The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Essay Exams

What this handout is about.

At some time in your undergraduate career, you’re going to have to write an essay exam. This thought can inspire a fair amount of fear: we struggle enough with essays when they aren’t timed events based on unknown questions. The goal of this handout is to give you some easy and effective strategies that will help you take control of the situation and do your best.

Why do instructors give essay exams?

Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out if you can sort through a large body of information, figure out what is important, and explain why it is important. Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you’ve practiced in the course. Instructors want to see whether:

  • You understand concepts that provide the basis for the course
  • You can use those concepts to interpret specific materials
  • You can make connections, see relationships, draw comparisons and contrasts
  • You can synthesize diverse information in support of an original assertion
  • You can justify your own evaluations based on appropriate criteria
  • You can argue your own opinions with convincing evidence
  • You can think critically and analytically about a subject

What essay questions require

Exam questions can reach pretty far into the course materials, so you cannot hope to do well on them if you do not keep up with the readings and assignments from the beginning of the course. The most successful essay exam takers are prepared for anything reasonable, and they probably have some intelligent guesses about the content of the exam before they take it. How can you be a prepared exam taker? Try some of the following suggestions during the semester:

  • Do the reading as the syllabus dictates; keeping up with the reading while the related concepts are being discussed in class saves you double the effort later.
  • Go to lectures (and put away your phone, the newspaper, and that crossword puzzle!).
  • Take careful notes that you’ll understand months later. If this is not your strong suit or the conventions for a particular discipline are different from what you are used to, ask your TA or the Learning Center for advice.
  • Participate in your discussion sections; this will help you absorb the material better so you don’t have to study as hard.
  • Organize small study groups with classmates to explore and review course materials throughout the semester. Others will catch things you might miss even when paying attention. This is not cheating. As long as what you write on the essay is your own work, formulating ideas and sharing notes is okay. In fact, it is a big part of the learning process.
  • As an exam approaches, find out what you can about the form it will take. This will help you forecast the questions that will be on the exam, and prepare for them.

These suggestions will save you lots of time and misery later. Remember that you can’t cram weeks of information into a single day or night of study. So why put yourself in that position?

Now let’s focus on studying for the exam. You’ll notice the following suggestions are all based on organizing your study materials into manageable chunks of related material. If you have a plan of attack, you’ll feel more confident and your answers will be more clear. Here are some tips: 

  • Don’t just memorize aimlessly; clarify the important issues of the course and use these issues to focus your understanding of specific facts and particular readings.
  • Try to organize and prioritize the information into a thematic pattern. Look at what you’ve studied and find a way to put things into related groups. Find the fundamental ideas that have been emphasized throughout the course and organize your notes into broad categories. Think about how different categories relate to each other.
  • Find out what you don’t know, but need to know, by making up test questions and trying to answer them. Studying in groups helps as well.

Taking the exam

Read the exam carefully.

  • If you are given the entire exam at once and can determine your approach on your own, read the entire exam before you get started.
  • Look at how many points each part earns you, and find hints for how long your answers should be.
  • Figure out how much time you have and how best to use it. Write down the actual clock time that you expect to take in each section, and stick to it. This will help you avoid spending all your time on only one section. One strategy is to divide the available time according to percentage worth of the question. You don’t want to spend half of your time on something that is only worth one tenth of the total points.
  • As you read, make tentative choices of the questions you will answer (if you have a choice). Don’t just answer the first essay question you encounter. Instead, read through all of the options. Jot down really brief ideas for each question before deciding.
  • Remember that the easiest-looking question is not always as easy as it looks. Focus your attention on questions for which you can explain your answer most thoroughly, rather than settle on questions where you know the answer but can’t say why.

Analyze the questions

  • Decide what you are being asked to do. If you skim the question to find the main “topic” and then rush to grasp any related ideas you can recall, you may become flustered, lose concentration, and even go blank. Try looking closely at what the question is directing you to do, and try to understand the sort of writing that will be required.
  • Focus on what you do know about the question, not on what you don’t.
  • Look at the active verbs in the assignment—they tell you what you should be doing. We’ve included some of these below, with some suggestions on what they might mean. (For help with this sort of detective work, see the Writing Center handout titled Reading Assignments.)

Information words, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject. Information words may include:

  • define—give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning.
  • explain why/how—give reasons why or examples of how something happened.
  • illustrate—give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject.
  • summarize—briefly cover the important ideas you learned about the subject.
  • trace—outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form.
  • research—gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you’ve found.

Relation words ask you to demonstrate how things are connected. Relation words may include:

  • compare—show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different).
  • contrast—show how two or more things are dissimilar.
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation.
  • cause—show how one event or series of events made something else happen.
  • relate—show or describe the connections between things.

Interpretation words ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Don’t see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation. Interpretation words may include:

  • prove, justify—give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth.
  • evaluate, respond, assess—state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons (you may want to compare your subject to something else).
  • support—give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe).
  • synthesize—put two or more things together that haven’t been put together before; don’t just summarize one and then the other, and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together (as opposed to compare and contrast—see above).
  • analyze—look closely at the components of something to figure out how it works, what it might mean, or why it is important.
  • argue—take a side and defend it (with proof) against the other side.

Plan your answers

Think about your time again. How much planning time you should take depends on how much time you have for each question and how many points each question is worth. Here are some general guidelines: 

  • For short-answer definitions and identifications, just take a few seconds. Skip over any you don’t recognize fairly quickly, and come back to them when another question jogs your memory.
  • For answers that require a paragraph or two, jot down several important ideas or specific examples that help to focus your thoughts.
  • For longer answers, you will need to develop a much more definite strategy of organization. You only have time for one draft, so allow a reasonable amount of time—as much as a quarter of the time you’ve allotted for the question—for making notes, determining a thesis, and developing an outline.
  • For questions with several parts (different requests or directions, a sequence of questions), make a list of the parts so that you do not miss or minimize one part. One way to be sure you answer them all is to number them in the question and in your outline.
  • You may have to try two or three outlines or clusters before you hit on a workable plan. But be realistic—you want a plan you can develop within the limited time allotted for your answer. Your outline will have to be selective—not everything you know, but what you know that you can state clearly and keep to the point in the time available.

Again, focus on what you do know about the question, not on what you don’t.

Writing your answers

As with planning, your strategy for writing depends on the length of your answer:

  • For short identifications and definitions, it is usually best to start with a general identifying statement and then move on to describe specific applications or explanations. Two sentences will almost always suffice, but make sure they are complete sentences. Find out whether the instructor wants definition alone, or definition and significance. Why is the identification term or object important?
  • For longer answers, begin by stating your forecasting statement or thesis clearly and explicitly. Strive for focus, simplicity, and clarity. In stating your point and developing your answers, you may want to use important course vocabulary words from the question. For example, if the question is, “How does wisteria function as a representation of memory in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom?” you may want to use the words wisteria, representation, memory, and Faulkner) in your thesis statement and answer. Use these important words or concepts throughout the answer.
  • If you have devised a promising outline for your answer, then you will be able to forecast your overall plan and its subpoints in your opening sentence. Forecasting impresses readers and has the very practical advantage of making your answer easier to read. Also, if you don’t finish writing, it tells your reader what you would have said if you had finished (and may get you partial points).
  • You might want to use briefer paragraphs than you ordinarily do and signal clear relations between paragraphs with transition phrases or sentences.
  • As you move ahead with the writing, you may think of new subpoints or ideas to include in the essay. Stop briefly to make a note of these on your original outline. If they are most appropriately inserted in a section you’ve already written, write them neatly in the margin, at the top of the page, or on the last page, with arrows or marks to alert the reader to where they fit in your answer. Be as neat and clear as possible.
  • Don’t pad your answer with irrelevancies and repetitions just to fill up space. Within the time available, write a comprehensive, specific answer.
  • Watch the clock carefully to ensure that you do not spend too much time on one answer. You must be realistic about the time constraints of an essay exam. If you write one dazzling answer on an exam with three equally-weighted required questions, you earn only 33 points—not enough to pass at most colleges. This may seem unfair, but keep in mind that instructors plan exams to be reasonably comprehensive. They want you to write about the course materials in two or three or more ways, not just one way. Hint: if you finish a half-hour essay in 10 minutes, you may need to develop some of your ideas more fully.
  • If you run out of time when you are writing an answer, jot down the remaining main ideas from your outline, just to show that you know the material and with more time could have continued your exposition.
  • Double-space to leave room for additions, and strike through errors or changes with one straight line (avoid erasing or scribbling over). Keep things as clean as possible. You never know what will earn you partial credit.
  • Write legibly and proofread. Remember that your instructor will likely be reading a large pile of exams. The more difficult they are to read, the more exasperated the instructor might become. Your instructor also cannot give you credit for what they cannot understand. A few minutes of careful proofreading can improve your grade.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in writing essay exams is that you have a limited amount of time and space in which to get across the knowledge you have acquired and your ability to use it. Essay exams are not the place to be subtle or vague. It’s okay to have an obvious structure, even the five-paragraph essay format you may have been taught in high school. Introduce your main idea, have several paragraphs of support—each with a single point defended by specific examples, and conclude with a restatement of your main point and its significance.

Some physiological tips

Just think—we expect athletes to practice constantly and use everything in their abilities and situations in order to achieve success. Yet, somehow many students are convinced that one day’s worth of studying, no sleep, and some well-placed compliments (“Gee, Dr. So-and-so, I really enjoyed your last lecture”) are good preparation for a test. Essay exams are like any other testing situation in life: you’ll do best if you are prepared for what is expected of you, have practiced doing it before, and have arrived in the best shape to do it. You may not want to believe this, but it’s true: a good night’s sleep and a relaxed mind and body can do as much or more for you as any last-minute cram session. Colleges abound with tales of woe about students who slept through exams because they stayed up all night, wrote an essay on the wrong topic, forgot everything they studied, or freaked out in the exam and hyperventilated. If you are rested, breathing normally, and have brought along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks that you can eat or drink quietly, you are in a much better position to do a good job on the test. You aren’t going to write a good essay on something you figured out at 4 a.m. that morning. If you prepare yourself well throughout the semester, you don’t risk your whole grade on an overloaded, undernourished brain.

If for some reason you get yourself into this situation, take a minute every once in a while during the test to breathe deeply, stretch, and clear your brain. You need to be especially aware of the likelihood of errors, so check your essays thoroughly before you hand them in to make sure they answer the right questions and don’t have big oversights or mistakes (like saying “Hitler” when you really mean “Churchill”).

If you tend to go blank during exams, try studying in the same classroom in which the test will be given. Some research suggests that people attach ideas to their surroundings, so it might jog your memory to see the same things you were looking at while you studied.

Try good luck charms. Bring in something you associate with success or the support of your loved ones, and use it as a psychological boost.

Take all of the time you’ve been allotted. Reread, rework, and rethink your answers if you have extra time at the end, rather than giving up and handing the exam in the minute you’ve written your last sentence. Use every advantage you are given.

Remember that instructors do not want to see you trip up—they want to see you do well. With this in mind, try to relax and just do the best you can. The more you panic, the more mistakes you are liable to make. Put the test in perspective: will you die from a poor performance? Will you lose all of your friends? Will your entire future be destroyed? Remember: it’s just a test.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. 2016. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing , 11th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Fowler, Ramsay H., and Jane E. Aaron. 2016. The Little, Brown Handbook , 13th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Gefvert, Constance J. 1988. The Confident Writer: A Norton Handbook , 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Kirszner, Laurie G. 1988. Writing: A College Rhetoric , 2nd ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Woodman, Leonara, and Thomas P. Adler. 1988. The Writer’s Choices , 2nd ed. Northbrook, Illinois: Scott Foresman.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

Education Corner

Essay Test Preparation Tips and Strategies

Photo of author

Essay test questions can be very intimidating, but they can also be very rewarding. Unlike other types of exams (i.e., multiple choice, true or false, etc.) essay tests allow you develop an answer based on your understanding or knowledge.

If you’ve studied all semester, understand the course concepts, and have reviewed prior to the test, the following strategies can help you improve your performance on essay tests and exams.

Strategies to Help You Improve Your Performance on Essay Tests and Exams

Read the directions.

Reading the directions seems so obvious. Unfortunately, it’s still one of the biggest test taking mistakes students make. Before answering an essay question, thoroughly read the instructions. Do not jump to the answer without being sure of what exactly the question is asking. In many cases, the teacher is looking for specific types of responses. Never assume you know what is being asked, or what is required, until you’ve read the entire question.

Ask for clarification

Read essay questions in their entirety before preparing an answer. If the instructions are unclear, or you simply don’t understand a question, ask the teacher for clarification. Chances are if you’re confused so is someone else. Never be scared to ask for clarification from your teacher or instructor.

Provide detail

Provide as many details and specific examples when answering an essay question as you can. Teachers are usually looking for very specific responses to see whether or not you’ve learned the material. The more relevant detail you provide, the higher grade is likely to be. However, only include correct, accurate and relevant information. Including irrelevant “filler” that doesn’t support your answer will likely lower your grade.

Budget your time

Manage your time wisely when answering essay questions so you are able answer all the questions, not just the easy or hard ones. If you finish your test before time is up, go back and review your answers and provide additional details.

We recommend answering those essay questions you’re most familiar with first and then tackling more challenging questions after. It’s also not uncommon on essay tests for some questions to be worth more than others. When budgeting your time, make sure to allocate more time to those questions that are worth the most.

Follow the instructions

When a question is only requiring facts, be sure to avoid sharing opinions. Only provide the information the instructions request. It’s important to provide an answer that matches the type of essay question being asked. You’ll find a list of common types of essay questions at the bottom of this page.

In your answers, get to the point and be very clear. It is generally best to be as concise as possible. If you provide numerous facts or details, be sure they’re related to the question. A typical essay answer should be between 200 and 800 words (2-8 paragraphs) but more isn’t necessarily better. Focus on substance over quantity.

Write clearly and legibly

Be sure your essays are legible and easy to understand. If a teacher has a difficult time reading or understanding what you’ve written, you could receive a lower score.

Get organized

Organize your thoughts before answering your essay question. We even recommend developing a short outline before preparing your answer. This strategy will help you save time and keep your essay organized. Organizing your thoughts and preparing a short outline will allow you to write more clearly and concisely.

Get to the point – Focus on substance

Only spend time answering the question and keep your essays focused. An overly long introduction and conclusion can be unnecessary. If your essay does not thoroughly answer the question and provide substance, a well developed introduction or conclusion will do you no good.

Use paragraphs to separate ideas

When developing your essay, keep main ideas and other important details separated with paragraphs. An essay response should have three parts: the introduction; the body; and the conclusion. The introduction is typically one paragraph, as is the conclusion. The body of the essay usually consists of 2 to 6 paragraphs depending on the type of essay and the information being presented.

Go back and review

If time permits, review your answers and make changes if necessary. Make sure you employed correct grammar and that your essays are well written. It’s not uncommon to make silly mistakes your first time through your essay. Reviewing your work is always a good idea.

Approximate

When you are unsure of specific dates, just approximate dates. For example, if you know an event occurred sometime during the 1820’s, then just write, “in the early 1800’s.”

Common Question Types on Essay Exams

Being able to identify and becoming familiar with the most common types of essay test questions is key to improving performance on essay exams. The following are 5 of the most common question types you’ll find on essay exams.

1. Identify

Identify essay questions ask for short, concise answers and typically do not require a fully developed essay.

  • Ask yourself: “What is the idea or concept in question?”, “What are the main characteristics?”, “What does this mean?”
  • Keywords to look for: Summarize, List, Describe, Define, Enumerate, State
  • Example question: “Define what is meant by ‘separation of church and state.'”

Explain essay questions require a full-length essay with a fully developed response that provides ample supporting detail.

  • Ask yourself: “What are the main points?”, “Why is this the case?”
  • Keywords to look for: Discuss, Explain, Analyze, Illustrate
  • Example question: “Discuss the differences between the political views of democrats and republicans. Use specific examples from each party’s 2017 presidential campaign to argue which views are more in line with U.S. national interests.”

