Resources on successfully taking different types of exams

Multiple choice exams

Multiple Choice Exam Strategies
SFU handout with preparation and writing tips.

Multiple Choice Exams (University of Guelph)
Preparation and writing strategies, as well as challenges of this format.

10 Common Types of Multiple Choice Questions and How to Solve Them (University of Toronto, Mississauga)
Identify different types of multiple choice questions and learn strategies for answering questions correctly.

True/false exams

Test Strategies for Objective Tests (Utah State University)
Good information on True/ False strategies.  Also discusses multiple choice and includes a practice test.

Fill in the blank tests

Fill in the blank tests (
How to prepare for these tests by creating practice questions.

Another source on fill in the blank tests suggest that if you can't think of the specific term required, at least fill in the blank with a description, and you might be given partial credit.

Essay and short answer exams

Strategies for Essay Exams
SFU handout with preparation and writing tips.

Short Answer and Essay Exams (University of Guelph)
Writing and preparation tips for both formats.

Writing tips: In-Class Essay Exams (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Writing tips: Standardized Test Essay Exams
5 tips for writing essays for standardized tests.

Quantitative/problem solving exams

A Better Approach to Quantitative Courses - Test Preparation
SFU handout

Exam Preparation: Strategies for Success in Mathematics Courses and Other Q-Courses
Slides from a workshop presented by Dr. Malgorzata Dubiel and Dr. Jamie Mulholland of the Department of Mathematics. Contains the "Magic Key" and step-by-step preparation instructions for quantitative exams.

Problem Solving Exams (University of Guelph)
Tips on preparation, writing and analyzing the exam afterwards.

Math Study Skills: Math Tests (Mission College)
Tips on preparing for problem-solving tests, doing well on those tests, reviewing returned tests, test anxiety, and the final exam.

Lab exams

Succeed at Exams:  Lab Exams - Start Here (University of Guelph)

Succeed at Exams: Bell-ringer Exams - Start Here (University of Guelph)

Online, Open book and take home exams

Successful [Online] Exam Writing (July 27, 2020)
This recording covers the top research-supported exam preparation strategies, plus what to expect from online, open-book exams in the current SFU context, and writing strategies for these exams. UPDATED at the end of Summer 2020, based on a survey of the online exam formats that SFU Undergraduates are getting, and their biggest concerns about them. Note:  SFU students can apply for co-curricular record credit after watching this webinar.

Online Take-home/ Open Book exams (University of Toronto)
Some tips produced by University of Toronto, with the COVID-19 situation in mind.  The handout refers to exam accommodations at U of T.  If you need accommodations for online exams at SFU, contact the Centre for Accessible Learning.

Strategies for Open Book Exams
SFU handout on what to expect, how to prepare, and what to keep in mind when writing these exams.

Open Book and Take Home Exams (University of New South Wales)
Includes myths about these types of exams, as well as preparation and writing tips.  The information is spread over 3 pages, so make sure you click the link at the bottom of the first page for "Doing well on open book exams" and at the bottom of the second page for "Sitting the Exam".

Oral exams

Tips for Oral Exams (Kansas State University)
How to prepare for and give your answers in an oral exam.

How to Take an Oral Exam (Hamilton College)
This source has more information about factors such as body language, facial expression, and pacing.


More information on exams