12 Must Read Guidelines for Effective Nurse Test-Taking Skills It is of a fact that reviews are just a way of enhancing your knowledge and confidence for the NLE. Remember that you are knowledgeable regarding the nursing concepts and you’ve spent 4 years learning about them. But these knowledge would be futile if you yourself cannot apply effective test taking skills. Few researches have shown that examiners who fully understand test construction and who become familiar with appropriate test-taking strategies score higher than others with similar knowledge but with inadequate test-taking skills (TTS). Remember that multiple choice tests are different from tests such as essays, identifications and true/false. In multiple choice exams, the question is called the stem. The stem is followed by four alternative answers. One answer is correct, and the other three are called distractors because they distract your attention from identifying the correct answer. It is important to note that these distractors are not necessarily incorrect answers but rather they may not be as correct as as the one you are required to choose. The following are guidelines that will help you be better prepared during your examinations. 1 Do not read extra meaning into the question
Tests questions are made to be direct and to the point. The question asks for one particular response and you should not read or add other information into the question. Often you will find questions that require “common sense” answers and that reading into these questions may give you an other interpretation. You should not search for subtle meaning about the questions or answers. Ask yourself “What is the question asking?”. Look for keywords and phrases to help you understand. Interpret the question correctly first before reading into the choices. 2 Understand exactly what the stem is asking before considering the distractors Make sure you read the stem correctly. Notice particularly the way the question is phrase. Is it asking for the best response or the initial response? Understand what the question is asking. 3 Rephrase the question in your own words
This technique requires you to interpret or translate the question into your own words so that it is very clear in your own mind. Rephrasing the stem of the question can assist your read the question correctly and in turn choose the appropriate response. Placing the question into your own words would help you in removing extraneous data and get into the core of the stem. 4 When analyzing the distractors, isolate what is important in the answer alternatives from what is not important relative to the question. In a good test construction, all of the distractors should be feasible and reasonable and should apply directly to the stem. There should be a commonality in all of the distractors. Also, all of the distractors may be correct but not the right chose for the specific question that is being asked. The technique here is to ask yourself whether each possible alternative is true or false in relation to the stem. 5 After choosing the correct answer alternative and separting it form the distractors, go back to the stem and make sure your choice does, in fact, answer the question. Many test-takers fail to recheck the answer with the stem, and they answer the question incorrectly. An effective strategy is to judge all four alternative choices against the stem and not against one another.Read the stem, then check alternative 1 against the stem, then check alternative 2 against the stem and so on. This process will eliminate choosing an alternative that does not fit with the question. 6 When a question contains multiple variables as alternative choices, use the “elimination of variable” technique. Each question may pose different alternatives with several variables. Use the process of elimination. Study the question first and ask yourself what variable fits with this condition, or after examining the distractors underline the...
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