Compare essay questions require an analysis in essay form which focuses on similarities, differences, and connections between specific ideas or concepts.

  • Ask yourself: “What are the main concepts or ideas?”, “What are the similarities?”, “What are the differences?”
  • Keywords to look for: Compare, Contrast, Relate
  • Example question: “Compare the value of attending a community college to the value of attending a 4-year university. Which would you rather attend?”

Argue essay questions require you to form an opinion or take a position on an issue and defend your position against alternative positions using arguments backed by analysis and information.

  • Ask yourself: “Is this position correct?”, “Why is this issue true?”
  • Keywords to look for: Prove, Justify
  • Example question: “Argue whether robotics will replace blue collar manufacturing jobs in the next ten years.”

Assess essay questions involve assessing an issue, idea or question by describing acceptable criteria and defending a position/judgment on the issue.

  • Ask yourself: “What is the main idea/issue and what does it mean?”, “Why is the issue important?”, “What are its strengths?”, “What are the weaknesses?”
  • Keywords to look for: Evaluate, Criticize, Evaluate, Interpret
  • Example question: “With respect to U.S. national security, evaluate the benefit of constructing a wall along the southern border of the United States of America.”

Similar Posts:

  • Guide on College and University Admissions
  • Preschool – Everything You Need to Know
  • How to Handle the Transition from High School to College

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Page Content
  • Sidebar Content
  • Main Navigation
  • Quick links

Back to Section Home

  • All TIP Sheets
  • Taking Lecture Notes
  • Study Tips for Biology Classes
  • How to Study for Tests
  • Working Successfully with a Study Group
  • Avoiding Test Anxiety
  • Multiple Choice and Other Objective Tests

Essay Tests

  • Take-Home and Open-Book Tests
  • Plan Ahead: Studying for Finals

TIP Sheet HOW TO TAKE ESSAY TESTS

There are basically two types of exams:

Objective - requires answers of a word or short phrase, or the selection of an answer from several available choices that are provided on the test . Essay - requires answers to be written out at some length. The student functions as the source of information.

An essay exam requires you to see the significance and meaning of what you know. It tests your knowledge and understanding of the subject and your skill in reading and writing. To be successful on an essay exam, you must:

  • Prove immediately that you know the material.
  • Make your meaning unmistakably clear.
  • Employ a reasonable organization and show sufficient thought development.
  • Make every word count.
  • Be specific.
  • Use your own voice and style.

When you are writing an essay as part of an exam, all this must be done within what amounts to a first draft written in a very limited amount of time. As with all writing, if you think of your essay as being produced in three stages, you can tackle the test in an organized fashion. The three stages are pre-writing, writing, and revision. Suggestions for each of these stages follow.

The last section addresses preparation for essay exams. PRE-WRITING

Your first impulse in a writing exam is probably to read the question and start writing immediately, especially when you see those seconds ticking away on the clock. RESIST THAT IMPULSE! You can't successfully address the subject until you know precisely what you're required to do, you understand and have thought about the subject, and you are organized in how you approach the specific points you wish to make in your answer. 1.  Understanding what to do:

  • When you get your copy of the exam, read through to make sure you understand what is expected of you. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY!
  • Underline or circle key words that direct the approach your answer should take. Some of the most common key words are:

Agree/Disagree : State your position and support it with facts Comment or Evaluate: State your position and support it with facts, discussing the issue and its merits. Analyze : Break down into all the parts or divisions looking at the relationships between them. Compare/Contrast : Show differences and similarities. Describe/Discuss : Examine in detail. Explain : Tell why something is as it is. Illustrate : Give examples and relate them to the statement in question. Prove/Defend : Demonstrate why something is true. Interpret : Explain the significance or meaning of something. List/State : Make a list of points or facts. Summarize : Hit the high points.

2.  Understanding the subject

  • When you are confident that you understand the instructions, direct your attention to the topic.
  • Collect your ideas.
  • Formulate a thesis. Make sure it is a strong, concise statement that specifically addresses the question.
  • Think of as many specific details and facts as you can that support the thesis.

3.  Getting organized

  • Jot your ideas down on paper, in very brief format.
  • Evaluate your ideas in light of the question. Ask yourself repeatedly: "Does this apply to the question I'm supposed to answer?" Select only those ideas most relevant to your purpose.
  • Number your ideas in order of appropriate sequence (first step to last step, most important to least important, etc.)

1.  Remember your thesis. Now stick to it, referring back to it periodically throughout your essay. This gives your essay unity and coherence, and helps insure that you are not digressing. 2.  Write in an orderly fashion. If you suddenly think of a new point, jot it down in a margin or on scratch paper until you find an appropriate place for it. Don't just put it into the middle of what you were writing. 3. Avoid:

  • Repeating, in other words, what you have already said.
  • Digressing into material that does not answer the question.
  • Language that is too broad or general. Be specific.
  • Bluffing. This far too common practice of using elegant but empty language to conceal ignorance or lack of effort rarely works, and often irritates the reader(s).
  • Write as legibly as you can. If you want, write on every other line so you have room to add later. When you want to cross something off, simply draw a straight line through it. This is much better than scribbling out an entire passage.
  • If you run out of time, simply write "Ran out of time" at the close of the essay. This is much better than adding a hurriedly tacked on, and possibly incoherent, conclusion.

Essay examinations are difficult because of the time pressures, yet you should always try to leave a few minutes at the end to proofread your essay. 1.  Ask yourself, before you hand in the essay:

  • Did I provide the information requested? That is, did I "explain" or "define" as the directions asked?
  • Is the answer simply, clearly, and logically organized?
  • Do I stick to my thesis statement? Is there unnecessary information in here?
  • Did I proofread to check content and/or mechanical errors?

2.  Proofreading:

  • Gives you a chance to catch and correct errors in content.
  • Gives you a chance to correct your mechanical errors.
  • Allows you to add material that may have occurred to you after writing the essay.

3.  You should proofread for:

  • Complete sentences (watch for fragments, comma-splices, and run-ons).
  • Words omitted, or one word used when you meant another.
  • Logical transitions between sentences and paragraphs.
  • Unnecessary repetition of words or ideas.
  • Spelling errors.

3.  Essay type tests depend a great deal on your basic writing skills - organization, punctuation, grammar, and spelling. If your answer is not clearly written, your instructor won't be able to find it! Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you take an essay test:

  • Read the directions carefully! Read every part of the directions!
  • Give yourself time to answer each question. Quickly look over the entire exam and budget your time per question accordingly.
  • Above all, stay calm. You are being asked to show competence, not perfection.
  • If you are not too sure about one question, leave it and go back.
  • When given a choice, answer the questions you know best.
  • State your points and support ideas clearly - don't make the instructor have to look for them.
  • Go back to check and proofread all of your answers.

PREPARING FOR ESSAY EXAMS

WRITING A SUCCESSFUL ESSAY EXAM BEGINS ON DAY ONE 1.  Study regularly as you go along.

  • Take careful lecture notes.
  • Read all material when assigned.
  • Become familiar with vocabulary.
  • Keep a study list of all main ideas.

2.  Final preparation

  • Review lecture notes and reading material.
  • Find a classmate or friend willing to talk over key ideas and implications.
  • Try to anticipate questions . This is very important!  Use your lecture notes to zero in on points that the instructor emphasized.
  • Think through the material and write up the best possible essay questions you can.
  • Then answer those questions.
  • Pinpoint key points that you would like to make when answering each question.
  • Put your answer into outline form or write it out completely.
  • For each potential test question, use mnemonics or other memory techniques to move the information to your long-term memory for the exam.
  • Create a list of the clue words for each point you wish to make.
  • Create a mnemonic device to memorize those points.

3.  Come to the exam confident that you have something specific to say on all possible topics. KEY WORDS COMMONLY FOUND ON ESSAY EXAMS

Compare: Look for qualities or characteristics that resemble each other. Emphasize similarities among them, but in some cases also mention differences.

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

Criticize: Express your judgement about the merit or truth of the factors or views mentioned. Give the results of your analysis of these factors, discussing their limitations and good points.

Define: Give concise, clear, and authoritative meanings. Don't give details, but make sure to give the limits of the definitions. Show how the thing you are defining differs from things in other classes.

Describe: Recount, characterize, sketch, or relate in sequence or story form.

Diagram: Give a drawing, chart, plan, or graphic answer. Usually you should label a diagram. In some cases, add a brief explanation or description.

Discuss: Examine, analyze carefully, and give reasons pro and con. Be complete, and give details.

Enumerate: Write in list or outline form, giving points concisely one by one.

Evaluate: Carefully appraise the problem, citing both advantages and limitations. Emphasize the appraisal of authorities and, to lesser degree, your personal evaluation.

Explain: Clarify, interpret, and spell out the material you present. Give reasons for differences of opinion or of results, and try to analyze causes.

Illustrate: Use a figure, picture, diagram, or concrete example to explain or clarify a problem.

Interpret: Translate, give examples of, solve, or comment on, a subject, usually giving your judgment about it.

Justify: Prove or give reasons for decisions or conclusions, taking pains to be convincing.

List: As in "enumerate," write an itemized series of concise statements.

Outline: Organize a description under main points and subordinate points, omitting minor details and stressing the arrangement or classification of things.

Prove: Establish that something is true by citing factual evidence or giving clear logical reasons.

Relate: Show how things are related to, or connected with, each other or how one causes another, or is like another.

Review: Examine a subject critically, analyzing and commenting on the important statements to be made about it.

Sketch: means "break down into its component parts."

State: Present the main points in brief, clear sequence, usually omitting details, illustrations, or examples.

Summarize: Give the main points or facts in condensed form, like the summary of a chapter, omitting details and illustrations.

Trace: In narrative form describe progress, development, or historical events from some point of origin.

Identify or characterize: means "distinguish this term, or this person from all others that are similar." Both are clear injunctions to be as specific as possible.

Illustrate or exemplify: means "giving examples," showing thereby, rather than by definition, that you understand the concept. TRANSITIONAL WORDS AND PHRASES

To achieve unity and coherence, writers use transitional words and phrases. Transitional expressions clarify the relationships between clauses, sentences, and paragraphs, helping guide the readers along. The following is a partial list of transitional expressions.

To Add or Show Sequence: again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further, furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second, still, too

To Compare: also, in the same way, likewise, similarly

To Contrast: although, and yet, but, but at the same time, despite, even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand, regardless, sill, though, whereas, yet

To Give Examples or Intensify: after all, an illustration of, even, for example, for instance, indeed, in fact, it is true, of course, specifically, that is, to illustrate, truly

To Indicate Place: above, adjacent to, below, elsewhere, farther on, here, near, nearby, on the other side, opposite to, there, to the east, to the left

To Indicate Time: after a while, afterward, as long as, as soon as, at last, at length, at that time, before, earlier, formerly, immediately, in the meantime, in the past, lately, later, meanwhile, now, presently, shortly, simultaneously, since, so far, soon, subsequently, then, thereafter, until, until now, when

To Repeat Summarize or Conclude: all in all, altogether, as has been said, in brief, in conclusion in other words, in particular, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole,that is, therefore, to put it differently, to summarize

To Show Cause or Effect: accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, since, then, therefore, thereupon, this, to this end, with this object.

Home | Calendars | Library | Bookstore | Directory | Apply Now | Search for Classes | Register | Online Classes  | MyBC Portal MyBC -->

Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information (530) 895-2511

Find Study Materials for

  • Business Studies
  • Combined Science
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • Human Geography
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Social Studies
  • Browse all subjects
  • Read our Magazine

Create Study Materials

The ultimate essay test guide: achieve top grades with ease.

An essay test, a fundamental tool in academic assessment, measures a student's ability to express, argue, and structure their thoughts on a given subject through written words. This test format delves deeper into a student's critical thinking and writing skills unlike other conventional exam types.

Essay Test, Illustration of a person in front of a well prepared essay, StudySmarter Magazine

What is an Essay Test?

An essay test is a type of assessment in which a student is prompted to respond to a question or a series of questions by writing an essay.

This form of test isn’t merely about checking a student’s recall or memorisation skills , but more about gauging their ability to comprehend a subject, synthesise information, and articulate their understanding effectively.

Types of Essay Tests

Essay tests can be broadly classified into two categories: Restricted Response and Extended Response .

  • Restricted Response tests focus on limited aspects, requiring students to provide short, concise answers.
  • Extended Response tests demand more comprehensive answers, allowing students to showcase their creativity and analytical skills.

Advantages and Limitations of an Essay Test

Essay tests offer numerous benefits but also have certain limitations. The advantages of an essay test are :

  • They allow teachers to evaluate students’ abilities to organise, synthesise, and interpret information.
  • They help in developing critical thinking and writing skills among students.
  • They provide an opportunity for students to exhibit their knowledge and understanding of a subject in a broader context.

And the limitations of an essay test are :

  • They are time-consuming to both take and grade.
  • They are subject to scoring inconsistencies due to potential subjective bias.
  • They may cause the students who struggle with written expression may face difficulties, and these tests may not accurately reflect the full spectrum of a student’s knowledge or understanding.

Join over 90% of students getting better grades!

That’s a pretty good statistic. Download our free all-in-one learning app and start your most successful learning journey yet. Let’s do it!

Understanding the Structure of an Essay Test

Essay tests involve a defined structure to ensure organised, coherent, and comprehensive expression of thoughts. Adhering to a specific structure can enhance your ability to answer essay questions effectively .

The 7 Steps of an Essay

Writing an essay test typically involves seven steps :

  • Understanding the question
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Creating an outline
  • Crafting a thesis statement
  • Writing the essay body
  • Formulating the conclusion
  • Revising and editing for clarity and conciseness

A checklist of 7 steps to prep for an essay test, including brainstorming ideas, creating an outline and writing a thesis. StudySmarter Magazine

The First Sentence in an Essay

The initial sentence of an essay, often termed a hook , plays a crucial role.

It aims to grab the reader’s attention and provoke interest in the essay topic. It should be engaging, and relevant, and set the tone for the rest of the essay .

The 5-Paragraph Essay Format

The 5-paragraph essay format is commonly used in essay tests, providing a clear and organised approach for students to articulate their ideas. In this format, the introduction and the conclusion include 1 paragraph, while the body of the essay includes 3 .

  • Introduction : The introduction sets the stage, providing a brief overview of the topic and presenting the thesis statement – the central argument or point.
  • Body : The body of the essay contains three paragraphs, each presenting a separate point that supports the thesis statement. Detailed explanations, evidence, and examples are included here to substantiate the points.
  • Conclusion : The conclusion reiterates the thesis statement and summarises the main points. It provides a final perspective on the topic, drawing the essay to a close.

Essay Test, Illustration of a person marking different areas on a paper, StudySmarter Magazine

How to Prepare for an Essay Test?

Preparing for an essay test demands a structured approach to ensure thorough understanding and effective response. Here are some strategies to make this task more manageable:

#1 Familiarise Yourself with the Terminology Used

Knowledge of key terminologies is essential. Understand the meaning of directives such as “describe”, “compare”, “contrast”, or “analyse”. Each term guides you on what is expected in your essay and helps you to answer the question accurately.

To make it easier, you can take advantage of AI technologies. While preparing for your exam, use similar essay questions as prompts and see how AI understands and evaluates the questions. If you are unfamiliar with AI, you can check out The Best Chat GPT Prompts For Essay Writing .

#2 Review and Revise Past Essays

Take advantage of past essays or essay prompts to review and revise your writing . Analyse your strengths and areas for improvement, paying attention to grammar , structure , and clarity . This process helps you refine your writing skills and identify potential pitfalls to avoid in future tests.

#3 Practice Timed Writing

Simulate test conditions by practising timed writing . Set a specific time limit for each essay question and strive to complete it within that timeframe. This exercise builds your ability to think and write quickly , improving your efficiency during the actual test.

#4 Utilise Mnemonic Techniques

To aid in memorisation and recall of key concepts or arguments, employ mnemonic techniques . These memory aids, such as acronyms, visualisation, or association techniques, can help you retain important information and retrieve it during the test. Practice using mnemonics to reinforce your understanding of critical points.

