Matching Test Taking Strategies

Standardized Test Taking Strategies for Matching Quizzes

Matching tests are extremely popular. Matching questions work well for terms and definitions, phrases with other phrases, causes with effects, parts with larger units, and problems with solutions. Teaching students about matching test-taking strategies can greatly improve their performance on these tests.

One advantage of matching test items is students can show their knowledge of a lot of material in a short amount of time. Matching test questions are easy for teachers to create. Their biggest disadvantage is the questions are mostly knowledge level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.

This is Part 3 in a five-part series. Check out Part 1 – Multiple Choice Questions and Part 2 True/False Questions. Come back next week to learn about Fill in the Blanks questions. Part 5 includes essay test-taking strategies.

To make the material student-friendly as well as more interesting, I have created a free Boom deck with alternating facts and questions. This game-like activity is sure to keep students engaged as they learn more about test-taking. You will find a link to the Boom deck at the bottom of this post.

Get the FREE Boom Learning Deck here.

The Boom Card Lesson Script for Matching Test Taking Strategies

Studying for a Matching Test

Three of the most common types of matching tests include the following:

  • words > definitions
  • people > contributions
  • dates > events

As you study for tests, organize your notes into tables. This makes the information easier to remember and will help you recall details for matching quizzes. 

Here is an example.

Seven Natural Wonders 

Mount Everest highest spot on earth at 8,848 meters above sea level China and Nepal
Harbour of Rio de Janeiro unique granite mountains  formed by erosion from the Atlantic Ocean  Southeast Brazil
Great Barrier Reef  Earth’s largest coral reef – 2,600 km with more than 900 islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia
Victoria Falls world’s largest waterfall –5604 feet wide Zambezi River in southern Africa
Paricutin Volcano cinder cone volcano – first-time modern scientists could study the life cycle of a volcano Michoacán, Mexico
Grand Canyon steep-sided canyon – 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide with a depth of over a mile Arizona
Aurora Borealis naturally-occurring lights caused by the disturbances of the magnetosphere caused by the solar wind around the Arctic and Antarctic

Study the chart by covering up one column at a time and recalling the “hidden” information. For example, cover up the locations column and practice recalling the location of each natural wonder. Next, cover the first column and recall the names based on the details. Finally cover the details column and recall facts about each location. With the example above, you would need to practice all three columns.

Question

Match the 7 Natural Wonders of the World to their locations.

1._______ Aurora Borealis A.  southern Africa
2._______ Great Barrier Reef B.  Southeast Brazil
3._______ Grand Canyon C. around the Arctic and Antarctic
4._______ Harbour of Rio de Janeiro D.  China and Nepal
5._______ Mount Everest E.  off the coast of Queensland, Australia
6. _______ Paricutin F.   Arizona
7. _______ Victoria Falls G.  Michoacán, Mexico

Get the FREE Boom Learning Deck here.

Matching Test Taking Strategies

When taking a matching test follow these steps.

  1. Read the instructions carefully. Note, some tests may ask you to draw lines to match answers. Others may contain blanks for writing ABC… answer choices.
  2. Determine the relationship between the items in Column A and Column B. Common relationships include terms or symbols and their meanings, dates, events, people,  accomplishments, and information about locations such as capitals and states.
  3. Some challenging tests contain additional incorrect matches. Determine if Columns A and B are of equal lengths. You may have more items in one column that will not be used. Often the instructions will let you know if this is true.
  4. Select one column. This can be either one; however, it is often better to start with the column with the most information. For example with terms and definitions, start with the definitions column.
  5. Read all the responses trying to come up with matching answers without reading the answers provided. Reading through the entire set of test items is very important. Sometimes one answer will appear correct until you read a better option later down the list. Reading through the options first will prevent you from making an incorrect match that will cause you a lot of time to figure out later.
  6. Match each item against the items in the second column. Begin with matches which you are certain. Match as many items as you can. This means you will have fewer choices to decide between harder items. This is especially true with a test having a long matching section.
  7. Cross out letters you have used to avoid confusion.
  8. Guess only when you are running out of time. If you guess early, correct answers for later matches will be eliminated.

