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Spelling Strategies for Multiple-Choice Spelling Tests

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
Do not let spelling tests be the bane of your existence--learn to take a spelling test with confidence! This lesson discusses spelling strategies and applies them to multiple-choice tests.

Spelling Strategies

Spelling words correctly helps you to be understood better by others and can show your teachers and peers that you are smart and educated. In other lessons we learned a few spelling strategies to help you spell better. These strategies are general tips for becoming a better speller.

  • Use phonetics, or speech sound.
    • Generally, there are certain letters that go with certain sounds and so if you know what the word sounds like, you can guess the spelling by writing it out like it sounds.
  • Remember the following spelling rules: 'q and u go together', 'y ends words, not i', and 'i before except after c'.
    • English is a difficult language because it has many rules but often breaks those rules. However, there are times when the rules work and so knowing the rules will help you spell better.
  • Understand prefixes and suffixes.
    • A prefix is a portion of a word that has a particular meaning and comes at the beginning of the word. A suffix is a portion of a word that has a particular meaning and comes at the end of a word. If you understand prefixes and suffixes, then you can know how adding a certain prefix or suffix changes the root meaning of the word.
  • Use a dictionary.
    • Obviously this tip will not help you in an exam, but if you make it a habit to have a dictionary handy as you are reading, you may find new words.
  • Count on your memory.
    • Most of the words we know how to spell we learned simply by memorizing them. You may know how to spell more words than you think!

Applying Strategies to Multiple-Choice Questions

It is great to have some general spelling strategies, but how can you apply these in a multiple-choice spelling test? Let's go through some examples of multiple-choice spelling questions from the National Spelling Bee practice test. In these questions, we will apply the spelling strategies to help us find the correct answer.

Spelling strategies for multiple-choice spelling tests
test

Knowing Rules

Pretend that you are taking a spelling test at school and the first question you come across is this one:

a. achievement

b. acheivement

c. achievment

d. acheivment

In this case, you can use the rules that you have been learning in your English classes to help you know how this word is spelled. First, remember the rule 'i before e, except after c'? The 'i' and 'e' are not right by the 'c' in this word, so you know that 'i' will come first. That means you can immediately eliminate b and d. Now the other rule that you can use is that, generally, the 'e' is not dropped when you add 'ment'. We can see this is words like 'judgement', where the 'e' in 'judge' remains, and 'management', where the 'e' in 'manage' remains. So you know that 'achievement' is the correct answer: 'A'.

Understanding Prefixes

Imagine that you are presented with this multiple choice spelling question:

a. inshrowed

b. enshraud

c. enshroud

d. inshroud

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