Types of Exams and Test Questions in English

Taking a test is stressful. Especially if you are taking it in a new language. To make sure there are no surprises that next time you have an exam in English; read about the different types of assessments (or tests), the common types of questions on exams in English and some frequently asked questions about tests.

Types of Assessments
Exam/Mid-Term/Final Exam: Usually long (1-3 hours) and cumulative (of everything you learned in class or semester). The TOEFL or the IETLS are exams that many English Language Learners take.

Test: Anywhere from 20-1 hour. Tests are usually about a certain subject or chapter that has been studied in class.

Quiz/Pop Quiz: Sometimes quizzes are announced others are not. Quizzes are usually short and take a 5-15 minutes to complete.

Take Home Test/Exam: Is a test that the teacher hands in the classroom and you do it at home and turn it in the next class period.

Open Book Test: A Test where you can use your text books and/or notes to help you complete it.

Paper/Report: These are written assessments that are completed on your own time. Subject and length will vary. A paper would show your written knowledge about a subject or have a certain purpose.

Projects: There are many types of projects that are completed in school. You might do a project for a science or multicultural fair or about a certain subject that you have researched.

Oral Interview: You sit with the teacher (or proctor) one-on-one and answer a variety of questions to the best of your ability. The teacher would record or take notes as you speak to help give you a grade later.

The majority of exams, tests and quizzes are taken individually; so, you showing what you know. Sometimes teachers let you take a test or quiz with a partner but this is not very common. It is more common to work with other students on projects and reports.

Types of Questions on Tests
Multiple Choice: The questions is written with possible answers. You need to choose which answer is correct.
Multiple Choice Example Question: What language is most commonly spoken in the United States? A. Portuguese      B. Japanese     C. Arabic   D. English

Essay: A written test where you answer a question or prompt. When taking an essay test, you write all the information you know about the topic in a paragraph.
Essay Example Question: What are some of the similarities and differences between the political systems of China and Egypt?

Fill in the blank/Cloze: For this type of questions you will read the text for the general meaning and fill in the words using a word bank or list of words provided for you.

Fill in the Blank Example Question:

The _______________ House is in Washington D.C. It is where the president of the ___________ ____________ lives.

True/False Questions: For this type of question you need to determine if the statement is true (correct) or false (incorrect).
True/False Example Question: The capital of Brazil is Rio de Janeiro. True or False

Common Questions and Answers about Tests

http://www.english-tonight.com/TT1.mp3 When is the test?
• The test is tomorrow.
• It’s next Wednesday.
• The day after we finish the unit.
• Check the syllabus.
Syllabus” is an outline of the class that many high school and university teachers give to their students at the beginning of a class. It tells everything that will happen, what will be studied, and when assignments and exams are.

http://www.english-tonight.com/TT2.mp3 What’s on the test?
• It’s on Chapters 3 and 4
• It is on the future continuous tense.
• The test will be on World War II.
• You should know if you were listening. It’s on 18th Century Art History.
By asking you teacher this you should have a better understanding of what to study for and what not to study for.

http://www.english-tonight.com/TT3.mp3 What grade did I get on the test? or How did I do on the test?
• Let me check… You got an ‘A’. Good job!
• You failed the test. You got less than half right.
Failed” means did not pass.
• You got 84% on the test.
• I haven’t had time to grade them yet. Check back next week.
Exams and tests are graded differently in most schools and universities. It is best to as your English professor how they grade tests at the beginning of the class. In the United States, letter grades (A, B, C, D and F) are often used. Other schools use percentages out of 100.

http://www.english-tonight.com/TT4.mp3 Can I retake the test?
• Yes, you can retake the questions you got wrong.
• You can retake one test per semester.
• No, you can’t retake the test. You will have to studying harder next time.
Retake means to take a test again or have a second chance. This is not very common but some teachers do occasionally let their students retake tests and quizzes.

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