Exam stress causing you sleepless nights?

Get a good night’s rest with our free teacher-verified study sets and a smart study planner to help you manage your studies effectively.

Strategies to Pass an Essay Test

Passing an essay test goes beyond understanding the topic; it also requires strategic planning and execution . Below are key strategies that can enhance your performance in an essay test.

  • Read the exam paper thoroughly before diving into writing : read the entire exam paper thoroughly. Understand each question’s requirement and make a mental note of the points to be included in each response. This step will help in ensuring that no aspect of the question is overlooked.
  • Answer in the First Sentence and Use the Language of the Question : Begin your essay by clearly stating your answer in the first sentence. Use the language of the question to show you are directly addressing the task. This approach ensures that your main argument is understood right from the start.
  • Structure Your Essay : Adopt a logical essay structure , typically comprising an introduction, body, and conclusion. This helps in organising your thoughts, making your argument clearer, and enhancing the readability of your essay.
  • Answer in Point Form When Running Out of Time : If time is running short, present your answer in point form. This approach allows you to cover more points quickly, ensuring you don’t leave any questions unanswered.
  • Write as Legibly as Possible : Your writing should be clear and easy to read. Illegible handwriting could lead to misunderstandings and may negatively impact your grades.
  • Number Your Answers : Ensure your answers are correctly numbered. This helps in aligning your responses with the respective questions, making it easier for the examiner to assess your work, and reducing chances of confusion or error
  • Time Yourself on Each Question : Time management is crucial in an essay test. Allocate a specific amount of time to each question, taking into account the marks they carry. Ensure you leave ample time for revising and editing your responses. Practising this strategy can prevent last-minute rushes and result in a more polished essay.

About the Author Oğulcan Tezcan is a writer, translator, editor, and an accomplished engineer. Oğulcan is also a keen researcher and digital market analyst, with a particular interest in self-development, productivity, and human behaviour.

what is essay tests

Did you know that StudySmarter was rated best study app worldwide!

Frequently Asked Questions About Essay Tests

How do you answer an essay question, when taking an essay test what is the first step, what type of test is an essay test, what is the first sentence in an essay, what are the six elements of an essay.

StudySmarter Redesign and Updated Feature Announcement, StudySmarter Magazine

Privacy Overview

Link to Home Page

  • Plan for College and Career
  • Take the ACT
  • School and District Assessment
  • Career-Ready Solutions
  • News & Blog
  • Students & Parents
  • Open Search Form
  • Open Notifications
  • ACT Non-U.S.
  • MyACT Sign In
  • The ACT Test

what is essay tests

  • Registration
  • Test Center Locator
  • High School Codes Lookup
  • Photo Submission Requirements
  • Standby Testing
  • Accommodations and Supports
  • Free ACT Test Prep
  • Official ACT Subject Guides
  • The Official ACT Prep Guide
  • ACT Kaplan Test Prep Suite
  • Rescheduled Test Centers
  • CAS Calculator FAQ
  • College Codes Lookup
  • How to Send Scores
  • Request a Copy of Your Questions and Answers
  • How Schools Use Scores
  • When to Take the ACT
  • Understanding Your Scores

Other ACT Services and Products

Preparing for the ACT Test with Writing

About the act writing test.

The ACT writing test is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills. The test consists of one writing prompt that will describe a complex issue and present three different perspectives on that issue.  It is a paper-and-pencil test. You will write your essay in pencil (no mechanical pencils or ink pens) on the lined pages of an answer folder that will be provided to you. The only exception is for approved students with diagnosed disabilities who cannot hand write the essay. (See Accommodations .) 

The ACT writing test complements the English and reading tests. The combined information from these tests tells postsecondary institutions about students’ understanding of the conventions of standard written English and their ability to produce a direct sample of writing. The writing test cannot be taken without first taking all four multiple-choice tests in the same session. 

You are asked to read the prompt and write an essay in which you develop your own perspective on the issue. Your essay should analyze the relationship between your perspective and one or more other perspectives. You may adopt a perspective from the prompt, partially or fully, or you may generate your own. Your score will not be affected by the point of view you take on the issue.

Some colleges require the ACT writing test. You should decide whether or not you should take it based on the requirements of the colleges you are applying to or considering.

Why the ACT Writing Test Is Optional 

Because postsecondary institutions have varying needs, we offer the ACT writing test as an option. 

  • Postsecondary institutions are making their own decisions about whether to require the results from the ACT writing test for admissions and/or course placement purposes. 
  • Students will decide whether to take the writing test based on the requirements of the institutions they are considering. 

Practice Your Writing Skills 

Read. Write. Repeat. 

There are many ways to prepare for the ACT writing test that don't even include writing at all. Reading newspapers and magazines, listening to news analyses on television or radio, and participating in discussions and debates about issues and problems all help you build a foundation for your writing skills. These activities help you become more familiar with current issues, with different perspectives on those issues, and with strategies that skilled writers and speakers use to present their points of view. 

Of course, one of the best ways to prepare for the ACT writing test is to practice writing. But you don’t have to sit at a desk and fill a notebook with essays. Practice writing for different purposes, with different audiences in mind. The writing you do in your English classes will help you. Practice writing stories, poems, plays, editorials, reports, letters to the editor, a personal journal, or other kinds of writing that you do on your own—including, yes, essays. 

The ACT writing test asks you to explain your perspective on an issue in a convincing way, so writing opportunities such as editorials or letters to the editor of a newspaper are especially helpful. Practicing various types of writing will help make you a versatile writer able to adjust to different writing assignments. 

Finally, don’t forget you only have 40 minutes on test day. Get some practice writing within a time limit. This will not only give you an advantage on the test, but also will help you build skills that are important in college-level learning and in the world of work. 

Build Your Writing Skills 

Everyday ways to improve your writing 

You can strengthen your writing skills just about anywhere, anytime. Read below for some ideas to make writing, responding, and organizing your thoughts part of your daily routine:   

  • Read and write frequently.  Read as much as you can from a variety of sources, including plays, essays, fiction, poetry, news stories, business writing, and magazine features. 
  • Become familiar with current issues in society and develop your own opinions.  Think of arguments you would use to convince someone of your perspective. Taking speech and debate classes can help you think through issues and communicate them to others. 
  • Practice writing in different formats and in as many real situations as possible.  Write letters to the editor, or letters to a company requesting information. 
  • Try some writing in extracurricular activities.  School newspapers, yearbooks, and creative writing clubs offer opportunities to express ideas in writing. 
  • Share your writing with others and get feedback.  Feedback helps you anticipate how readers might interpret your writing and what types of questions they might have. This can help you anticipate what a reader might want to know. 
  • Learn to see writing as a process —brainstorming, planning, writing, and then editing. This applies to all writing activities. 
  • Listen to the advice your English teacher gives you about your writing. 
  • Strive for well-developed and well-organized writing  that uses precise, clear, and concise language. 
  • Remember that everyone can improve their writing skills.  Confidence and skill will grow with the more writing you do. Practice and work lead to achievement. 

Tips for Taking the ACT Writing Test

Pace yourself.

The ACT writing test contains one question to be completed in 40 minutes. When asked to write a timed essay, most writers find it useful to do some planning before they write the essay and to do a final check of the essay when it is finished. It is unlikely that you will have time to draft, revise, and recopy your essay.

Before writing, carefully read and consider all prompt material. Be sure you understand the issue, its perspectives, and your essay task. The prewriting questions included with the prompt will help you analyze the perspectives and develop your own. Use these questions to think critically about the prompt and generate effective ideas in response. Ask yourself how your ideas and analysis can best be supported and organized in a written argument. Use the prewriting space in your test booklet to structure or outline your response.

Establish the focus of your essay by making clear your argument and its main ideas. Explain and illustrate your ideas with sound reasoning and meaningful examples. Discuss the significance of your ideas: what are the implications of what you have to say, and why is your argument important to consider? As you write, ask yourself if your logic is clear, you have supported your claims, and you have chosen precise words to communicate your ideas.

Review Your Essay

Take a few minutes before time is called to read over your essay. Correct any mistakes. If you find any words that are hard to read, recopy them. Make corrections and revisions neatly between the lines. Do not write in the margins. Your readers know you had only 40 minutes to compose and write your essay. Within that time limit, try to make your essay as polished as you can.

There are many ways to prepare for the ACT writing test. These include reading newspapers and magazines, listening to news analyses on television and radio, and participating in discussions and debates.

One of the best ways to prepare for the ACT writing test is to practice writing with different purposes for different audiences. The writing you do in your classes will help you. So will writing essays, stories, editorials, a personal journal, or other writing you do on your own.

It is also a good idea to practice writing within a time limit. Taking the practice ACT writing test will give you a sense of how much additional practice you may need. You might want to take the practice ACT writing test even if you do not plan to take the ACT with writing, because this will help build skills that are important in college-level learning and in the world of work.

Find more info about how the writing test is scored .

This action will open a new window. Do you want to proceed?

Welcome to ACT

If you are accessing this site from outside the United States, Puerto Rico, or U.S. Territories, please proceed to the non-U.S. version of our website.

Study for an Essay Test

And the Rest will Follow

  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Test day is here. You’ve packed your brain full of definitions, dates, and details, preparing for a marathon of multiple choice and true & false questions, and now you’re staring at a single, solitary, terrifying essay question.

How could this happen? You’re suddenly fighting for your life (okay, a grade), and your only weapons are a blank piece of paper and a pencil. What can you do? Next time, prepare for the test as if you know it will be an essay test.​

Why Do Teachers Use Essay Questions?

Essay questions are based on themes and overall ideas. Teachers like to use essay questions because they give students the opportunity to express everything they’ve learned over the weeks or months, using their own words. Essay test answers reveal more than the bare facts, though. When submitting essay answers, students are expected to cover lots of information in an organized, sensible manner.

But what if you prepare for an essay question and the teacher doesn’t ask one? No problem. If you use these tips and understand the themes and ideas of the test period, the other questions will come easily.

4 Essay Question Study Tips

  • Review chapter titles. Textbook chapters often refer to themes. Look at each relevant title and think of smaller ideas, chains of events, and relevant terms that fit within that theme.
  • As you take notes, look for teacher code words. If you hear your teacher use words like “once again we see” or “another similar event occurred,” make note of it. Anything that indicates a pattern or chain of events is key.
  • Think of a theme every day. Every few nights as you review your class notes , look for themes. Come up with your own essay questions based on your themes.
  • Practice your essay questions. As you do, make sure you use vocabulary terms found in your notes and text. Underline them as you go, and go back to review their relevance.

If you take effective notes and think in terms of themes as you study each night, you’ll be prepared for every type of test question. You’ll soon find that, in understanding the theme of each lesson or chapter, you’ll begin to think more like your teacher thinks. You will also begin to form a deeper understanding of the test material overall.

  • How to Study for a Test or Final
  • Preparing for Final Exams
  • Best Practices for Subjective Test Questions
  • 10 Common Test Mistakes
  • How to Study History Terms
  • Study Tips for Math Homework and Math Tests
  • How to Study for Fill in the Blank Tests
  • Study Tips for the GRE Vocabulary Section
  • Top 15 Test Tips for Multiple Choice
  • 6 Study Tips for Visual Learners
  • 3 Steps to Ace Your Next Test
  • Writing Practice Tests While You Study
  • How to Study the Night Before a Test
  • Top 15 ACT Tips to Ace the Test
  • Study Habits That Can Improve Grades and Performance
  • 5 Tips for Studying for Final Exams in College

Top 10 Tips for Taking Essay Tests

Budgeting your time and reading through the whole exam first are among the experts' recommendations.

Some college students are pros at taking short-answer and multiple-choice tests but are at their wits' end when the prof springs an essay test. Some go to incredible lengths to avoid any course that might have essays on the exam. But with dozens of required courses, many in areas such as social sciences and humanities, such a strategy is bound to fail. Instead, take a look at our 10 best tips for acing the essay exam:

1. Survey the landscape. When you first get the test, look over the whole thing. Figure out what the tasks are, paying special attention to how many essays you're asked to write (be sure to note any choices offered) and, most important, how much time you're supposed to devote to each. You'd be amazed at how many students make a mistake about the basic instructions.

2. Budget your time. Craft each essay around the time you have available. Professors who allot one hour expect longer and more detailed essays than ones who ask you to write for 20 minutes. Don't have a one-size-fits-all approach to essay questions. (By the way, it wouldn't hurt to take a working watch to the exam. Not all professors want to track the time for you.)

3. Scan (in your mind) all the resources . Before you start writing your answer, think through what elements of the course might be relevant for your answer. Most students are primed to think first about the lectures that bear on the topic. But if you can bring in materials from the reading or discussion sections, and if they're relevant, your answer is likely to be stronger.

4. Don ' t waste time. Some students begin an essay exam by writing elaborate outlines—so elaborate that they run out of time after writing a sentence or two of the actual answer. If you need to jot down a few notes before you start, that's fine, but you need to spend most of your time writing the answer, not preparing to write it.

Extra Pointer. Another major time waster, in cases where a professor offers a choice of essay topics, is to get far into an essay, then stop and choose another question. It's not uncommon for a professor to see a page—or even several pages—crossed off, followed by an unfinished essay about something else. Ouch.

5. D on ' t survey. If you're asked a specific question, answer that specific question. Don't dump everything you know about a topic into your response. No matter how nervous you are, you need to attend to what's being asked. Professors usually craft their essay questions carefully, so if you compare when you were asked to contrast, or list reasons but don't assess them, it will be noticed when the grading rolls around.

4-Star Tip. If the question has specific subparts or subtasks, it's often best to do them separately, and to "letter" your parts (Part A, Part B, Part C, etc.). That way the grader will be able to see that you've answered each of the parts and assign you the points to which you're entitled.

6. D on ' t introduce. Essay exams are not the time to give lengthy introductions or "setups" to the topic. Usually the time is budgeted tightly, and there's not time for this. Begin your answer in the very first sentence. Nailing the main point down right up front puts your essay on track for an A.

7. D on ' t gesture. Some students think the answer is so obvious—and the professor knows it, after all—that they only need to wave their hands at the answer (rather than wasting all that ink to spell it out). But the prof is looking for you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the material, which can only be done if you take the time to make explicit your points. Be sure your answers can be understood by a reasonably intelligent person, not one who is previously familiar with the material (like the professor).

8. Write quickly and neatly. More detail equals a better grade (usually). Legible handwriting equals a better grade (usually).

9. Keep it real. Answer in simple, clear language. Avoid fillers, and eliminate irrelevant material. When an instructor is reading 70 essays on the same topic, information not related to the topic really stands out like a sore thumb. Some graders just ignore it, but others take off for it.

10. Don ' t be afraid to go back. It's OK to go back to a previous essay to fill in some important point you just thought of. Just draw an arrow to the margin or to the top of the paper and add in your latest brainstorm. In many cases, these later additions tip the scales from a B to an A.

5-Star Tip. If you find yourself running out of time on a question, at least sketch out how you would answer the part you've left out. Usually you will get at least some credit for this and won't have to take the full hit for material left unanswered.

BONUS TIP. One of the most common questions we get asked is what you can do to turn your B essay into an A essay. Though each course is different, here are seven things you might think about to turn a good essay into an excellent one:

  • Offer a more nuanced thesis, not the most obvious one.
  • Probe the relations between the parts or issues treated in the question.
  • Give more examples or illustrations.
  • Draw distinctions if they are relevant to the question(s) asked.
  • Bring in materials from the readings or the discussion section (if relevant).
  • Use the methods, techniques, and analytic tools of the field (like the ones the professor or TA used in the lectures).
  • Reach a firm conclusion.

© Copyright 2009 Professors' Guide LLC. All rights reserved

Tags: education , students , academics

2024 Best Colleges

what is essay tests

Search for your perfect fit with the U.S. News rankings of colleges and universities.

College Admissions: Get a Step Ahead!

Sign up to receive the latest updates from U.S. News & World Report and our trusted partners and sponsors. By clicking submit, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy .

Ask an Alum: Making the Most Out of College

You May Also Like

Why do colleges close.

