Tackling the Whole Test
Before diving into our global test-taking
strategies, let’s define some terms. We’ll use an example from the
multiple-choice portion of the Writing section:
to pass his final exams, studying was the student’s top priority.
||studying was the student’s top priority.
||the student made studying his top priority.
||the top priority of the student was studying.
||the student’s top priority was studying.
||studying was the top priority for the student.
The entire unit shown above is the item. The
sentence containing the underlined portion is the stem. In
a Math section item, the stem might be a word problem or a picture
and question. The lettered options beneath the stem are the answer
choices. Only one of the answer choices is correct. The other
four answer choices are called distractors because
that is exactly what they are designed to do—distract attention
from the correct answer.
In Reading Passages and Paragraph Improvement, you’ll
also have passages that provide information. In those
item types, more than one item is tied to a passage. The passage
plus items is called a set. A set can also be a group
of items that aren’t tied to passages, such as a bunch of Sentence
Completions in a Critical Reading section or algebra items in a Math
A section refers to a Critical Reading, Writing,
or Math timed section that usually contains a mix of various item