The Science Test Guide

The Science Test Summary
What: General science tests are taken by students of any age as a way of evaluating their knowledge in a particular branch of science.
Who: General science tests can be designed by science teachers who are administering the tests, textbook companies or other sources.
Where: General science exams are typically taken within a school building where the science class is taking place.
When: Students can take science tests at any point in time, but they are typically given at the end of a subject unit or at the culmination of a course.
How: General science tests are most often taken with paper and pencil, but computer tests and oral tests are also common.
Type: Varies. Tests may be multiple-choice, fill in the blank or open-ended.
Why: Science test scores allow students and teachers to evaluate their understanding of a subject and what areas may need more work.
Time: General science tests vary in length and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
Language: English
Preparation: Students should use their science teacher as a resource to prepare for exams. Teachers can provide hints and study materials. Textbooks and class notes are also good ways to review.
Cost: There is almost never a cost associated with taking a general science test in school.

By Caity Tarbert, Contributing Writer

General science tests are administered on the topics of biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, geology and many more subject areas. These types of tests are typically taken by students in elementary school, middle school or high school, as well as post-graduate students in order to fulfill class requirements.

How General Science Tests Work

Students taking a general science exam will usually do so within their school building. Teachers who administer general science exams can design their own tests or they may use a test from a textbook or other source. Because there are so many variables to take into account when a general science test is designed, the actual test may come in one of many forms, including multiple-choice, essay, true/false, fill-in-the-blank or any combination of the above. The most common form of general science test is probably taken with paper and pencil, but some general science tests may be oral or taken on a computer. Furthermore, the length of a general science test and the number of questions will vary from situation to situation.

General Science Test Question and Format Examples

General science tests come in many forms, but a few of the most common test structures are multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank and essay. Below are examples of each type of test question using various areas of science as a basis.
Multiple Choice:
Newton's First Law of Motion is also known as the______.

  1. Law of Action-Reaction
  2. Law of Magnetism
  3. Law of Falling Bodies
  4. Law of Inertia

For this type of question, the student will choose the letter of the correct answer. There is only one correct answer. In this case, the correct answer is D.
True or false: A solution with a pH less than seven is considered an acid.
The student must mark the question as being a true or false statement. In this case, the statement is true.
Sigmund Freud is known for his divisions of the psyche, including the id, the ego and the ________.
Here, as a contrast to a multiple-choice question, no answer possibilities are suggested. The student must fill in the blank with the correct answer. The answer to this particular question is super-ego.
Describe the process of mitosis in plant cells.
Essay questions require students to recall all of the correct information on their own and format it into a coherent composition. Essays are more subjective than other test questions, so teachers may use rubrics or other standardized scoring systems to evaluate them.

How to Prepare for General Science Tests

Preparing for a general science exam can be done in a number of ways. The most effective way to prepare is to use the teacher administering the test as a resource. He or she should be able to provide a study guide or suggestions on how to get ready for the exam. Additionally, reviewing class notes and textbooks should aid in preparation. There may also be test-prep companies in your area that can be utilized to assist with developing study skills, creating practice tests and other strategies for effective test-taking.

How to Interpret General Science Test Results

After a general science test has been corrected and scored, it will be returned to the student. Sometimes the scoring process will take place immediately after the exam. Other times, it may take days or weeks to receive a test score. Scores are usually based on the number of test items answered correctly versus the total number of items on the exam. For instance, if a student answers 20 questions correctly out of a total 25, his test score will be 20 out of 25. This score is oftentimes converted to a percentage which correlates with a letter grade. In the above example, a score of 20 out of 25 would translate to 80%. The correlating letter grade is assigned by the student's teacher or school officials.

Would you like help preparing for an upcoming science exam? See our science test directories: