Test taking - Types of questions

Test taking - Types of questions

In the exams, you will be faced with a series of problems to solve. Some will be straightforward, some you will need to think about. So you need to know what the problem/question is asking you for, before you can answer it. Below is a list of clues (question words) of what a problem is asking you to do.
• One mark questions – don’t spend long, it should be obvious form the graph or equations what the solution is. It could also be a recall question of an identity, definition, curve etc. Here a couple of examples
• “Verify ...” - check that it is correct, so mainly doing a substitution of a value into an equation. State what you are doing when answering.
• “Write down ... “ or “State the value...”  - The answers are there, you need to find them, there is no working out needed (or very little). It is on the diagram or part of an equation.
• “Show ...” or “Prove ...” - Generally show that one side of an equation is the same as the other, or two statements are the same, use algebra or whatever. They will give the mathematical statement to prove, or they will expect you to prove it with something you should already know.
•  If you get this as part of a question, don’t worry if you can’t do it, just carry on with the questions. As the solution is given in the question, and you just use the solution in the next part of the question.
• This occurs a lot with trigonometry questions.
• “Hence or otherwise...” - This means use your answer from the previous part of the question to help you in finding the solution
• In some multi-part questions, they will not use the word "hence", but you may be expected to use a previous answer.
• Always assume in all multi-part questions that you may have to use some of your solutions that you have found in later parts of a question.
• The “otherwise” part means you could use a different method and thus not need to use the previous solution.This is unwise, as using your prior answers will save you time.
• “Find the exact value...” - Leave in surd, logs, exponentials, pi, or fractions form
• They will generally tell you which form you should leave your answer in.
• No writing in decimals to rounded number of decimal or significant places.
• “Find...” or “Solve...” – Using a method/technique to come up with an answer. Generally straight forward. Depending on amount of working out could be between 2 to 5 marks.
• "Use ..." - Here the exam question is asking you to use a specific method to answer the question. If you use another method, you will lose marks.
• Can use another method to check that the solution is correct, but only if you have lots of time to spare and checking your solutions.
• “Express...” and “Simplify...” turn something (a formula/equation etc) into something else that is the same thing (e.g. put a quadratic in to completing the square form). Just applying a technique, probably a solution in terms of algebra or surds.
• “Sketch...” – means give hand drawn sketch, with key points and their positions (coordinates) or amounts marked on it i.e. x and y intercepts, turning points. Make sure the shape is correct.  Sometimes they will state what is required in the question.
• Always use a pencil
• Make it big enough and clear to be able to be understood clearly first time you look at it.
• If sketching a graph, use a ruler to draw the axes.
• “Plot...” and “Draw...” – Use a ruler, find several points, via subbing in numbers into an equation (make a table). Should be accurate as possible, no straight lines if it is a curve.
• “Factorise ...” – sometimes they will tell you what to do and what technique to do, you just got to remember it and apply it correctly.
• “Find the values...” - If you don’t read the question properly, you might miss this. Don’t just give one answer, as “values” is plural, there are several answers.
• You will also get follow through marks, if use you answer from "part a" in "part b", even if you got "part a" wrong, as long as the method is correct.
• This means never give up on the other parts of a question if you cant do the first part or think you got it wrong.
• If asking for more than one thing in the sentence, split up sentence into parts using a pencil, and as you finish each part, tick it off.