Science Reasoning Test Strategies|
In the science reasoning test, the test-taker who gets the right answer is not necessarily the one who knows most about the subject. It is the one who understands the passage thoroughly and bases the choice of answer strictly on the contents of the passage. Extraneous information can lead you to confusion and misinterpretation of the question. Follow the steps below to do well on the science reasoning question.
Start by scanning the passage. Read the passage or look at the data presentation quickly, just to get a rough idea of what it is all about. This should take no more than 20 seconds. Do not stop to study in detail any part that you do not understand. With this background, you are ready to move into a more careful study of the passage.
Read the passage again. Now you can take as much as a minute or even more to understand the passage thoroughly. Feel free to mark up the test booklet with notes. Underline key words.
Answer the first question in the group. In most tests, it is a good policy to skip questions you cannot answer immediately, but there is an exception in this test. The first question in each group will probably be a simple test of understanding. If you cannot answer it, you may well get the others wrong also. If necessary, go back to the passage to find the answer. If you cannot answer the first question, skip the whole passage and come back to it later.
Skip the hard questions. After you have answered the first question, do not initially spend more than 30 seconds or so on any question. If you have time at the end, you can come back and reread the questions you could not get the first time around.
Read all the choices. If you think you have found the right answer at once, do not stop reading. You may discover that there is some idea that has not appeared in the one you think is right. Think of the process as one of eliminating the incorrect answers, rather than selecting the right one. You may find that you can throw out three of the four choices quite easily.
If the answers are numerical, use estimation. Calculation takes time, and you should avoid it whenever possible. You can usually eliminate three obviously wrong choices quite easily. For example, suppose a graph shows that an object has traveled 32 meters in seven seconds, and you are asked to find its speed. You are given these choices:
You know that 32 divided by 7 will be a little over 4, so you can pick out C as the answer without doing the calculation.
- A. 18.6 m/s
- B. 15 m/s
- C. 4.6 m/s
- D. 3.2 m/s
Pace yourself. With 35 minutes to answer the questions for seven passages, you have just five minutes for each passage. If you find yourself spending more than that on one passage, skip it and come back to it later. On average, you should spend about two minutes reading each passage and 30 seconds answering each question.
Answer every question. When you have finished doing the easy questions, go back and try again on some that you skipped. If you have only 30 seconds left at the end, turn to the answer sheet, find those questions you have not answered, and mark them at random. There is no penalty for guessing.
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