Sarah Wood Feb. 20, 2024

what is essay tests

Online Programs With Diverse Faculty

Sarah Wood Feb. 16, 2024

what is essay tests

U.S. and Europe Degree Differences

Anayat Durrani Feb. 13, 2024

what is essay tests

How to Perform Well on SAT, ACT Test Day

Cole Claybourn Feb. 13, 2024

what is essay tests

Super Bowl States, by the Numbers

Elliott Davis Jr. Feb. 9, 2024

what is essay tests

What Is the Student Aid Index?

Sarah Wood Feb. 9, 2024

what is essay tests

What to Know About New NCAA NIL Rules

Cole Claybourn Feb. 8, 2024

what is essay tests

Bachelor's Jobs With $100K+ Salaries

Sarah Wood Feb. 8, 2024

what is essay tests

Online Learning Trends to Know Now

what is essay tests

Veterans Considering Online College

Anayat Durrani Feb. 8, 2024

what is essay tests

what is essay tests

The Learning Strategies Center

  • Meet the Staff
  • –Supplemental Course Schedule
  • AY Course Offerings
  • Anytime Online Modules
  • Winter Session Workshop Courses
  • –About Tutoring
  • –Office Hours and Tutoring Schedule
  • –LSC Tutoring Opportunities
  • –How to Use Office Hours
  • –Campus Resources and Support
  • –Student Guide for Studying Together
  • –Find Study Partners
  • –Productivity Power Hour
  • –Effective Study Strategies
  • –Concept Mapping
  • –Guidelines for Creating a Study Schedule
  • –Five-Day Study Plan
  • –What To Do With Practice Exams
  • –Consider Exam Logistics
  • –Online Exam Checklist
  • –Open-Book Exams
  • –How to Tackle Exam Questions
  • –What To Do When You Get Your Graded Test (or Essay) Back
  • –The Cornell Note Taking System
  • –Learning from Digital Materials
  • –3 P’s for Effective Reading
  • –Textbook Reading Systems
  • –Online Learning Checklist
  • –Things to Keep in Mind as you Participate in Online Classes
  • –Learning from Online Lectures and Discussions
  • –Online Group Work
  • –Learning Online Resource Videos
  • –Start Strong!
  • –Effectively Engage with Classes
  • –Plans if you Need to Miss Class
  • –Managing Time
  • –Managing Stress
  • –The Perils of Multitasking
  • –Break the Cycle of Procrastination!
  • –Finish Strong
  • –Neurodiversity at Cornell
  • –LSC Scholarship
  • –Study Skills Workshops
  • –Private Consultations
  • –Resources for Advisors and Faculty
  • –Presentation Support (aka Practice Your Talk on a Dog)
  • –About LSC
  • –Meet The Team
  • –Contact Us

How to Tackle Exam Questions

Learn more about how to tackle different kinds of exams and exam questions.

We cover the following topics on exam preparation on this page:

  • Quantitative Questions
  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Essay Questions

First, Let’s Think About De-Coding Different Types of Exam Questions

It’s helpful to understand the kinds of question that are asked on a exam, because the response you need to come up with depends on the type of question. Knowing about different types of exam questions can help you activate appropriate strategies for formulating answers and reduce exam-taking anxiety.

Exam questions generally fall into one of three categories: 1

“Green Light”

green light

  • Go right ahead!
  • These are factual questions, and the answers are straight-forward. You either know the answer or you don’t; it’s right there in your head or it’s not.
  • Some green light questions can be very difficult, and your ability to recall details is often tested with this typeof question.
  • Study for this type of question by using recitation, making flash cards, quizzing yourself or a study partner, etc.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a green light question right away, circle it and move on; often the answer will pop into your head later on during the exam.

“Yellow Light”

yellow light

  • These questions are more detailed than green light questions, but are based on the same idea: you either know the answer or you don’t.
  • Often you’ll have to put multiple or “green light” details together.
  • Similar strategies work for yellow and green questions, but with yellow light questions you’ll need to recall many ideas, concepts, formulas, etc., just to answer one question.

red light

  • These questions ask you to make inferences or apply your knowledge to new situations, which is sometimes called “critical thinking”.
  • You need to know the material being covered to answer these questions at the “green light” level, but the exam question is not asking you to simply regurgitate it. You will need to take what you know and use it in ways you have not yet used it.
  • This type of question sometimes flummoxes students, because they are surprised to they are being asked a question that wasn’t exactly covered in class. Remember that with red light questions you are not supposed to already know the answer. You have to come up with the answer yourself, it is not already in your head. (You will need to know the basic information, though, to be able to answer this type of question.)
  • Red light questions are asked more frequently in college than in high school.
  • To study for red light questions, make diagrams or concept maps that link ideas or topics from the course together. Think about how what you’re learning relates to what you’ve learned in other classes. Sit down with friends or classmates and talk about how one might use information from the class in a job setting.

See this link for a pdf of  Decoding exam questions.

How to Tackle: Problem-Solving and Quantitative Questions

Study for problem-based exams by practicing (new!) problems

As you work on the problems, remember:

  • DO let yourself be stuck.* (yes, we mean that!)
  • DON’T sneak a peak at the answer if you get stuck. (keep trying!)
  • Check your answer only after you’ve put something–anything–down. Think partial credit, which is better than no credit if you freeze when you get stuck on hard problems on the test.

* You need to get your “stuck” muscles stronger so you know what to do on tests when you feel stuck.

Watch: LSC’s Mike Chen Shares “The Key to Problem-Solving Tests”

Taking problem-based exams

1. Understand the problem: Determine what you are supposed to find, what you need to find it, and what the unknown is (and if there is extra information). Consider whether drawing a sketch will help. Also – note each part of the question. Not answering each part is an easy way to lose points.

2. Determine a way to solve the problem: Write down all that is given or known. Draw a sketch when appropriate to show relations. Write down all relevant formulas.

3. Carry out the procedure you have devised: For numerical problems, try and estimate an answer first. This will help you to check your work later. Neat, careful work keeps you from making mistakes, and allows you to find them when you do make them (show your units!!). Additionally, when the instructor can see your work clearly, he or she may give you partial credit for what you do know, even if your ultimate answer is incorrect.

4. Check your Answers: This requires the same quality of thought originally used to solve the problem. Is your answer what you thought it would be in your original estimate? Is it a quantity that makes sense? Is your answer in the correct units? If your answer does not seem reasonable, rework the problem.

How to Tackle: Multiple Choice Questions

1. Read the stem: First, read the stem and make sure you understand what it is getting at. Look out for double negatives or other twists in wording before you consider the answer.

2. Try to come up with the correct answer: Before you look at the answer choices, try to come up with the correct answer. This will help you to rule out choices that are similar to the correct answer. Now read and consider each option carefully.

3. Look for clues in the stem: Look for clues in the stem that suggest the correct answer or rule out any choices. For example, if the stem indicates that the answer is plural you can rule out any answers that are singular. The basic rule is: the correct answer must make sense grammatically with the stem. Options which fail this exam can be ruled out.

4. Cross off any options you know are incorrect: As you rule out options cross them off with your pencil. This will help you focus on the remaining choices and eliminates the chance of returning to an item and selecting an option you had already eliminated.

5. Come back to items you were unsure of: Put a mark next to any questions you are unsure of. If you complete the entire exam with time to spare, review these questions – you will often get clues (or even answers) from other questions.

Take a look at some additional information on difficult “ Multiple Choice Tests ” (opens a PDF).

How to Tackle: Essay Questions

The best way to  prepare  for essay tests is to practice writing essays.

  • Anticipate questions : Make outlines of possible essay topics using your course materials so you know you’ve got a good grasp of what might be on the test. Then recreate your outlines from memory (unless it’s an open-notes test).
  • Practice writing  at least one full essay; be mindful of the time you spend practicing and think about how much time you will have during the exam. It is also important to think about  how  you are organizing the information you are including in your essay — for example, if you are asked to compare and contrast two theories as they relate to an issue, you might want to define each of them, describe the issue, and then compare and contrast them.
  • If your exam is closed book,  memorize key events, facts, and names  that you will need to support your argument. If it is open-notes, then make sure you develop good outlines.

When you are  taking  essay tests:

  • Manage your time  well. As with all exams, if there are multiple essay questions, be sure to look at them all at the beginning (taking note of the points each is worth), and prioritize the order you answer the questions.
  • Read the directions  carefully. Ask yourself honestly: are you answering the  actual  question on the test, or the question you  want  to be on the test?  (tip: instructors know when you aren’t really answering the exact question, so make sure you are addressing the actual question and don’t just write random information that is unrelated to the question.)
  • Before you write the essay,  decide on your argument  and  quickly list your supporting evidence  (it is ok to do a brain dump of all the important information that you want to include so that you have it handy when you begin writing).
  • Make a quick outline  of what you are going to write to organize your thoughts and arguments.
  • Write! And, make your point right away – you don’t want to get to the end of a timed essay test with your amazing argument still unmade!
  • If you have time, go back and quickly  proof-read  your essay for errors.

You might want to take a look at some “ Words to Watch for in an Essay ” (opens a PDF).

References:

1 Taffy E. Raphael, Teaching Question Answer Relationships, Revisited, The Reading Teacher, Vol. 39, No. 6 (Feb., 1986), pp. 516-522.

Ellis, D. (1998). Becoming a Master Student. Houghton Mifflin: Boston

  • EXPLORE Random Article

How to Prepare for an Essay Exam

Last Updated: April 20, 2023

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. This article has been viewed 137,181 times.

The dreaded essay exam. Whether you like it or not, at some point in your life you are certain to encounter an exam composed entirely of essays. In the days leading up to the exam you may feel anxious or downright sick to your stomach. Fortunately, with a little bit of preparation and practice, you can turn any pre-exam jitters into a feeling of confidence, which will allow you to successfully tackle any essay exam.

Participating in Class

Step 1 Go to class.

  • Actively participate. It’s important to find a participation method that works for you, whether that’s asking thought-provoking questions or commenting on the reading. Active participation just means involving yourself in some way, so even if you don’t feel comfortable speaking at length in front of your peers, try to ask a question every now and then.
  • Free yourself from distractions. Put away your cell phone or tablet and concentrate on listening and taking good notes. Now is not the time to work on homework for another class or to catch up with friends on Facebook.

Step 2 Take notes.

  • Always have a notebook on hand. It is helpful to use one notebook per subject or course, so that you don’t confuse yourself when looking back.
  • Be sure to date your notes so that you can quickly reference or find the subject material covered on the exam.
  • If you struggle with taking notes, ask the instructor if you can record the lecture. You can then go back and listen to the recording and either take notes at your own pace or review any parts of the lecture, which will be relevant for the exam.

Step 3 Do the readings.

  • Take notes on what you’ve read and have questions ready for class.
  • Follow the schedule for reading assignments. Typically readings are broken out in a way that is both manageable and topical. If, however, you find yourself unable to keep up with the readings, speak with your instructor about a schedule that suits your particular needs. For example, if readings are assigned for every other day of class, you may need to break it out such that you are reading a portion every day.

Reviewing the Material

Step 1 Collect your notes from class.

  • In addition to having one notebook per course, it may be helpful to also have an individual course binder or folder, which contains all course materials.
  • Take your organization to the next level by categorizing according to exams. Don’t throw away previous notes or materials from past exams. They may come in handy for midterm or final exams. Instead, organize the materials as if they were chapters, with chapter one being the first exam and so forth and so on.

Step 2 Find a quiet place to study.

  • Limit phone calls and any other distractions such as texting. It might help to turn your phone and other devices to silent mode while you’re studying.
  • The TV should always be off while you’re preparing for an exam.
  • If you want to listen to music, be sure it’s something that is relaxing or peaceful. Also, keep the music at a low level. Otherwise, music can easily become a distraction.

Step 3 Review class materials.

  • Get into the habit of reviewing class materials after each course. This will help to ease anxiety leading up to the exam, as you won’t have as much to review and will be able to clear up any questions that arise, prior to the big day.
  • Cramming doesn’t work. Multiple studies have shown that spacing out learning was more effective than cramming. [2] X Research source What’s more, cramming only increases the feeling of desperation which leads to panic, and then to test anxiety.

Step 4 Look for potential...

  • Creating an outline will also come in handy when drafting essay responses, so give yourself some practice and start with your class materials.

Practicing Ahead of Time

Step 1 Understand the structure of an essay.

  • Don’t wait until the night before to outline answers. As you’re studying and organizing your class materials, come up with potential questions along the way. You can then go back and review and revise as necessary.
  • Some instructors do specify a word count for essays. Don’t focus on counting words though. Write what you can and look for opportunities to flesh out your answers without being overly wordy.

Step 3 Recognize different types of questions.

  • Identify - typically short and direct answers will do.
  • Explain - requires a more detailed answer.
  • Compare - look for connections.
  • Argue - address this from your own perspective.

Step 4 Revise your answers.

  • This is a good opportunity to proofread your work and to look for any grammatical errors as well.
  • Have a friend, parent or peer look over your essay as well. It is often helpful to have a fresh set of eyes review your work and provide feedback.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • For open-notes or open-book tests, study thoroughly anyway. This will prepare you for other exams or tests where you're not allowed to use notes, and will allow for you to complete the test faster and easier because you won't need to search for everything in the book or your notes. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Be positive. If you are negative and believe you will not do well, chances are that you will perform the way you expect to. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Practice writing. Be sure you can write fairly well in other situations so that you can express your ideas clearly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Ask for Feedback

  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/essay-exams/
  • ↑ http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140917-the-worst-way-to-learn

About this article

Michelle Golden, PhD

If you’re worried about an upcoming essay exam, start reviewing your class notes by topic. One helpful way to prepare for your essay exam is to create a potential outline for each theme. For example, if you’re studying Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, you might come up with an essay outline about the themes of the play. Once you have a few of these outlines, do practice essays at home under timed conditions, using old exams or questions you can see from your outline. Additionally, make it easier to prepare for future exams by attending all classes, doing the assigned readings and taking clear notes. Keep reading for more tips, including how to understand what the essay questions are asking of you. Did this summary help you? Yes No

Reader Success Stories

Nancy Pink

Jun 6, 2016

Did this article help you?

Nancy Pink

Mar 25, 2017

Ask for Feedback

  • About wikiHow
  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Your Article Library

Essay test: types, advantages and limitations | statistics.

what is essay tests

ADVERTISEMENTS:

After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Introduction to Essay Test 2. Types of Essay Test 3. Advantages 4. Limitations 5. Suggestions.

Introduction to Essay Test:

The essay tests are still commonly used tools of evaluation, despite the increasingly wider applicability of the short answer and objective type questions.

There are certain outcomes of learning (e.g., organising, summarising, integrating ideas and expressing in one’s own way) which cannot be satisfactorily measured through objective type tests. The importance of essay tests lies in the measurement of such instructional outcomes.

An essay test may give full freedom to the students to write any number of pages. The required response may vary in length. An essay type question requires the pupil to plan his own answer and to explain it in his own words. The pupil exercises considerable freedom to select, organise and present his ideas. Essay type tests provide a better indication of pupil’s real achievement in learning. The answers provide a clue to nature and quality of the pupil’s thought process.

That is, we can assess how the pupil presents his ideas (whether his manner of presentation is coherent, logical and systematic) and how he concludes. In other words, the answer of the pupil reveals the structure, dynamics and functioning of pupil’s mental life.

The essay questions are generally thought to be the traditional type of questions which demand lengthy answers. They are not amenable to objective scoring as they give scope for halo-effect, inter-examiner variability and intra-examiner variability in scoring.

Types of Essay Test:

There can be many types of essay tests:

Some of these are given below with examples from different subjects:

1. Selective Recall.

e.g. What was the religious policy of Akbar?

2. Evaluative Recall.

e.g. Why did the First War of Independence in 1857 fail?

3. Comparison of two things—on a single designated basis.

e.g. Compare the contributions made by Dalton and Bohr to Atomic theory.

4. Comparison of two things—in general.

e.g. Compare Early Vedic Age with the Later Vedic Age.