Question

On the line to the left of each partial instruction in Column I, write the letter of the rest of the instruction from Column II. 

1._______ It is often better to start with the column… A.  You may be asked to write ABC… answer choices.
2._______ Guess only when… B.  to avoid confusion.
3._______ Read the instructions carefully. C. correct answers for later matches will be eliminated.
4._______ If you guess early, D.  additional incorrect matches.
5._______ Cross out the letters you have used… E.  you are running out of time.
6. _______ Some challenging tests contain… F.  with the most information.

Answer Key

1.___F____ It is often better to start with the column… A.  You may be asked to write ABC… answer choices.
2.___E____ Guess only when… B.  to avoid confusion.
3.___A____ Read the instructions carefully. C. correct answers for later matches will be eliminated.
4.___C____ If you guess early, D.  additional incorrect matches.
5.___B____ Cross out the letters you have used… E.  you are running out of time.
6. __D____ Some challenging tests contain… F.  with the most information.

Get the FREE Boom Learning Deck here.

Matching Test Questions With Key Lists

One variation of the traditional matching test is the use of a key list. This is a shortlist of 3 to 4 answer choices with a larger list of possible answers. Test takers match every answer from the second column to one of the keys in the first.

Question

Match each Marvel character to his power by writing A, B, and or C on the blanks in front of each character.

Key List

  1. Strength
  2. Speed
  3. Intelligence
__________________ Captain America
__________________ Hulk
__________________ Spider-Man
__________________ Beast
__________________ Iron Man
__________________ Thor
__________________ Ant-Man

Variation of the Same Question

Match each Marvel character to his power by placing checkmarks in the appropriate columns in front of each character’s name.

Strength Speed Intelligence
Captain America
Hulk
Spider-Man
Beast
    Iron Man
  Thor
    Ant-Man

Classification Questions

Another variation of matching is classification. With this type of question, test takers sort answers from the second column into groups belonging to separate classes or categories specified in the first column. Unlike the key list, each item will only belong in one category.

Question

Write A, B, or C in front of each person to show which American War the person is associated with.

A. Revolutionary War ______ Clara Barton
B. Civil War ______ George Washington
C. World War I ______ Ulysses S. Grant
______ Nathanael Greene
______ Robert E. Lee
______ Alvin York
______ Paul Revere
______ Woodrow Wilson

Variation

Clara Barton George Washington Ulysses S. Grant Nathanael Greene
Robert E. Lee Alvin York Paul Revere Woodrow Wilson

Sort each person into the column that best describes which American War the person is associated with.

Revolutionary War Civil War World War I
George Washington Ulysses S. Grant Alvin York
Paul Revere Robert E. Lee Woodrow Wilson
Nathanael Greene Clara Barton

Ranking Questions

Questions in which you order events are also a variation of matching questions.

Question

Directions: Number (1-5) the following events in the space race in the order in which they occurred, using 1 for the earliest event.

____ Neil Armstrong and  Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon while Michael Collins continues to orbit the Moon aboard the Apollo 11.

____ The US enter the Space Race by launching Explorer 1.

____ An explosion takes place onboard the US Apollo 13 spacecraft and the crew survives. 

____ A US chimpanzee becomes the first hominid in space and the first to successfully survive the landing. 

____ The US launches Explorer 6, the world’s first weather satellite.

Answers

__4__ Neil Armstrong and  Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon while Michael Collins continues to orbit the Moon aboard the Apollo 11.

__1__ The US enter the Space Race by launching Explorer 1.

__5__ An explosion takes place onboard the US Apollo 13 spacecraft and the crew survives. 

__3__ A US chimpanzee becomes the first hominid in space and the first to successfully survive the landing. 

__2__ The US launches Explorer 6, the world’s first weather satellite.

Get the FREE Boom Learning Deck here.

Free Matching Test Taking Strategies Activities

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