How to Survive a Pop Quiz

Some professors like to torment their students with surprise quizzes and in-class assignments to see if they’re paying attention and keeping up with homework. If you haven’t been paying attention and you aren’t a good test taker, you may fail the assignment. Here are some tips to give you a chance at passing a test you’re not prepared for.

Multiple Choice

  • If two answers are extremely similar, it’s usually one of these two
  • Correct answers will almost never spelling or grammatical errors
  • For numbers, you’re safest choosing a number in the middle
  • Watch out for absolute answers, such as “always” and “never”
  • More often than not, “all of the above” or “none of the above” is correct

True or False

Some professors like hiding trick questions in true or false exams, so be extra careful when reading the questions. You only have two choices, which mean that you have 50% chance of getting the correct answer.

  • Lookout for small contradictions or inaccuracies. If one detail is false, the question is false.
  • Take note of qualifiers in the sentence like most, all, sometimes, never or rarely. They sometimes drive the question false depending on the question presented.
  • Watch out for absolutes – things usually aren’t “always” or “never” (see how I always use most of the time)

How do you handle a surprise exam that you have never prepared for?