5. Decision—for or against.

e.g. Which type of examination do you think is more reliable? Oral or Written. Why?

6. Causes or effects.

e.g. Discuss the effects of environmental pollution on our lives.

7. Explanation of the use or exact meaning of some phrase in a passage or a sentence.

e.g., Joint Stock Company is an artificial person. Explain ‘artificial person’ bringing out the concepts of Joint Stock Company.

8. Summary of some unit of the text or of some article.

9. Analysis

e.g. What was the role played by Mahatma Gandhi in India’s freedom struggle?

10. Statement of relationship.

e.g. Why is knowledge of Botany helpful in studying agriculture?

11. Illustration or examples (your own) of principles in science, language, etc.

e.g. Illustrate the correct use of subject-verb position in an interrogative sentence.

12. Classification.

e.g. Classify the following into Physical change and Chemical change with explanation. Water changes to vapour; Sulphuric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide react to produce Sodium Sulphate and Water; Rusting of Iron; Melting of Ice.

13. Application of rules or principles in given situations.

e.g. If you sat halfway between the middle and one end of a sea-saw, would a person sitting on the other end have to be heavier or lighter than you in order to make the sea-saw balance in the middle. Why?

14. Discussion.

e.g. Partnership is a relationship between persons who have agreed to share the profits of a business carried on by all or any of them acting for all. Discuss the essentials of partnership on the basis of this partnership.

15. Criticism—as to the adequacy, correctness, or relevance—of a printed statement or a classmate’s answer to a question on the lesson.

e.g. What is the wrong with the following statement?

The Prime Minister is the sovereign Head of State in India.

16. Outline.

e.g. Outline the steps required in computing the compound interest if the principal amount, rate of interest and time period are given as P, R and T respectively.

17. Reorganization of facts.

e.g. The student is asked to interview some persons and find out their opinion on the role of UN in world peace. In the light of data thus collected he/she can reorganise what is given in the text book.

18. Formulation of questions-problems and questions raised.

e.g. After reading a lesson the pupils are asked to raise related problems- questions.

19. New methods of procedure

e.g. Can you solve this mathematical problem by using another method?

Advantages of the Essay Tests:

1. It is relatively easier to prepare and administer a six-question extended- response essay test than to prepare and administer a comparable 60-item multiple-choice test items.

2. It is the only means that can assess an examinee’s ability to organise and present his ideas in a logical and coherent fashion.

3. It can be successfully employed for practically all the school subjects.

4. Some of the objectives such as ability to organise idea effectively, ability to criticise or justify a statement, ability to interpret, etc., can be best measured by this type of test.

5. Logical thinking and critical reasoning, systematic presentation, etc. can be best developed by this type of test.

6. It helps to induce good study habits such as making outlines and summaries, organising the arguments for and against, etc.

7. The students can show their initiative, the originality of their thought and the fertility of their imagination as they are permitted freedom of response.

8. The responses of the students need not be completely right or wrong. All degrees of comprehensiveness and accuracy are possible.

9. It largely eliminates guessing.

10. They are valuable in testing the functional knowledge and power of expression of the pupil.

Limitations of Essay Tests:

1. One of the serious limitations of the essay tests is that these tests do not give scope for larger sampling of the content. You cannot sample the course content so well with six lengthy essay questions as you can with 60 multiple-choice test items.

2. Such tests encourage selective reading and emphasise cramming.

3. Moreover, scoring may be affected by spelling, good handwriting, coloured ink, neatness, grammar, length of the answer, etc.

4. The long-answer type questions are less valid and less reliable, and as such they have little predictive value.

5. It requires an excessive time on the part of students to write; while assessing, reading essays is very time-consuming and laborious.

6. It can be assessed only by a teacher or competent professionals.

7. Improper and ambiguous wording handicaps both the students and valuers.

8. Mood of the examiner affects the scoring of answer scripts.

9. There is halo effect-biased judgement by previous impressions.

10. The scores may be affected by his personal bias or partiality for a particular point of view, his way of understanding the question, his weightage to different aspect of the answer, favouritism and nepotism, etc.

Thus, the potential disadvantages of essay type questions are :

(i) Poor predictive validity,

(ii) Limited content sampling,

(iii) Scores unreliability, and

(iv) Scoring constraints.

Suggestions for Improving Essay Tests:

The teacher can sometimes, through essay tests, gain improved insight into a student’s abilities, difficulties and ways of thinking and thus have a basis for guiding his/her learning.

(A) White Framing Questions:

1. Give adequate time and thought to the preparation of essay questions, so that they can be re-examined, revised and edited before they are used. This would increase the validity of the test.

2. The item should be so written that it will elicit the type of behaviour the teacher wants to measure. If one is interested in measuring understanding, he should not ask a question that will elicit an opinion; e.g.,

“What do you think of Buddhism in comparison to Jainism?”

3. Use words which themselves give directions e.g. define, illustrate, outline, select, classify, summarise, etc., instead of discuss, comment, explain, etc.

4. Give specific directions to students to elicit the desired response.

5. Indicate clearly the value of the question and the time suggested for answering it.

6. Do not provide optional questions in an essay test because—

(i) It is difficult to construct questions of equal difficulty;

(ii) Students do not have the ability to select those questions which they will answer best;

(iii) A good student may be penalised because he is challenged by the more difficult and complex questions.

7. Prepare and use a relatively large number of questions requiring short answers rather than just a few questions involving long answers.

8. Do not start essay questions with such words as list, who, what, whether. If we begin the questions with such words, they are likely to be short-answer question and not essay questions, as we have defined the term.

9. Adapt the length of the response and complexity of the question and answer to the maturity level of the students.

10. The wording of the questions should be clear and unambiguous.

11. It should be a power test rather than a speed test. Allow a liberal time limit so that the essay test does not become a test of speed in writing.

12. Supply the necessary training to the students in writing essay tests.

13. Questions should be graded from simple to complex so that all the testees can answer atleast a few questions.

14. Essay questions should provide value points and marking schemes.

(B) While Scoring Questions:

1. Prepare a marking scheme, suggesting the best possible answer and the weightage given to the various points of this model answer. Decide in advance which factors will be considered in evaluating an essay response.

2. While assessing the essay response, one must:

a. Use appropriate methods to minimise bias;

b. Pay attention only to the significant and relevant aspects of the answer;

c. Be careful not to let personal idiosyncrasies affect assessment;

d. Apply a uniform standard to all the papers.

3. The examinee’s identity should be concealed from the scorer. By this we can avoid the “halo effect” or “biasness” which may affect the scoring.

4. Check your marking scheme against actual responses.

5. Once the assessment has begun, the standard should not be changed, nor should it vary from paper to paper or reader to reader. Be consistent in your assessment.

6. Grade only one question at a time for all papers. This will help you in minimising the halo effect in becoming thoroughly familiar with just one set of scoring criteria and in concentrating completely on them.

7. The mechanics of expression (legibility, spelling, punctuation, grammar) should be judged separately from what the student writes, i.e. the subject matter content.

8. If possible, have two independent readings of the test and use the average as the final score.

Related Articles:

  • Merits and Demerits of Objective Type Test
  • Types of Recall Type Test: Simple and Completion | Objective Test

Educational Statistics , Evaluation Tools , Essay Test

Comments are closed.

web statistics

Library homepage

  • school Campus Bookshelves
  • menu_book Bookshelves
  • perm_media Learning Objects
  • login Login
  • how_to_reg Request Instructor Account
  • hub Instructor Commons
  • Download Page (PDF)
  • Download Full Book (PDF)
  • Periodic Table
  • Physics Constants
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Reference & Cite
  • Tools expand_more
  • Readability

selected template will load here

This action is not available.

Social Sci LibreTexts

17.1: Should I give a multiple-choice test, an essay test, or something entirely different?

  • Last updated
  • Save as PDF
  • Page ID 87687

  • Jennfer Kidd, Jamie Kaufman, Peter Baker, Patrick O'Shea, Dwight Allen, & Old Dominion U students
  • Old Dominion University

By Vanessa Rutter

- Benjamin Franklin

Learning Objectives

  • The student will be able to understand the advantages and disadvantages of multiple-choice tests
  • The student will be able to understand the advantages and disadvantages of essay tests
  • The student will be able to provide an example of why multiple-choice or essay tests are used
  • The student will be better informed of the results produced by multiple-choice, essay, and other tests

Introduction

Throughout school, teachers and other education officials use tests to assess how much information that the students have absorbed. This can be important in different ways depending on how the results will be used.

Figuring out what students have learned in the classroom is an important issue in the education field (Swartz, 2006). Teachers want to know that when they assess what their students have learned that the teachers are using an accurate assessment strategy that will mesh with their learning targets. In the following information, the focus will be on affects of using multiple-choice, essay, or other tests along with why they are used.

Advantages and disadvantages of multiple-choice tests

Multiple-choice testing became popular in the 1900's because of the efficiency that it provided (Swartz, 2006). According to Matzen and Hoyt, "Beginning in 1901, the SAT was a written exam, but as the influence of psychometricians grew in 1926, the SAT became a multiple-choice test" (2006). Until recently, multiple-choice have been favored especially for SAT and ACT testing. For many years now, the SAT test was used for mostly multiple-choice questions and has changed in the past few years so that it now includes an essay section.

Other advantages of multiple-choice tests include how quickly tests can be graded compared to others. There are machines that can quickly grade scantrons as well as bubble sheets that show right and wrong answers quickly for teachers when grading. It is much more cost efficient than having to read over written answers which take time and possibly training depending on who is employed to grade them (Holtzman, 2008).

Others may say that multiple-choice tests are hard. In college, students have said that multiple-choice question tests are long, filled with many words, and very complicated (Holtzman, 2008). Some argue that multiple-choice question tests are based on testing the level of knowledge only and do not show a student's level of comprehension and application of information (Holtzman, 2008). It is hard to judge on a multiple-choice test whether the student guesses the right answer or didn't get the answer right because they were confused and chose one of the other answers (Swartz, 2006).

Advantages and disadvantages of essay tests

Essay tests have started to become more dominant because of the results that come along with it. Essay format questions contain a level of information quality that exceeds that of multiple-choice (Swartz, 2006). According to Swartz (2006), "They provide the opportunity to assess more complex student attributes and higher levels of attribute achievement". Another advantage of an essay is that the teacher can clearly see what the student knows instead of being misconstrued with multiple-choice tests were students can guess the right answers. A student that doesn't do well with test taking may find writing an essay to much more efficient rather than testing knowledge through multiple-choice.

There are also problems associated with essay tests. Administering essay test can be harder and be less cost efficient. There is technology already available for grading multiple-choice tests that take up much less time then grading essay tests. Essays cannot be ran through a bubble sheet optical reader machine that quickly grades scantrons used for multiple choice questions tests. For a professor with over three hundred students, it is much more efficient to use multiple-choice tests than grade three hundred essays. Communication is an important factor as well. For a student that can not write well, they may feel at a disadvantage when being graded by writing an essay. This could be true for someone with a learning disability.

Other Factors to Consider

Bill Goodling, chair of House Education Committee

Multiple-choice and essay tests are not the only test out there. The recently modified SAT test states that if you put the wrong answer you will have points taken off in the multiple-choice section. This is an incentive to not fill in the circle unless the student knows the answer or is pretty sure of themselves. There are also short answer tests and fill in the blank, but the most popular are the ones mentioned before.

Other tests may show an excess of seven different multiple-choice answers to choose from. The first three would be regular answers (A, B, or C). The next three answers will be where a student can get half credit for the answer by choosing D ("A or B"), E ("B or C), or F ("A or C"). Then the student will not get full credit by choosing D, E, or F but half credit by being able to narrow the answer down to the two answers they are certain of. The last choice would be G (I don't know). There the student would get a one-third of the credit for being honest rather than no points for guessing a wrong answer (Swartz, 2006).

In conclusion there are many advantages and disadvantages to both multiple-choice and essay tests. The teacher should pick out what is more suitable according to the classroom. Factors that would favor multiple-choice may be large class size, large amount of knowledge, technology already available for scantrons, less time for grading, and students with low writing scores. Factors that would favor essay tests could include smaller class sizes, many student teacher aides to help grade, assessment of application and comprehension, and students with high writing scores. Other tests are also being developed to bring the most from assessing students comprehension of information.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

1. What is an advantage of using an essay test?

A) It costs less money

B) It contains a higher level of information quality

C) It takes a long time to grade

D) It can be graded with a bubble sheet optical reader

2. What is a disadvantage of using multiple-choice tests?

A) Students can guess the answers

B) Tests require scantrons

C) Tests are easier

D) Tests can be graded faster

3. If a teacher has a large group of students in their class, what kind of test would be less time consuming to grade?

A) Fill in the blank test

B) Essay test

C) Oral test

D) Multiple choice test

4. Multiple-choice tests assess mostly what type of cognitive information from students?

A) Evaluation

B) Application

C) Knowledge

D) Comprehension

Holtzman, M. (2008). Demystifying application-based multiple-choice questions. College Teaching , 56(2), 114-120. Retrieved on March 22, 2009 from EBSCOhost database: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=105&sid=ff9aaa2c-b758-4f95-8d5c-8f5a3fcc36c5%40sessionmgr109

Matzen, R. N. Jr., & Hoyt, J. E. (2004). Basic writing placement with holistically scored essays: Research evidense. Journal of Developmental Education , 28(1), 2-4,6,8,20,23,34. Retrieved on March 21, 2009 from EBSCOhost database: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=4&hid=105&sid=ff9aaa2c-b758-4f95-8d5c-8f5a3fcc36c5%40sessionmgr109

Swartz, S. M. (2006). Acceptance and accuracy of multiple choice, confidence-level, and essay question formats for graduate students. Journal of Education for Business , 81(4), 215-220. Retrieved on March 21, 2009 from EBSCOhost database: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=105&sid=ff9aaa2c-b758-4f95-8d5c-8f5a3fcc36c5%40sessionmgr109

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples

The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

what is essay tests

An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-types/

Is this article helpful?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Other students also liked, how to write an argumentative essay | examples & tips, how to write an expository essay, how to write an essay outline | guidelines & examples, what is your plagiarism score.

PrepScholar

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to study for a test: 17 expert tips.

author image

Other High School

body_test_blackboards

Do you have a big exam coming up, but you're not sure how to prepare for it? Are you looking to improve your grades or keep them strong but don't know the best way to do this? We're here to help! In this guide, we've compiled the 17 best tips for how to study for a test. No matter what grade you're in or what subject you're studying, these tips will give you ways to study faster and more effectively. If you're tired of studying for hours only to forget everything when it comes time to take a test, follow these tips so you can be well prepared for any exam you take.

How to Study for a Test: General Tips

The four tips below are useful for any test or class you're preparing for. Learn the best way to study for a test from these tips and be prepared for any future exams you take.

#1: Stick to a Study Schedule

If you're having trouble studying regularly, creating a study schedule can be a huge help. Doing something regularly helps your mind get used to it. If you set aside a time to regularly study and stick to it, it'll eventually become a habit that's (usually) easy to stick to. Getting into a fixed habit of studying will help you improve your concentration and mental stamina over time. And, just like any other training, your ability to study will improve with time and effort.

Take an honest look at your schedule (this includes schoolwork, extracurriculars, work, etc.) and decide how often you can study without making your schedule too packed. Aim for at least an hour twice a week. Next, decide when you want to study, such as Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 7-8pm, and stick to your schedule . In the beginning, you may need to tweak your schedule, but you'll eventually find the study rhythm that works best for you. The important thing is that you commit to it and study during the same times each week as often as possible.

#2: Start Studying Early and Study for Shorter Periods

Some people can cram for several hours the night before the test and still get a good grade. However, this is rarer than you may hope. Most people need to see information several times, over a period of time, for them to really commit it to memory. This means that, instead of doing a single long study session, break your studying into smaller sessions over a longer period of time. Five one-hour study sessions over a week will be less stressful and more effective than a single five-hour cram session. It may take a bit of time for you to learn how long and how often you need to study for a class, but once you do you'll be able to remember the information you need and reduce some of the stress that comes from schoolwork, tests, and studying.

