Tips on Giving Short Answers and Answering Essay Questions
Regardless of who you are, a student answering short answers or a teacher creating them, there are things you should know about the whole process. Both essay and short-answer questions are based on a rubric, which is specifically developed by a teacher to enable students to answer the questions in complete sentences.
Without doubt, essay questions, as well as short answer questions, have their benefits. First, the students will have to give full answer instead of guessing what the right answer is. Second, it makes students learn harder to show high results. The information, which was read or discussed in class, will enhance understanding of a student and help him/her receive deeper knowledge of a subject. In other words, the students deepen their knowledge by preparing to answer these questions.
The other important feature of short answer or essay answers is that they help the instructors to understand the depth of student's knowledge and receive a proper feedback. By checking the answers of the students, the instructor will be able to see the areas, which require improvement, as well as possible misunderstandings the students may have in regard to a specific subject. Consequently, it give an instructor a possibility to change the strategy of material presentation by focusing on problematic areas. Moreover, by answering such types of questions, the students can receive partial credits, if they answer only some of them.
Such teats are also beneficial for the instructors. Sometimes, students' answers can give them an idea on how to make the teaching process more effective and interesting for the students.
Useful Tips: Answer Essay and Short Answer Questions
Short Answer Questions
- The task of a student in answering short answer questions is usually to identify, list, define or name something. Consequently, it is recommended to review the class notes, which can help do it. For example, if you are going to have a test on World War I, think about its causes, outcomes, repercussions, etc. Finding a right angle to approach the topic is a good strategy to succeed.
- Use flashcards. Many students tend to ignore this rule, as it seems too obvious for them. This method is useful not only because you have to write down the correct answers to the set questions but also because it helps refresh the information learnt and remember it better.
- While running the test, pay attention to the key words, as they will help you understand what is really asked.
- Never skip the question, even if you do not know the answer. The deal is that a partial answer can give you a partial credit, while 0 answer equals to 0 credit.
- If you have enough time, return to the questions you did not answer. Use the information from the test as a prompt to giving correct answer.
- If the question consists of more than one part, make sure you fully answer all parts.
- Manage your time wisely. Think about how much time you have for one question, in order to answer all of them within set time frames. Do not spend much time on questions you cannot answer. It is better to answer many questions partially than only one completely.
- Make sure you pay proper attention to the key words. They will help you understand what exactly is required from you. If you task to summarize some events, make sure you do it instead of comparing something. Typical key words for essay questions are illustrate, evaluate, compare, contrast, define, analyze, describe, summarize, etc.
- It is recommended to read all the questions prior to writing the answers. It will help you concentrate on the correct information.
- Do not hesitate to answer the question, even if you know the answer. Start from a short outline. It will help you organize your essay properly and avoid confusion in the process of writing. Well-structured essay will definitely give you a possibility to get higher grade.
- If you are not sure that your answer is correct, use qualifying statements. For example, if you do not know the exact date of some event you can write the century or you can say that 'it happened in early 80s'. Such answer will definitely not be considered as the wrong one.
- Your task is to fully answer the questions without assuming that some information is well known to the reader. You are required to show your knowledge on the subject.
- Do not forget about proofreading! It will be a shame if you lose points because of spelling errors.
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