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I have always been a 'slower' test taker, but it has never been a real issue. What is causing you to take so long?

Reading?

Critical thinking?

Recall?

Depending on what is slowing you down, it is a vastly different answer. I read quickly with high comprehension but my recall tends to be lacking, so I spend more time trying to critically think through those types of questions (or answering and quickly moving on if I don't recall quickly). To compensate I just have to spend more time on things that require rote memorization.

Basically, you have to find your rate-limiting step and find ways to overcome it.
 
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Shalom12345

Shalom12345

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I have always been a 'slower' test taker, but it has never been a real issue. What is causing you to take so long?

Reading?

Critical thinking?

Recall?

Depending on what is slowing you down, it is a vastly different answer. I read quickly with high comprehension but my recall tends to be lacking, so I spend more time trying to critically think through those types of questions (or answering and quickly moving on if I don't recall quickly). To compensate I just have to spend more time on things that require rote memorization.

Basically, you have to find your rate-limiting step and find ways to overcome it.
 
OP
Shalom12345

Shalom12345

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Account on Hold
Apr 30, 2014
93
1
I have always been a 'slower' test taker, but it has never been a real issue. What is causing you to take so long?

Reading?

Critical thinking?

Recall?

Depending on what is slowing you down, it is a vastly different answer. I read quickly with high comprehension but my recall tends to be lacking, so I spend more time trying to critically think through those types of questions (or answering and quickly moving on if I don't recall quickly). To compensate I just have to spend more time on things that require rote memorization.

Basically, you have to find your rate-limiting step and find ways to overcome it.
how do I target my issue?
 
Jan 20, 2014
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how do I target my issue?
What is taking you so long on the exams you take? Is it reading, thinking, or lack of knowledge?

Reading = practice, read more
Thinking = you need to spend more time practicing similar problems, i.e. book practice problems
Knowledge = you need to study specifics more
 

Hospitalized

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As long as you're scoring well it doesn't really matter how fast you are, as long as everything is done to the best of your ability in the time alotted. Good test taking is an acquired skill that takes practice, some people adapt better then others.
 

Goro

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Head to your school's learning or education center and pick up some test taking skills, stat!!!

I realized that I am a slow test-taker. I'm still in undergrad, and I realized that for most science exams, I am consistently the last person to finish my exam. I am always so close to the wire, and wind up rushing towards the end. Or if the professor is nice, she'll give me a few extra minutes along with the students that are "allowed extra-time" although this is really not allowed. And normally this pisses the professor off and makes me uncomfortable that I am somehow being unfair to the rest of the class.

I need to be a more efficient and faster test-taker. I am willing to train myself. Although I am unsure how.

Please list your methods.
 
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I find I go a lot faster and get less mentally fatigued if I just go through and skip all the questions I don't automatically know the answer to. Then I go through a second time and if it takes me more than a minute of two to figure out how to do it, then I move on. I save the hardest and most time consuming for last. Generally works. If I go through in order and spend a lot of time on one question I'll get flustered even on an easy question if I'm low on time.
 
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Polkadotfan

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Take Goro's advice first. I don't think anyone can truly help you here since we can't see what's possibly taking you too long. Do you take five minutes to read a question? Or five minutes to answer it? I can't really tell here.
If it's reading I recommend a speed reading class. I know someone who did one and it seemed to really help her after a summer.
If you get good grades I wouldn't worry. I feel the opposite of you - I worry teachers judge me when I finish a test too early and I sometimes get anxiety and feel I must go over it again!
 

Polkadotfan

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You need to go to the people at the education center and speak to them. I don't think there's any sort of law (if there is) unless you have a verified medical condition.
 

Aerus

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If it's reading I recommend a speed reading class. I know someone who did one and it seemed to really help her after a summer.
I'm not sure how much experience you have with speed-reading, but it is fundamentally different from normal reading (it isn't just reading the way you do, except faster!) and takes more than a year to adequately master. Without this mastery, relying solely on speed-reading is more likely to hurt you on a test than help. Speed reading is absolutely not necessary on a test unless it requires reading a novel in less than an hour.
 

mehc012

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I'm not sure how much experience you have with speed-reading, but it is fundamentally different from normal reading (it isn't just reading the way you do, except faster!) and takes more than a year to adequately master. Without this mastery, relying solely on speed-reading is more likely to hurt you on a test than help. Speed reading is absolutely not necessary on a test unless it requires reading a novel in less than an hour.
Huh. So if I already read very quickly, would I speed-read even faster, or am I likely already speed-reading by default?

As to OP's question, I'm not sure there are any discrete tips I can give. My approach to any given question is essentially know it/don't know it, move to the next. In other words, if I don't know something I just go with my best intuition and don't sit there laboring over it. If I can't click on how to do something within the first few seconds, I'm not going to catch on, so I don't bother spending more time. Also, tons of process of elimination!
 

Aerus

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Huh. So if I already read very quickly, would I speed-read even faster, or am I likely already speed-reading by default?
If you learned reading the traditional way everyone does (read the words in your head), then you aren't speed-reading. Traditional reading has a set maximum speed, by definition. Speed-reading transcends this limit by going around the definition of traditional reading. You can definitely read a lot faster with it, but you probably don't need it.
 