#3: Remove Distractions

When you're studying, especially if it's for a subject you don't enjoy, it can be extremely tempting to take "quick breaks" from your work. There are untold distractions all around us that try to lure our concentration away from the task at hand. However, giving in to temptation can be an awful time suck. A quick glance at your phone can easily turn into an hour of wasting time on the internet, and that won't help you get the score you're looking for. In order to avoid distractions, remove distractions completely from your study space.

Eat a meal or a snack before you begin studying so you're not tempted to rummage through the fridge as a distraction. Silence your phone and keep it in an entirely different room. If you're studying on a computer, turn your WIFI off if it's not essential to have. Make a firm rule that you can't get up to check on whatever has you distracted until your allotted study time is up.

#4: Reward Yourself When You Hit a Milestone

To make studying a little more fun, give yourself a small reward whenever you hit a study milestone. For example, you might get to eat a piece of candy for every 25 flashcards you test yourself on, or get to spend 10 minutes on your phone for every hour you spend studying. You can also give yourself larger rewards for longer-term goals, such as going out to ice cream after a week of good study habits. Studying effectively isn't always easy, and by giving yourself rewards, you'll keep yourself motivated.

body_dogreward

Our pets are not the only ones who deserve rewards.

Tips for Learning and Remembering Information

While the default method of studying is reading through class notes, this is actually one of the least effective ways of learning and remembering information. In this section we cover four much more useful methods. You'll notice they all involve active learning, where you're actively reworking the material, rather than just passively reading through notes. Active studying has been shown to be a much more effective way to understand and retain information, and it's what we recommend for any test you're preparing for.

#5: Rewrite the Material in Your Own Words

It can be easy to get lost in a textbook and look back over a page, only to realize you don't remember anything about what you just read. Fortunately, there's a way to avoid this.

For any class that requires lots of reading, be sure to stop periodically as you read. Pause at the end of a paragraph/page/chapter (how much you can read at once and still remember clearly will likely depend on the material you're reading) and—without looking!—think about what the text just stated. Re-summarize it in your own words, and write down bullet points if that helps. Now, glance back over the material and make sure you summarized the information accurately and included all the important details. Take note of whatever you missed, then pick up your reading where you left off.

Whether you choose to summarize the text aloud or write down notes, re-wording the text is a very effective study tool. By rephrasing the text in your own words, you're ensuring you're actually remembering the information and absorbing its meaning, rather than just moving your eyes across a page without taking in what you're reading.

#6: Make Flashcards

Flashcards are a popular study tool for good reason! They're easy to make, easy to carry around, easy to pull out for a quick study session, and they're a more effective way of studying than just reading through pages of notes. Making your own flashcards is especially effective because you'll remember more information just through the act of writing it down on the cards. For any subjects in which you must remember connections between terms and information, such as formulas, vocabulary, equations, or historical dates, flashcards are the way to go. We recommend using the Waterfall Method when you study with flashcards since it's the fastest way to learn all the material on the cards.

#7: Teach the Material to Someone Else

Teaching someone else is a great way to organize the information you've been studying and check your grasp of it. It also often shows you that you know more of the material than you think! Find a study-buddy, or a friend/relative/pet or even just a figurine or stuffed animal and explain the material to them as if they're hearing about it for the first time. Whether the person you're teaching is real or not, teaching material aloud requires you to re-frame the information in new ways and think more carefully about how all the elements fit together. The act of running through the material in this new way also helps you more easily lock it in your mind.

#8: Make Your Own Study Guides

Even if your teacher provides you with study guides, we highly recommend making your own study materials. Just making the materials will help the information sink into your mind, and when you make your own study guides, you can customize them to the way you learn best, whether that's flashcards, images, charts etc. For example, if you're studying for a biology test, you can draw your own cell and label the components, make a Krebs cycle diagram, map out a food chain, etc. If you're a visual learner (or just enjoy adding images to your study materials), include pictures and diagrams.

Sometimes making your own charts and diagrams will mean recreating the ones in your textbook from memory, and sometimes it will mean putting different pieces of information together yourself. Whatever the diagram type and whatever the class, writing your information down and making pictures out of it will be a great way to help you remember the material.

body-student-study-reading-bed

How to Study for a History Test

History tests are notorious for the amount of facts and dates you need to know. Make it easier to retain the information by using these two tips.

#9: Know Causes and Effects

It's easy and tempting to simply review long lists of dates of important events, but this likely won't be enough for you to do well on a history test, especially if it has any writing involved. Instead of only learning the important dates of, say, WWI, focus on learning the factors that led to the war and what its lasting impacts on the world were. By understanding the cause and effects of major events, you'll be able to link them to the larger themes you're learning in history class. Also, having more context about an event can often make it easier to remember little details and dates that go along with it.

#10: Make Your Own Timelines

Sometimes you need to know a lot of dates for a history test. In these cases, don't think passively reading your notes is enough. Unless you have an amazing memory, it'll take you a long time for all those dates to sink into your head if you only read through a list of them. Instead, make your own timeline.

Make your first timeline very neat, with all the information you need to know organized in a way that makes sense to you (this will typically be chronologically, but you may also choose to organize it by theme). Make this timeline as clear and helpful as you can, using different colors, highlighting important information, drawing arrows to connecting information, etc. Then, after you've studied enough to feel you have a solid grasp of the dates, rewrite your timeline from memory. This one doesn't have to be neat and organized, but include as much information as you remember. Continue this pattern of studying and writing timelines from memory until you have all the information memorized.

body_compassmap

Know which direction events occur in to prepare for history tests.

How to Study for a Math Test

Math tests can be particularly intimating to many students, but if you're well-prepared for them, they're often straightforward.

#11: Redo Homework Problems

More than most tests, math tests usually are quite similar to the homework problems you've been doing. This means your homework contains dozens of practice problems you can work through. Try to review practice problems from every topic you'll be tested on, and focus especially on problems that you struggled with. Remember, don't just review how you solved the problem the first time. Instead, rewrite the problem, hide your notes, and solve it from scratch. Check your answer when you're finished. That'll ensure you're committing the information to memory and actually have a solid grasp of the concepts.

#12: Make a Formula Sheet

You're likely using a lot of formulas in your math class, and it can be hard remembering what they are and when to use them. Throughout the year, as you learn a new important formula, add it to a formula sheet you've created. For each formula, write out the formula, include any notes about when to use it, and include a sample problem that uses the formula. When your next math test rolls around, you'll have a useful guide to the key information you've been learning.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

How to Study for an English Test

Whether your English test involves writing or not, here are two tips to follow as you prepare for it.

#13: Take Notes as You Read

When you're assigned reading for English class, it can be tempting to get through the material as quickly as possible and then move on to something else. However, this is not a good way to retain information, and come test day, you may be struggling to remember a lot of what you read. Highlighting important passages is also too passive a way to study. The way to really retain the information you read is to take notes. This takes more time and effort, but it'll help you commit the information to memory. Plus, when it comes time to study, you'll have a handy study guide ready and won't have to frantically flip through the book to try to remember what you read. The more effort you put into your notes, the more helpful they'll be. Consider organizing them by theme, character, or however else makes sense to you.

#14: Create Sample Essay Outlines

If the test you're taking requires you to write an essay, one of the best ways to be prepared is to develop essay outlines as you study. First, think about potential essay prompts your teacher might choose you to write about. Consider major themes, characters, plots, literary comparisons, etc., you discussed in class, and write down potential essay prompts. Just doing this will get you thinking critically about the material and help you be more prepared for the test.

Next, write outlines for the prompts you came up with (or, if you came up with a lot of prompts, choose the most likely to outline). These outlines don't need to contain much information, just your thesis and a few key points for each body paragraph. Even if your teacher chooses a different prompt than what you came up with, just thinking about what to write about and how you'll organize your thoughts will help you be more prepared for the test.

body_blank_essay

Fancy pen and ink not required to write essay outlines.

What to Do the Night Before the Test

Unfortunately, the night before a test is when many students make study choices that actually hurt their chances of getting a good grade. These three tips will help you do some final review in a way that helps you be at the top of your game the next day.

#15: Get Enough Sleep

One of the absolute best ways to prepare for a test-any test-is to be well-rested when you sit down to take it. Staying up all night cramming information isn't an effective way of studying, and being tired the next day can seriously impact your test-taking skills. Aim to get a solid eight hours of sleep the night before the test so that you can wake up refreshed and at the top of your test-taking game.

#16: Review Major Concepts

It can be tempting to try to go through all your notes the night before a test to review as much information as possible, but this will likely only leave you stressed to and overwhelmed by the information you're trying to remember. If you've been regularly reviewing information throughout the class, you shouldn't need much more than a quick review of major ideas, and perhaps a few smaller details you have difficulty remembering. Even if you've gotten behind on studying and are trying to review a lot of information, resist the information to cram and focus on only a few major topics. By keeping your final night review manageable, you have a better chance of committing that information to memory, and you'll avoid lack of sleep from late night cramming.

#17: Study Right Before You Go to Sleep

Studies have shown that if you review material right before you go to sleep, you have better memory recall the next day. (This is also true if you study the information right when you wake up.) This doesn't mean you should cram all night long (remember tip #15), but if there are a few key pieces of information you especially want to review or are having trouble committing to memory, review them right before you go to bed. Sweet dreams!

Summary: The Best Way to Study for a Test

If you're not sure how to study for a test effectively, you might end up wasting hours of time only to find that you've barely learned anything at all. Overall, the best way to study for a test, whether you want to know how to study for a math test or how to study for a history test, is to study regularly and practice active learning. Cramming information and trying to remember things just by looking over notes will rarely get you the score you want. Even though the tips we suggest do take time and effort on your part, they'll be worth it when you get the score you're working towards.

What's Next?

Want tips specifically on how to study for AP exams? We've outlined the f ive steps you need to follow to ace your AP classes.

Taking the SAT and need study tips? Our guide has every study tip you should follow to reach your SAT goal score.

Or are you taking the ACT instead? We've got you covered! Read our guide to learn four different ways to study for the ACT so you can choose the study plan that's best for you.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

what is essay tests

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

What is Essay Type Test

Back to: Measurement and Evaluation in Education B.ed Notes, M.A Notes, IGNOU Notes and Graduation Notes

The word essay has been derived from a French word ‘essayer’ which means ‘to try or to attempt’.

Definition of Essay Type Test

“Essay test is a test that requires the student to structure a rather long written response up to several paragraphs.” i.e. “the essay test refers to any written test that requires the examinee to write a sentence, a paragraph or longer passages.”

Characteristics of essay type test

  • The length of the needed responses vary with regard to marks and time. For example, in bed papers, there are 10 mark, mark, and 3 mark questions, thus the length of the answers changes appropriately. For 10 marks, it must be finished within 15-20 minutes for each 3 marks; 5 minutes is the maximum, therefore the length of replies varies with regard to time.
  • It necessitates a subjective judgement: judgement refers to making a decision or judging, but subjective refers to not being fair enough, i.e., it varies from person to person, for example, criteria for drafting a statement of specification. We are asked to provide each requirement along with examples. Some may write simply criteria, while others may provide examples; therefore, marks or grades are assigned based on the degree of quality, accuracy, and completeness of the responses.
  • Most common and commonly used: The essay has become an important aspect of formal education. Structured essay format is taught to secondary students in order to improve their writing skills. Many of the same types of essays are used in magazine or newspaper articles as in academic writings. Employment essays outlining our experience in specific occupational domains are also required while applying for some positions, particularly government ones. As a result, it is the most well-known and commonly utilised.

Essay is of two types:

Restricted answer questions:.

These questions typically limit both the substance and the response. The breadth of the issue to be discussed usually limits the substance, and constraints on the method of answer are frequently mentioned in the question. Another technique to limit replies in essay assessments is to ask questions about specific topics. To that end, introductory information similar to that utilised in interpretative exercises might be offered. The sole difference between these items and objective interpretive exercises is that essay questions are utilised instead of multiple choice or true or false answers. Because the restricted answer question is more organised, it is best suited for assessing learning outcomes that need the interpretation and application of data in a specific area.

For eg: State any five definitions of Socioilogy?

Write a life sketch of Hitler in 200 words?

Extended response questions:

Students are not restricted in terms of the topics they will address or the style of structure they will utilise. Teachers should provide students as much leeway as possible in determining the nature and breadth of their inquiries, and he should respond to these sorts of questions in a timely and relevant manner. The student may choose the points he believes are most significant, pertinent, and relevant to his views and order and organise the answers in whatever way he sees fit. As a result, they are also known as free response questions.

The instructor can then assess the student’s ability to organise, integrate, understand, and express themselves in their own words. It also allows you to remark on or investigate students’ development, the quality of their thinking, the depth of their learning, problem-solving abilities, and any issues they may be experiencing. These abilities interact with each other as well as the information and comprehension required by the situation. Thus, this form of inquiry contributes the most at the levels of synthesis and evaluation of writing skills.

  • E.g.: 1. Describe at length the defects of the present day examination system in the state of Maharashtra. Suggest ways and means of improving the examination system.
  • 2. Describe the character of hamlet.
  • 3. Global warming is the next step to disaster.
  • Extended Response of free type response type: in this form of inquiry, the replies demand that the student is not limited to the amount to which he has discussed the concerns raised or the question asked.
  • Plan and organise his ideas in order to provide a response.
  • Put his views through by expressing oneself freely, exactly, and clearly utilising his own words and writings.
  • Discuss the questions in depth, providing various facets of his understanding on the matter or issue mentioned.
  • To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In

essay examination

Definition of essay examination

Love words.

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features

Dictionary Entries Near essay examination

Cite this entry.

“Essay examination.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/essay%20examination. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Play Quordle: Guess all four words in a limited number of tries.  Each of your guesses must be a real 5-letter word.

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Word of the day.

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Popular in Grammar & Usage

8 grammar terms you used to know, but forgot, homophones, homographs, and homonyms, commonly misspelled words, a guide to em dashes, en dashes, and hyphens, absent letters that are heard anyway, popular in wordplay, the words of the week - feb. 23, 10 scrabble words without any vowels, 12 more bird names that sound like insults (and sometimes are), 9 superb owl words, 'gaslighting,' 'woke,' 'democracy,' and other top lookups, games & quizzes.

Play Blossom: Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Dallas Morning News

Computers scoring Texas students’ STAAR essay answers, state officials say

Texas students’ written responses on the STAAR test will most likely be scored by a computer, rather than a person.

Some education leaders are confused by the change and question how using this technology to assess essays will impact students and teachers. State officials say this system is not the same as the generative artificial intelligence that powers programs like ChatGPT, but a tool with narrow abilities that can improve scoring efficiency.

The Texas Education Agency quietly rolled out a new model for evaluating student answers on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, in December. Roughly three-quarters of written responses are scored by an “automated scoring engine.”

Officials emphasized that these engines don’t learn beyond a single question and are programmed to emulate how humans would score an essay. The computer determines how to assess written answers after analyzing thousands of students’ responses that were previously scored by people.

The automated scoring engine is “programmed by humans, overseen by humans, and is analyzed at the end by humans,” said Jose Rios, director of the student assessment division.

The new scoring method comes amid a broader STAAR redesign. There’s now a cap on multiple choice questions. The new test – which launched last year – includes essays at every grade level.

“These questions are very time consuming and laborious to score,” Rios said. “At the same time, you need to balance that with our commitment to produce results as fast as we can for districts. We needed to find a way to be more efficient.”

Agency officials estimated the new test format would require four to five times the number of human scorers, costing an extra $15 million to $20 million per year if they were to exclusively use people.

Only about one in four student responses will end up in front of a person’s eyes.

The rollout confused some education leaders, who said agency officials could have announced the move with more transparency.

“At the very least, they should do a pilot or study for a pretty long time,” State Board of Education member Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth, said. “It’s an area that needs more exploration. … It just seems so cold.”

Dallas schools Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said she only recently learned about the change and is left with questions about how the system was created and potential biases within it.

“It’s the same lesson, certainly, that I learn and want to improve on: That the more information we provide our communities, the better trusting relationships we build,” Elizalde said.

