Preparing for a TECEP®
Before registering, make sure you have the most current test description by checking the College website. When a TECEP® exam is revised, its test description is updated.
In order to earn succeed on a TECEP® you need specific knowledge of the subject and test-taking skills. Even previous background in the subject is no guarantee that you can simply take and pass the exam. The first step is to review the information in the test description to learn what is required.
Because TECEP® exams are designed to reflect the content of typical college courses, many students will find it helpful to review a textbook. In addition, there are many free and open resources available on the Internet and on the TESC site. Check the test descriptions, which may contain links to additional resources that can be helpful sources of information.
TECEP® exams are equivalent to comprehensive, end-of-course exams, and are not usually developed to reflect the content of one specific textbook or resource. The textbooks listed in each test description are current texts for college courses with the same or similar title at the time the test is developed, but this is no guarantee that reading the textbook will lead to passing a TECEP exam. Whether choosing a text that is on the list or not, always compare the table of contents with the topic outline in the test description. This comparison will help you identify areas that may not be covered in a particular text. If you find gaps in coverage, try to locate the information somewhere else. Remember, the broader your background of knowledge, the more likely you will receive a passing score.
MBS Direct: You can order many, but not all, textbooks from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct. To learn if your text is available, go to www.studytactics.com. At that site, click on the "COLLEGE" tab and follow the prompts.
Libraries: The New Jersey State Library is equipped to help Thomas Edison State College students obtain texts. In addition, college libraries and bookstores are excellent places to find college texts. Local public libraries usually are not a good source of college texts, however most libraries have interlibrary loan services, which means that they will find a library with the requested books and borrow them for you. If you decide to borrow books from a library, make sure you can keep them for as long as you need them.
Online: Most texts can be located and ordered online, by entering the text title or author in the Google search bar. Once you get a list of places with your text, you can compare prices. This is an excellent way to find used, less expensive texts.
Using Textbooks/Study in General
Reading is such a basic skill that we are tempted to just do it, rather than to think about how we do it. However, when we are reading to learn and to remember, it pays to be thorough. The following set of tips on how to read a textbook should be very helpful.
Always read the introductory material at the beginning of each chapter. This introductory material usually talks about what is to follow and establishes an idea of what to expect. When you can anticipate what is to come, you will remember it better.
If there are any study questions in the book, take the time to look at them and to see what kinds of things are being asked. Usually, the more important points or concepts are covered in the study questions.
Be an active reader. Take notes, think about what you have read, try to sense what questions the material answers, etc. The more actively you read, the better you will understand and remember the facts and concepts.
Always use your own words when taking notes. By doing this, you can make sure that you understand what the author is saying. If you can write it down in your own words, you know you have grasped the idea.
Keep your notes as brief as they can be while still capturing the important points and ideas. Read over your notes at a later date and re-do anything that is not clear to you.
Write down the meanings of any words or concepts that are new to you.
Test your own memory. Take notes as you study and then try to write out your notes from memory. Review the areas that you do not remember. Do not expect to remember material well after only a single reading. In order to retain learning in memory, most people must go over the material several times. Also, material that has not been read recently is often difficult to remember. Plan your study so that on the day of the exam you have recently reviewed the material.
Taking Multiple-Choice Tests
Many TECEP® exams are multiple-choice tests. Everyone is familiar with this type of test but some basic points are important to mention.
Manage your time efficiently. Calculate how much time you have to answer each question. For example, if you have two hours to answer 100 questions, that equals 72 seconds per question. Of course, the time you need for each individual question will vary. You may find it useful to make a table to help pace yourself. For example, if you start a 100-question exam at 1:00 p.m. and you have two hours, your chart might look like this:
|Amount of test completed||Time||Question completed|
|1/4||1:30 p.m.||Questions 1-25|
|1/2||2 p.m.||Questions 26-50|
|3/4||2:30 p.m.||Questions 51-75|
|Test complete||3 p.m.||Questions 76-100|
Postpone answers to the hardest questions. Test questions vary in difficulty and in the time that they take to answer. Do not get stuck on any one question. If it is difficult, leave it and go on to the next question, but make a note so that you can return to it later.
Always give an answer to every question. The score for a TECEP® exam is the number right. There is no penalty for guessing.
Consider all possibilities. Remember that the multiple-choice question works because at least some of the WRONG answers appear to be correct. Do not base your final answer on a reading of just one alternative. Read the entire set of answer choices and pick the answer after considering all of the possibilities.
Choose the best answer. If you are not sure that one of the possible answers is completely correct, you should pick the one you think is closest to correct
Taking Essay Tests
Essay tests require subject knowledge and an ability to write clearly. Almost everyone has experience in writing essays, but the following points may be helpful.
Practice writing answers to sample questions beforehand. Essay tests require writing skills which are best acquired by writing. Your chance of success increases when you practice.
Check on the time while testing. Time management is an important factor. Make a schedule, allotting a specific amount of time to each essay. Allow more time for essays that are worth more points, and less time for essays worth fewer points.
As you begin each essay, make a very brief outline of what you will cover. Follow the outline as you write and be certain that you cover all points.
Pay particular attention to the verbs in the essay questions. Words such as "analyze," "describe," "review," "summarize," etc., give you important guidance as to how to shape your answer. A verb like "contrast," for example, requires you to review the points of difference between two things; a verb like "compare" is more general and requires a review of points of similarity as well as difference. If there is an instruction like "briefly summarize," do just that. A lengthy response to a question that asks you to "briefly summarize" is wasted effort. Your score will not be increased even if your lengthy answer is a good one.