Polkadotfan

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I'm not sure how much experience you have with speed-reading, but it is fundamentally different from normal reading (it isn't just reading the way you do, except faster!) and takes more than a year to adequately master. Without this mastery, relying solely on speed-reading is more likely to hurt you on a test than help. Speed reading is absolutely not necessary on a test unless it requires reading a novel in less than an hour.
I was just trying to think of ways to help the OP :) Like I said it helped a person I know who was extremely slow reader, but I do not know if it will exactly help OP. This is why I said to go to the Education Center first and talk to them. They would understand the situation better. I do not have much experience with speed reading so I apologize if my recommendation is not correct, I just have anecdotal information from one source.
 

mehc012

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If you learned reading the traditional way everyone does (read the words in your head), then you aren't speed-reading. Traditional reading has a set maximum speed, by definition. Speed-reading transcends this limit by going around the definition of traditional reading. You can definitely read a lot faster with it, but you probably don't need it.
I'm not really sure what you mean by 'read the words in your head'. If you mean like, sounding them out without quite verbally saying them, then no. I only do that when I'm trying to emphatically study something, or am exhausted or panicked and have poor focus. Otherwise I just...read, about 700-800wpm for fun and less so for educational materials.
I also didn't really learn to read in a traditional setting; I just picked it up because my mom and I read together every day when I was really little, before I started school.

Edit: dammit, now you have me thinking about how I read, like seeing your nose when you point it out! I think I do 'say' certain words in my head while reading quickly, but not every one (one or two per sentence), and not when I'm really engrossed in a book.
 

SnakeOilForSale

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As someone who almost always finishes exams/quizzes first, here's some things I noticed:

Doubting your first answer costs you time. Unless you're 100% sure your original answer was wrong, don't change it. 9/10 times I've changed it's been from the right answer to the wrong one.

Don't cram or get too excited about whether you know the material or not. Study appropriately and go in calm. The excitable types tend to freeze up and self-doubt during exams more often.

MC type questions, either you know the answer within a few seconds or you don't. If you don't, you can usually knock out 2 options right away, then go with logic and move onto the next question.

Essay type questions, if you're reading too slow, practice reading nonacademic materials. Read from a novel or a newspaper everyday to improve sustained attention and comprehension.

If you don't know the answer within 30-45 seconds even with eliminating and logic, move on. Go back to it later if you have time.

These are things that I do. Generally, I try to work very quickly because I feel that I perform better by doing so. That doesn't mean you need to rush, but if you're running out of time it's an issue.
 

mehc012

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I don't think my follow up Q was understood. I was just wondering whether professors are ALLOWED to give a couple extra minutes to a student who does NOT have a medical condition. Or is there a law against this.
A law? No. Professors can pretty much do what they please, as long as they aren't blatantly discriminating.
The only part where the law comes in, ironically, is that medical exceptions exist - that's to prevent discrimination against those with learning disabilities.
 

Aerus

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I'm not really sure what you mean by 'read the words in your head'. If you mean like, sounding them out without quite verbally saying them, then no. I only do that when I'm trying to emphatically study something, or am exhausted or panicked and have poor focus. Otherwise I just...read, about 700-800wpm for fun and less so for educational materials.
I also didn't really learn to read in a traditional setting; I just picked it up because my mom and I read together every day when I was really little, before I started school.

Edit: dammit, now you have me thinking about how I read, like seeing your nose when you point it out! I think I do 'say' certain words in my head while reading quickly, but not every one (one or two per sentence), and not when I'm really engrossed in a book.
That's a component of speed-reading, then. Speed-reading is essentially learning to recognize words as patterns of meaning rather than a sound made by groups of letters. For example, when you see a STOP sign, you don't automatically read "Stop" in your head. You see it and stop. Speed-reading works the same way where you see groups of words and recognize the meaning of those words without actually reading them through in your head. Traditional reading only goes as fast as you can talk since you're still reading them in your head. Speed-reading is nearly limitless.

The difficult part of speed-reading is learning to eliminate this "sub-vocalization" when most of us have been taught to read by reading silently to ourselves.
 
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moisne

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I can give advise on this - but only for science/math.

I can usually finish most tests under half the allotted time and I ALWAYS score mid 80's. So if the class average is 40, I still get 80's. If the class average is 90%, I still get 80's. Luckily most of my old engineering classes had low averages so 80 was always curved up.

Anyways.

When you get your test, skin the questions, do any easy ones you know you can do first. Circle answers (or star them) if you are unsure. Write the question number of the ones you are skipping in a corner. When you finish your easy ones, go back and check your uncertain answers. Then go and attempt the tough ones.

If you have time, redo your entire test once or twice. I usually catch on average 5 mistakes. I don't even turn in my tests early until I can find 5 mistakes.

Do any practice test that is available and really "understand" your homework. You don't even need to do your own homework (assuming it isn't graded), buy an answer key to the textbook or borrow a friends homework and really understand why certain steps were taken. 1-2 day before exams, look over all of your homework and predict what steps should be taken.

Then again - I'm very science/math biased and super slow when it comes to verbal/English ... So I don't know if our styles match.
 

TheRhymenocerous

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When I take a multiple choice test (this mostly applies to exams in classes like biology, rather than on problem-solving exams), I try to answer the question without reading the answer choices and then look for the one that best fits my answer. This helps me avoid over-analyzing the answer choices, which takes a lot of time. Also, this helps you go with your gut instead of being persuaded by a convincingly worded wrong answer.

For the most part, though, it comes down to the speed at which you can read and write and your familiarity with the material. When you go into a test confident, you don't second-guess your choices as much as when you're nervous and are able to work more efficiently.