TEA officials say a technical report, with a detailed overview of the system, will be available later this year.

Other states have used this type of model for years, though not without criticism . In Ohio, for example , some districts said they spotted irregularities after tests were scored by computers, The Plain Dealer reported in 2018.

Cleveland’s newspaper reported that district officials began asking questions about scoring after a larger-than-expected number of student answers received zero points.

A similar question emerged in Texas, where large numbers of high schoolers received zeroes during the most recent STAAR test. State officials insist the automated scoring engines are not the reason for this.

Agency officials say they’re confident in their program.

The scoring engines were “successful in recreating the Spring 2023 results and were shown to be as accurate as human scorers,” they said. TEA officials did not provide information showing this result to The Dallas Morning News.

Humans validate about 25% of the answers scored by the computer. Essays are routed to human scorers based on certain conditions or if the scoring engine expresses low confidence about its determination. Random tests are also audited.

“The low confidence responses are often those responses that are on the border between two score points,” according to a state document outlining the method . “The purpose of this routing is to ensure that unusual or borderline responses receive fair and accurate scores.”

All Spanish STAAR tests are scored by people. Agency officials said their automated scoring engines don’t work for languages other than English.

Les Perelman, a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology associate dean and longtime critic of automated essay scoring, said this differentiation concerns him.

“It’s inherently unequal,” he said.

The shift in scoring STAAR tests is part of a larger conversation about the role of technology in classrooms. How can teachers catch students using ChatGPT to write essays? What could be accomplished with AI tutors?

“Where I really see AI going in education is moving towards: how do we give really timely, useful feedback that is going to allow students to learn better?” said Peter Foltz, a University of Colorado, Boulder professor and director of the Institute for Student-AI Teaming.

Teacher concerns

Some educators were taken aback by the quiet introduction of this new scoring method. Schools are graded on the state’s academic accountability system largely based on how students perform on STAAR.

During the latest round of STAAR testing in the fall, a huge number of high school students scored poorly on the written questions. Roughly 8 in 10 written responses on the English II End of Course exam received zero points .

In the spring – the first iteration of the redesigned test, but scored only by humans – roughly a quarter of responses scored zero points in the same subject.

Many students who take STAAR in the fall are “re-testers” who did not meet grade level on a previous test attempt. Spring testers tend to perform better, according to agency officials who were asked to explain the spike in low scores in the fall.

Chris Rozunick, the director of the state’s assessment development division, said she understands why people connect the spike in zeroes to the rollout of automated scoring based on the timing. But she insists that the two are unrelated.

“It really is the population of testers much more than anything else,” Rozunick said.

Observers’ skepticism may be fueled by Texas’ previous problems with STAAR technology.

In 2016, thousands of Texas students had difficulties logging in and staying online during writing exams, prompting state officials to void those results.

Testing vendor ETS was fined $5.7 million for damages by the TEA and ordered to spend more than $15 million on improvements to its online system and test shipping.

In 2018, the state was forced to throw out 71,000 online STAAR exams after server problems caused crashes during April and May testing windows.

Three years later, the state saw more technology flare-ups during testing , with students in various districts kicked out of tests and unable to log back in. ETS’ contract ended that year.

TEA officials said they worked with their assessment vendors, Cambium and Pearson, to develop the automated scoring engines.

Perelman said one of his concerns with the trend toward machine scoring is that it “teaches students to be bad writers,” with teachers incentivized to instruct children on how to write to a computer rather than to a human. The problem, he said, is machines are “really stupid” when it comes to ideas.

He previously made waves when he and others developed the “BABEL Generator,” which spit out incoherent essays that scored well when evaluated by automated scoring engines about a decade ago.

Texas Education Agency officials said their scoring engines look for anomalies, such as if a student has not responded in English or wrote an answer of “unexpected length.” Those responses are sent for human scoring.

Foltz said automated scorers must be built with strong guardrails. He added that it’s not easy to coach students on how to game a scoring engine.

Texas’ standard of checking roughly 25% of essays with a human scorer provides “a pretty good margin of safety ... to know that things are working,” he added.

More information about how Texas’ new system operates is expected in the coming months. Education observers are likely to look for whether the system appears biased toward any student group.

“There are also human biases there, and the computers may learn any biases that the humans may have,” Foltz said. “If there’s certain kinds of phrases that humans value more, the computer will tend to pick up on that.”

Staff writer Ari Sen contributed to this article.

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, The Meadows Foundation, The Murrell Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University, Sydney Smith Hicks and the University of Texas at Dallas. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

©2024 The Dallas Morning News. Visit dallasnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Dallas

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Guest Essay

I’m a Neuroscientist. We’re Thinking About Biden’s Memory and Age in the Wrong Way.

President Biden seated in a chair holding a stack of what looks like index cards.

By Charan Ranganath

Dr. Ranganath is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, and the author of the forthcoming book “Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold On to What Matters.”

The special counsel Robert K. Hur’s report, in which he declined to prosecute President Biden for his handling of classified documents, also included a much-debated assessment of Mr. Biden’s cognitive abilities.

“Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

As an expert on memory, I can assure you that everyone forgets. In fact, most of the details of our lives — the people we meet, the things we do and the places we go — will inevitably be reduced to memories that capture only a small fraction of those experiences.

It is normal to be more forgetful as you get older. Generally, memory functions begin to decline in our 30s and continue to fade into old age. However, age in and of itself doesn’t indicate the presence of memory deficits that would affect an individual’s ability to perform in a demanding leadership role. And an apparent memory lapse may or may not be consequential, depending on the reasons it occurred.

There is forgetting, and there is Forgetting. If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve most likely experienced the frustration of trying to grasp that slippery word on the tip of your tongue. Colloquially, this might be described as forgetting, but most memory scientists would call this retrieval failure, meaning that the memory is there but we just can’t pull it up when we need it. On the other hand, Forgetting (with a capital F) is when a memory is seemingly lost or gone altogether. Inattentively conflating the names of the leaders of two countries would fall in the first category, whereas being unable to remember that you had ever met the president of Egypt would fall into the second.

Over the course of typical aging, we see changes in the functioning of the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that plays a starring role in many of our day-to-day memory successes and failures. These changes mean that as we get older, we tend to be more distractible and often struggle to pull up words or names we’re looking for. Remembering events takes longer, and it requires more effort, and we can’t catch errors as quickly as we used to. This translates to a lot more forgetting and a little more Forgetting.

Many of the special counsel’s observations about Mr. Biden’s memory seem to fall in the category of forgetting, meaning that they are more indicative of a problem with finding the right information from memory than Forgetting. Calling up the date that an event occurred, like the last year of Mr. Biden’s vice presidency or the year of his son’s death, is a complex measure of memory. Remembering that an event took place is different from being able to put a date on when it happened, which is more challenging with increased age. The president very likely has many memories, even though he could not immediately pull up dates in the stressful (and more immediately pressing) context of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Other “memory” issues highlighted in the media are not so much cases of forgetting as they are of difficulties in the articulation of facts and knowledge. For instance, in July 2023, Mr. Biden mistakenly stated in a speech that “we have over 100 people dead,” when he should have said, “over one million.” He has struggled with a stutter since childhood, and research suggests that managing a stutter demands prefrontal resources that would normally enable people to find the right word or at least quickly correct errors after the fact.

Americans are understandably concerned about the advanced age of the two top contenders in the coming presidential election (Mr. Biden is 81, and Donald Trump is 77), although some of these concerns are rooted in cultural stereotypes and fears around aging. The fact is that there is a huge degree of variability in cognitive aging. Age is, on average, associated with decreased memory, but studies that follow up the same person over several years have shown that although some older adults show precipitous declines over time, other super-agers remain as sharp as ever.

Mr. Biden is the same age as Harrison Ford, Paul McCartney and Martin Scorsese. He’s also a bit younger than Jane Fonda (86) and a lot younger than the Berkshire Hathaway C.E.O., Warren Buffett (93). All these individuals are considered to be at the top of their professions, and yet I would not be surprised if they are more forgetful and absent-minded than when they were younger. In other words, an individual’s age does not say anything definitive about the person’s cognitive status or where it will head in the near future.

I can’t speak to the cognitive status of any of the presidential candidates, but I can say that, rather than focus on candidates’ ages per se, we should consider whether they have the capabilities to do the job. Public perception of a person’s cognitive state is often determined by superficial factors, such as physical presence, confidence and verbal fluency, but these aren’t necessarily relevant to one’s capacity to make consequential decisions about the fate of this country. Memory is surely relevant, but other characteristics, such as knowledge of the relevant facts and emotion regulation — both of which are relatively preserved and might even improve with age — are likely to be of equal or greater importance.

Ultimately, we are due for a national conversation about what we should expect in terms of the cognitive and emotional health of our leaders.

And that should be informed by science, not politics.

Charan Ranganath is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, and the author of “ Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold On to What Matters .”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .

Sponsored Content | 5 Best Essay Writing Services in 2024: Review…

Share this:.

  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)

Today's e-Edition

  • Things to Do
  • Real Estate
  • Marketplace

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content | 5 best essay writing services in 2024: review of legit college paper websites.

what is essay tests

  • High-quality, plagiarism-free papers.
  • Stress-free money-back guarantee.
  • Possibility to track your order.
  • Free plagiarism report and 10% first-time discount with the code LWS10.
  • Quick price calculator.
  • Support agents can sometimes be slow.
  • Free revisions are limited.

PaperHelp is a trusted essay writing service with many professional writers and academics ready to help you with any college task. Prices start from $13.00  per page, and there is a price calculator available on their website so that you can have an idea of the cost of your paper before ordering it.

The order process is quite simple; you only need to fill out the order form with your assignment details. What’s cool about PaperHelp is that this college writing service doesn’t require you to provide any personal information you’re not willing to share – only your email is required to place an order.

After placing an order, the system will match it with a professional in 10 to 15 minutes, and the online paper writer will start working on your order immediately.

With PaperHelp’s academic writing service, you can get updates on your order status by email, SMS, or simply by checking your account control panel. Their support team is available 24/7, ready to answer any questions or concerns.

You can try their services at a discounted price, as they offer a 10% discount for first-time users (use the LWS10 code during checkout). This way, you can better understand whether this is the solution for you without spending big bucks.

Lastly, their loyalty program allows you to accumulate credits on each order, which can later be used toward future assignments.

#2. BBQPapers  — Best for Research Papers and Dissertations

BBQPapers  Best for Research Papers and Dissertations

  • Excellent paper quality.
  • Absolute best essay writers in the industry.
  • 10% first order discount with the code HELLOBBQ.
  • Active and responsive support team.
  • Direct communication with a paper writer is possible.
  • Free revisions.
  • A loyalty program offers generous lifetime discounts.
  • No price calculator to get an instant quote.

BBQPapers is the best college essay writing service in the USA in terms of quality and professionalism. It has a team of over 500 professional essay writers who have delivered over 100,000 papers to tens of thousands of customers over the years.

This company has been especially recognized for its papers’ quality and great customer service. While this isn’t the cheapest service, the quality output is well worth it. For this reason, we think this is the top choice for papers that require rigorous research and extensive analysis.

To order a paper, you must sign up and calculate the price while filling out the order form, which is less convenient than using a price calculator. After receiving the final version of your paper, you will have ten days to request revisions and send your comments on how the college essay writer could improve their work.

Prices start at $9.94 for proofreading, $11.70 for editing, and $17.55  for writing. You can get a 15% lifetime discount on all your future papers if you buy more than ten essays from BBQPapers.

BBQPapers offers a 10% first-order discount for new customers, so be sure to use the code HELLOBBQ to claim it.

#3. EssayPro  — Best for Balance Between Quality and Affordability

EssayPro  Best for Balance Between Quality and Affordability

  • Ability to pick your own writer.
  • Direct communication with a professional writer is possible.
  • Unlimited revisions.
  • Free plagiarism report.
  • No price calculator.
  • Reports of typos and grammar errors in final drafts.

EssayPro is a legit essay writing service that connects professional writers with college students who need an excellent assignment on short notice. Their primary services include writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading.

The ordering process is easy. All you need to do is complete a form detailing your assignment details and upload the necessary files. Professional college essay writers will then bid on your assignment, and you can pick one based on pricing, rating, number of completed orders, job completion rate, and customer reviews. Writers will also provide a free plagiarism report at your request.

Once your paper is ready, download it and request revisions if necessary. EssayPro can help you with a research paper, admission essay, lab report, thesis, or academic dissertation. This site covers all high school, college, and university writing assignments.

Their prices start at $11.40 , but there is no price calculator to quickly estimate the cost. EssayPro operates as a bidding-based platform, and professional paper writers offer the final price. The most prominent standout feature of EssayPro is that their prices don’t dramatically scale depending on the urgency of your paper and stay roughly the same across all deadlines.

For this reason, EssayPro is the top pick for students who need their papers written urgently and are looking for a good balance between price and quality.

#4. ExtraEssay  — Best for Last-minute College Papers

ExtraEssay  Best for Last-minute College Papers

  • Great quality.
  • On-time delivery guarantee.
  • 15% discount for first-time customers.
  • Urgent turnaround time available (1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours).
  • Price calculator to get a quick cost estimate.
  • Decent reputation, lots of positive essay writing service reviews.
  • Slightly more expensive than other services.
  • Documented negative experiences with some support agents.
  • Plagiarism report costs $15.

ExtraEssay has been writing college papers since 2016. During this time, they have amassed a large team of over 3,500 experts who can help you with all writing emergencies.

They offer a wide range of college essay services and do not only focus on academic assignments. You can use this service for some non-conventional tasks like PowerPoint presentations, retyping (handwriting to word), rewriting, paraphrasing, equation solving, and more.

Similarly to EssayPro and PaperHelp, ExtraEssay has a cost estimator for your convenience. The prices are on par with BBQPapers, with basic essays starting at $13.00  per page. Choose the type of paper you want, and select your academic level, deadline, and preferred word count to receive the total cost of your order. If you need to reach them, their team is available 24/7.

One of the unique features of ExtraEssay is that it’s the only website that offers a 1-hour delivery. However, this urgency level only applies to short essays of up to three pages.

Although they can deliver your work quickly, we found that some writers at ExtraEssay can struggle to provide complex, university-level assignments on short deadlines. It might be better only to use their urgent academic writing services if you find yourself in a pickle and need a simple assignment produced on very short notice.

Overall, even though this academic writing company sits in fourth place in our list of the best paper writing services, ExtraEssay is a relatively good choice for anyone who’s looking for good quality at a fair price.

#5. WritePaperForMe  — Best Cheap Essay Writing Service

WritePaperForMe  Best Cheap Essay Writing Service

  • Cheap services, good quality.
  • Quick & timely delivery.
  • Installment payments for big orders.
  • College essay writers are available 24/7.
  • Free unlimited revision.
  • Price calculator.
  • Slow customer support.
  • Plagiarism reports are offered for a fee.
  • Sometimes, you have to copy-edit your paper to adapt it to your writing style and language.

When it comes to cheap essay writing services online, you have to be extra cautious. Writing is a complex activity, so the lower the price, the higher the chance that you will get a carelessly written, maybe even plagiarized, paper that you won’t be able to submit to your instructor.

However, this isn’t the case with WritePaperForMe, as this is one of the few legit essay writing services that provide well-written, original papers at a low price. If your budget is tight, this is the perfect option to choose. The company mostly works with knowledgeable ESL writers from Kenya to offer a quality service at a low price. Prices here start at only $6.99  per page.

They will blow you away with the range of services they offer. So, whether you need a case study, a PowerPoint presentation, college essay help or assistance with mathematical assignments, WritePaperForMe will accommodate you.

To make their professional essay writing services even more accessible, they offer customers to pay in installments for expensive papers, as they understand that you might not be able to provide the lump sum right away.

FAQs: College Essay Writing Service Explained

You’re probably desperate to write your paper if you found yourself typing ‘write my college essay’ into Google search.

This can indeed be a challenging task. For this reason, we answered some of the most common questions that students seek answers to when choosing an essay writing service.

What if I am not satisfied with my paper?

