There are a variety of strategies that you can use to maximize your score on the different sections of the TASC, or Test Assessing Secondary Completion exam.

When it comes to doing the multiple-choice section, one of the most effective strategies you have at your disposal is to eliminate unlikely choices. Any choices that you can get rid of because you deem them implausible or unrealistic to the problem at hand will increase your odds of selecting the correct answer. For example, if you have four choices (A, B, C, and D) and you know the answer can't be A or D, then you now have a 50 percent chance of selecting the correct answer instead of the 25 percent chance you had before you eliminated two of the options.

If the question stem provides you with additional information such as charts, pictures, or tables, make sure you look at these carefully before selecting your answer. This additional information has been provided to you for a reason, so don't ignore it!

Another important strategy is to answer every question. Unlike some other standardized assessments, you don't get points off for wrong answers on the TASC. If you guess on a multiple-choice question that you don't know the answer to, there's a chance you may guess correctly. But if you leave it blank, there's a zero percent chance that you'll get a point from that question.

Depending on the question you're trying to answer, certain techniques can help you understand the problem. These strategies include drawing a picture, making a list, or constructing an outline. In the Math section, for example, if you're trying to solve a problem on perimeters, it may be helpful to draw the shape the problem is describing. On the Science subtest, if a question involves an element or atom, it may be helpful to draw a diagram of the nucleus and rings. An example in the Social Studies section may be that you need to construct a timeline to help you visualize the sequence of events in a passage. And making an outline is useful for the essay question because it helps you organize your thought process and ensures that you don't go off on a tangent or miss part of the prompt.

You must stay on topic when writing your essay. Essays that don't answer the question will earn zero points, no matter how well written they are.

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Stuart Donnelly, PhD, earned his doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University at the age of 25. Since then, he has established successful tutoring services in both Hong Kong and the United States and is considered by leading educators to be one of the most experienced and qualified private tutors in the country. Nicole Hersey, PhD, is a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island, with a dual appointment to the School of Education and the Department of Mathematics. Ron Olson, MA, is an NBCT-certified teacher in Social Studies who teaches AP Government, Civics, and Contemporary World Problems at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, WA. In addition to his 35 years of teaching experience, he works as an AP US History workshop consultant for The College Board and has been the advisor for National Honor Society at his high school. Shannon Reed, MA, MFA, is a visiting lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches composition, creative writing, and business writing.

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