Test Taking Strategy

The Test-Taking Strategy

Hughes, C., Schumaker, J. Deshler, D. and Mercer, C. (1993).

The Test-Taking Strategy. Lawrence, KS; Edge Enterprises, Inc.

This strategy is taught to students using the SIM model (Strategic Instructional Model),

which is based on good and sound teaching practices.

On average, secondary tests include 32 test questions, which require 40 responses, and 3 sets of directions,

all to be completed in a 50-minute time frame. Knowing these statistics, there’s not much time to loose…

The mnemonic for the Test-Taking Strategy is “PIRATES.” You are encouraged to visualize a pirate who gets aboard a ship, goes for all the gold and quickly leaves. The same should be true for you when you enter a testing situation; go into the test, get all the possible points and exit! Below are listed the steps of the strategy and what they are all about.


Step 1: Prepare to succeed: Begin taking the test using the steps PASS:

· P: Put your name and PIRATES on the test,

· A: Allot time and order to the sections of the test,

· S: Say your affirmations and

· S: Start within two minutes

Step 2: Inspect the instructions: Use the steps RUN:

· R: Read the instructions,

· U: Underline what to do and where to do it,

· N: Note any special requirements.

Step 3: Read, Remember, Reduce: Begin to answer the questions using the techniques of

· READ the whole question,

· REMEMBER what you’ve studied, and

· REDUCE your choices, marking out the choices that you know aren’t applicable.

Step 4: Answer or Abandon: You have a choice to either answer the question or abandon it to make the best use of time. If you abandon it you must place a mark next to it to indicate you’ll come back to it. Recycle through this step answering everything you know on the test and then turning back to the questions you are unsure of.

Step 5: Turn Back: When you get to the end of the test turn back to those abandoned questions using the ACE guessing techniques described below.

Step 6: Estimate: Using the ACE guessing techniques follow the sequence of:

· Avoiding absolute words,

· Choosing the longest and most detailed answer and

· Eliminating similar choices.

Step 7: Survey: Now that you have completed all the steps, look over the test one more time to survey if you have answered all the abandoned questions and only change an answer if you are positively sure it is right. Usually, your first choice is the correct one.