate statements.  They make more modest claims, are more likely to reflect reality, and usually indicate “true” answers.

Absolute words restrict possibilities. 
“No, never, none, always, every, entirely, only”
imply the statement must be true 100% of the time and usually indicate “false” answers

Long sentences often include groups of words set off by punctuation. 
Pay attention to the “truth” of each of these phrases.
If one is false, it usually indicates a “false” answer

Guessing:

Often true/false tests contain more true answers than false answers.  You have more than 50% chance of being right with “true”. However, your teacher may be the opposite. Review pasts tests for patterns…

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