The word “Scantron” sends shivers down my spine. Its standardized, bureaucratic layout is daunting enough to make even a DMV employee crawl into a fetal position. The dreaded “S” word sounds like an automated robot designed to wreak havoc on high school and college students everywhere. As a matter of fact, I’m not even going to call them by their real name in this article. To help reduce the cringe factor, let’s refer to them as “Cutesy Bunny Rabbits.”
Before you take one of these exams, it’s important to know your automatic advantages. Multiple choice tests automatically give you a 1 in 5 shot of getting a question right even if you have no idea what the answer is, whereas written exams or essays require you to put your own constructive input on something you might not understand at all. Also, seeing all the questions and answers laid out can jog your memory. Have you ever taken a short answer test where the answer was on the tip of your tongue but you couldn’t quite remember it? Cutesy Bunny Rabbits eliminate that, since all the material you studied is right in front of you.
When preparing, try to think about the different ways professors can ask a question. If a line in your notes reads “Earth is roughly one-fifth the size of Uranus,” make sure you know how to answer a question based on this from both ends. For example:
– Uranus is 5 times the size of what planet?
– Earth is roughly 1/5 the size of what gas giant?
Additionally, be sure to know the “why” and “how” questions related to your study material. If there’s one thing professors are good at, it’s making you think about the stuff you learned. Try to think of ways your notes relate to the big picture of the class, and try to make connections between topics. Do that, and those Cutesy Bunny Rabbits won’t seem so evil anymore.
On a final note, don’t let the visual formatting distract you. That classic green and white color scheme and boxy layout can strain your eyes, especially when looking back and forth between the Cutesy Bunny Rabbit and the actual test. A few drops of Visine can prevent your eyes from burning during tests. They can also prevent them from burning when observing Uranus through a telescope.