Computerized Tests & Strategies for Better Performance
Although there are still plenty of old-fashioned paper exams being given today, more than ever, schools and testing organizations are offering computerized exams. Most Teacher Certification exams are computer based. That’s because computerized exams are not only easier for those taking the tests, but for those grading them also.
There are two categories of computerized exams, with some distinct differences. Let’s examine these two types and then look at some suggested strategies for improving your performance.
The first type of computerized exam is the CBE: the “computer based exam.” This is simply a paper exam done on a computer screen. That is, it offers the same questions that you would see on the paper counterpart. Everyone gets the same questions, presented in the same order. And you’re able to do the questions in any order that you want (skipping ahead, going back), just like you can do with a paper test.
The second kind of computerized exam is the CAT: Computerized Aptitude Test. This one makes better use of computer technology, because it learns what the test-taker already knows and adapts accordingly. So for instance, if you keep getting answers right, the test starts presenting harder items. Conversely, if you keep missing questions, the test will offer easier questions. Unlike the CBE or a paper test, you cannot do the test questions in any order. You have to do them as they’re presented to you.
Tips for Improving Computerized Test Scores
Regardless of which type of test you’ll be taking, the following four strategies and tips will help you improve your grade.
1) Understand the value of practice. Even computer-directed exams can be practiced before you take the real thing. So how do you practice? By getting a book that offers realistic test questions. You can usually buy these at major bookstores, or you can head to the library to check out a copy for free. Whichever path you choose, make sure to get one with a CD-Rom, to better reflect the computer-testing environment.
2) Jot it down—on scratch paper. Scratch paper can help you with several areas on the test. For instance, you’ll want to have some for the math section, but also to take notes as you’re reading lengthy passages, or for copying charts, diagrams, and similar tools that will help you find answers for the items.
3) Don’t lose track of the time. Almost every computerized test has timed sections. In some cases, you’ll see an on-screen clock to better monitor the amount of time you’ve used, and how much more you still have.
4) And finally, find out the rules for the test before you take it. This will give you more confidence as you sit down to begin the exam process.