This is a common concern when ordering essays online, and it is entirely justified. Thankfully, all the paper writing services presented in this article offer a free revision service. If you are not satisfied, you can send detailed comments to the writer, and they will make the necessary adjustments to your paper.

The least flexible college essay service on this aspect is PaperHelp, which only allows three revisions. All the other services will offer unlimited revisions, at least for some time after product delivery.

If revisions don’t help, you can ask for a full refund. However, in most cases, you must explain why you did not find the work satisfactory.

How far in advance do I need to order?

It is important to try your best to request an assignment as early as possible. Most of the essay writing websites featured in this article have a very short deadline of three hours, except for WritePaperForMe, which has a minimum deadline of six.

However, even the best and fastest writers cannot produce a well-researched 30-page assignment in under three hours. But the best essay writing services will undoubtedly deliver if you need a short assignment done at the last minute.

Will a native English speaker write my essay?

Most websites allow you to choose between a native English speaker or an ESL online essay writer. An ESL writer is usually cheaper and sometimes better if you’re not a native speaker of English yourself.

If you choose PaperHelp, for instance, you must select a writer from the TOP category to guarantee a native English speaker from the U.S., Canada or the U.K. However, a writer from the TOP category will cost up to 50% more.

Is buying essays online confidential and safe?

When using a paper writing service, confidentiality is a must. EssayPro and PaperHelp provide complete anonymity, even when using their services and speaking to their writers and representatives.

Other than that, these websites take the highest precautions to protect your financial information by offering secure payment options. Lastly, none of the featured companies will ever share your personal information with third parties unless you provide them with written permission.

Are essay writing services legit?

Yes, legitimate essay writing services exist, but it may take some time to find a trustworthy service if you’re ordering for the first time. If you read Reddit threads dedicated to college paper writing services, you will see hundreds of positive reviews about companies that write essays for you.

Besides, some reputable websites are dedicated to helping students find reliable essay writing help online by collecting customer reviews on assignment writing services.

Where do essay writing companies find their professional essay writers?

Every essay writing company is different, therefore the approach to hiring writers can differ from one company to another. Most companies hire freelancers all across the globe to be able to provide essay writing services round the clock and in any timezone.

Successful candidates usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field that they apply to and successfully pass a few grammar tests to be able to get access to students’ orders.

Some other companies also have in-house teams of writers. These professionals typically proofread and copy-edit all the academic writing assignments done by freelancers and improve the content if it lacks depth, research, or has any stylistic flaws.

Will my paper be plagiarism-free?

If you turn to a reliable essay writing service for help, you can rest assured that the content you will receive is original. A professional essay writer will craft a paper tailored to your requirements. Besides, you will remain its sole owner because reputable companies never resell the academic papers they write.

Some academic writing companies like BBQPapers and EssayPro provide originality reports free of charge to give you peace of mind that your essay is unique and free from plagiarism.

Are essay writing services legal?

One aspect that many students ponder over is whether it is legal to use a professional essay writing service. Plenty of misinformation is spreading, leading some students to think that purchasing a paper from an essay writing website could be illegal.

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear. It can never be illegal to purchase a written piece of work. The student simply requests a paper, and an expert essay writer provides a written piece of content that matches the requirements.

This is a transaction between a company and an individual, and nothing could imply a breach of legality. You can be sure it is safe and legal to use online essay writing services. No laws exist against using such services, regardless of what you may have been told.

Moreover, any trustworthy essay writing site has a clear disclaimer and a terms/conditions page that outlines the terms of use. It shows that these services are acting within the law and are not breaking any regulations.

A custom essay writing service is a third party that provides assignments, reports, and essays for personal private use. Therefore, the website is not liable for what happens with its content.

Reliable Essay Writing Services: Summing Up

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of the topic and helped you find an essay writer service that could perfectly match you. Getting qualified college paper help  is easy if you know what to look for.

Each college paper service is unique, with its advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to pick the one that will help you achieve the best result possible. Life gets busy, and sometimes, we just do not have the time to dedicate hours and hours to writing essays. These services can be true lifesavers and free up some time for you to focus your energy on other important goals.

We will leave you with this final tip: if you ever request a writing service, provide detailed instructions. This information will help writers produce high-quality papers that match your expectations.

Article paid for by: Ocasio Media The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

google-site-verification: googled55ac16d608893c5.html

More in Sponsored Content

Homeowners can craft their ideal indoor-outdoor lifestyle with playgrounds, decks, built-in kitchens and more.

Sponsored Content | Sponsored: Elevated living discovered in the El Dorado foothills at Oakhaven by Blue Mountain Communities

With standard quartz kitchen countertops, stainless steel appliances and solar included, this community takes zero shortcuts when it comes to a fabulous lifestyle.

Sponsored Content | Sponsored: Lumina at Reynolds Ranch: Explore luxurious living in charming Lodi wine country

One of the standout features of this community is its premier location in a top-tier school district.

Sponsored Content | Sponsored: Demand for executive-style luxury homes soars at Magnolia by Tim Lewis 

The new homes offer stylish layouts in a beautiful suburban setting, mixed in with top-notch amenities designed around the community lake for a truly elevated way of life.

Sponsored Content | Sponsored: Discover new homes at Lennar’s 2023 master-planned community of the year

The Chronicle

Duke no longer giving numerical rating to standardized testing, essays in undergraduate admissions

what is essay tests

Duke is no longer giving essays and standardized testing scores numerical ratings in the undergraduate admissions process.

The change went into place this year, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag wrote in an email to The Chronicle. He explained that essays are no longer receiving a score because of a rise in the use of generative artificial intelligence and college admissions consultants.

When asked about how the admissions office determines if an essay is AI-generated or written by consultants and if applicants are hurt if the office determines so, Guttentag answered that "there aren't simple answers to these questions." 

Despite the changes, Guttentag wrote that essays and standardized testing scores are still considered in the admissions process. 

“Essays are very much part of our understanding of the applicant, we’re just no longer assuming that the essay is an accurate reflection of the student’s actual writing ability,” he wrote. “Standardized tests (SAT or ACT) are considered when they’re submitted as part of the application.”

According to Guttentag, essays will now be used to “help understand the applicant as an individual rather, not just as a set of attributes and accomplishments.” He also wrote that the admissions office now values essays that give “insight into who the unique person is whose application we’re reading” and that “content and insight matter more than style.”

“Because of that they are not given a numerical rating, but considered as we think holistically about a candidate as a potential member of the Duke community,” he wrote. 

Previously, the Duke admissions office would assign numerical ratings of one to five on six different categories: curriculum strength, academics, recommendations, essays, extracurriculars and test scores. Applicants would then receive a total score out of 30 by adding up each category’s numerical rating.

According to Guttentag, the only categories given numerical ratings now are the four categories that remain: “the strength of a student’s curriculum, their grades in academic courses, their extracurricular activities and the letters of recommendation.”

“There are naturally many, many more factors that are taken into account when making admissions decisions — these are just a partial but useful way of thinking [of] applicants in the context of the pool as a whole,” he wrote. “I suppose it may be something similar to looking at a player’s various statistics, which only give you a partial picture of the player’s contribution to the team.”

Guttentag noted that historically, numerical ratings have been “valuable in helping to identify competitive applicants.”

Admissions processes for colleges across the country have seen changes and experimentation recently due to a variety of factors, most notably the Supreme Court’s overturning of race-based affirmative action in June 2023 and changes to standardized testing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Supreme Court decision was absolutely not a factor in how we decided to approach essays,” Guttentag wrote. Duke remained test-optional for the 2023-24 admissions cycle. 

Even when tested by Syracuse's elite offense, Duke women's basketball proves its defensive mettle

Dps board of education approves 11% raises for staff, $300k severance for former superintendent, duke’s last attempt at curriculum reform failed to reach consensus. how is this time different, get the chronicle straight to your inbox.

Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.

Jazper Lu profile

Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

Share and discuss “Duke no longer giving numerical rating to standardized testing, essays in undergraduate admissions” on social media.

 facebook  twitter

Three points: All-around defense, road poise crucial for No. 8 Duke men's basketball against Wake Forest

Tyrese proctor returns from concussion protocol, active for duke men's basketball against miami, office of climate and sustainability continues seminar series with discussion of equity, updates on divestment, dsg senators discuss democracy day, approve funding for student groups, no. 13 duke baseball hangs on for close midweek win against liberty in home opener, timeline of decision to close duke herbarium reveals limited communication over multiple years.

IMAGES

  1. 7 Steps to Studying for an Essay Test

    what is essay tests

  2. PPT

    what is essay tests

  3. Essay Type Tests : Types of Tests.

    what is essay tests

  4. The Complete Guide to Standardized Essay Tests by JR Education Resources

    what is essay tests

  5. Test Taking Strategies

    what is essay tests

  6. Essay type test examples

    what is essay tests

VIDEO

  1. Can ChatGPT write a Higher History essay?

  2. #Shorts#Distinction between Essay type tests And Objective type tests#Pedagogy of physical Science#

  3. Constructing Essay Tests

  4. How to write an A+ essay in Medical School EVERY TIME ✍🏼

  5. Essay examples I The best online essay

  6. Avoid This College Essay Mistake

COMMENTS

  1. Essay Exams

    Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out if you can sort through a large body of information, figure out what is important, and explain why it is important. Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you've practiced in the course.

  2. Essay Test Preparation Tips and Strategies

    Being able to identify and becoming familiar with the most common types of essay test questions is key to improving performance on essay exams. The following are 5 of the most common question types you'll find on essay exams. 1. Identify. Identify essay questions ask for short, concise answers and typically do not require a fully developed essay.

  3. Tips for Creating and Scoring Essay Tests

    Essay tests are useful for teachers when they want students to select, organize, analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate information. In other words, they rely on the upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.There are two types of essay questions: restricted and extended response.

  4. 17.6: What are the benefits of essay tests?

    Essays offer a means completely different than that of multiple choice. When thinking of a means of assessment, the essay along with multiple choice are the two that most come to mind (Schouller).The essay lends itself to specific subjects; for example, a math test would not have an essay question.

  5. Essay Tests

    TIP SheetHOW TO TAKE ESSAY TESTS. Objective - requires answers of a word or short phrase, or the selection of an answer from several available choices that are provided on the test. Essay - requires answers to be written out at some length. The student functions as the source of information. An essay exam requires you to see the significance ...

  6. Essay Test: The Ultimate Guide with The Best Strategies

    An essay test is a type of written examination that requires students to construct an essay response to one or more questions. It assesses the student's ability to analyze, synthesize, and present their understanding of a subject matter through written communication.

  7. Writing Test Prep

    About the ACT Writing Test. The ACT writing test is a 40-minute essay test that measures your writing skills. The test consists of one writing prompt that will describe a complex issue and present three different perspectives on that issue. It is a paper-and-pencil test. You will write your essay in pencil (no mechanical pencils or ink pens) on ...

  8. How to Pass an Essay Test (with Pictures)

    Consider using a 5-45-10 ratio (for an hour-long essay exam): 5 minutes to plan, 45 minutes to write, and 10 minutes to revise. You can adjust this ratio to fit your own time constraints. [6] X Research source. 2. Read the prompt thoroughly and completely.

  9. Four Studying Tips for an Essay Test

    4 Essay Question Study Tips. Review chapter titles. Textbook chapters often refer to themes. Look at each relevant title and think of smaller ideas, chains of events, and relevant terms that fit within that theme. As you take notes, look for teacher code words. If you hear your teacher use words like "once again we see" or "another ...

  10. Top 10 Tips for Taking Essay Tests

    Instead, take a look at our 10 best tips for acing the essay exam: 1. Survey the landscape. When you first get the test, look over the whole thing. Figure out what the tasks are, paying special ...

  11. PDF PREPARING EFFECTIVE ESSAY QUESTIONS

    "A test item which requires a response composed by the examinee, usually in the form of ... Review: What is an Essay Question? An essay question is a test item which contains the following elements: 1. Requires examinees to compose rather than select their response. 2. Elicits student responses that must consist of more than one sentence.

  12. How to Tackle Exam Questions

    How to Tackle: Essay Questions The best way to prepare for essay tests is to practice writing essays! Anticipate questions: Make outlines of possible essay topics using your course materials so you know you've got a good grasp of what might be on the test.Then recreate your outlines from memory (unless it's an open-notes test). Practice writing at least one full essay; be mindful of the ...

  13. How to Prepare for an Essay Exam: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

    A good essay should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. 2. Outline your answers. Keeping your topics in mind (from the review stage), draft an outline to potential essay questions. Try to come up with a topic sentence and then arrange your supporting material, underneath, using bullet points.

  14. The Essay Test: A Look at the Advantages and Disadvantages

    Abstract. Essay tests, at best, are easily constructed, relatively valid tests of higher cognitive processes; but they arehard to score reliably. They can beimproved by using objectives, scoringguides, and other test constructionand scoring aids.

  15. Essay Test: Types, Advantages and Limitations

    Advantages of the Essay Tests: 1. It is relatively easier to prepare and administer a six-question extended- response essay test than to prepare and administer a comparable 60-item multiple-choice test items. 2. It is the only means that can assess an examinee's ability to organise and present his ideas in a logical and coherent fashion.

  16. 17.1: Should I give a multiple-choice test, an essay test, or something

    Administering essay test can be harder and be less cost efficient. There is technology already available for grading multiple-choice tests that take up much less time then grading essay tests. Essays cannot be ran through a bubble sheet optical reader machine that quickly grades scantrons used for multiple choice questions tests. For a ...

  17. PDF Essay Exams: Common Question Types

    Essay Exams: Common Question Types, Spring 2009. Rev. Summer 2014. 1 of 2 Essay Exams: Common Question Types When approaching any essay exam, it is important to identify what kind of response is expected—that is, what is being asked of you and what information you are required to include.

  18. The Four Main Types of Essay

    Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation. The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion: The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement

  19. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    essay, you should always be thinking about points where a thoughtful reader could reasonably disagree with you. In some cases, you will be writing your essay as a counterargument to someone else's argument because you think that argument is incorrect or misses something important. In other cases, you'll need to think through—

  20. Essay

    Essays of Michel de Montaigne. An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, ... The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.

  21. Preparing for Essay Tests Flashcards

    a. Christine should focus on learning the vocabulary words in the chapters so she can use them correctly in the essay. c. Christine should focus on potential questions that may show up in the actual test. b. Christine should focus on memorizing facts so she will know what to write about on the actual test. d.

  22. How to Study for a Test: 17 Expert Tips

    #14: Create Sample Essay Outlines. If the test you're taking requires you to write an essay, one of the best ways to be prepared is to develop essay outlines as you study. First, think about potential essay prompts your teacher might choose you to write about. Consider major themes, characters, plots, literary comparisons, etc., you discussed ...

  23. What Is Essay Type Test

    What is Essay Type Test. The word essay has been derived from a French word 'essayer' which means 'to try or to attempt'.. Definition of Essay Type Test "Essay test is a test that requires the student to structure a rather long written response up to several paragraphs." i.e. "the essay test refers to any written test that requires the examinee to write a sentence, a paragraph or ...

  24. Essay examination Definition & Meaning

    an examination made up of essay questions or a single comprehensive essay question… See the full definition. Games & Quizzes; Games & Quizzes; Word of the Day; Grammar; Wordplay; Word Finder ... variants or essay test: an examination made up of essay questions or a single comprehensive essay question compare objective test.

  25. Computers scoring Texas students' STAAR essay answers, state ...

    Essays are routed to human scorers based on certain conditions or if the scoring engine expresses low confidence about its determination. Random tests are also audited.

  26. Opinion

    Dr. Ranganath is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California, Davis, and the author of the forthcoming book "Why We ...

  27. 5 Best Essay Writing Services in 2024: Review of Legit College Paper

    A custom essay writing service is a third party that provides assignments, reports, and essays for personal private use. Therefore, the website is not liable for what happens with its content ...

  28. Duke no longer giving numerical rating to standardized testing, essays

    "Essays are very much part of our understanding of the applicant, we're just no longer assuming that the essay is an accurate reflection of the student's actual writing ability," he wrote.