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Preparing for Your TOWES Exam

Preparing for your TOWES exam

  • Attend new student orientation before you begin your program of study. There are several sessions available on Writing TOWES
  • Pay close attention to your MyBVC.ca email. There is several important message about TOWES testing sent at or near the beginning of each term
  • Read the TOWES Preparation Guide before writing your test
  • Practice some Measure-Up practice items at Levels 2/3 and Levels 3+ complexity. http://www.skillplan.ca/measure-up
  • Bring your testing materials to the testing session. You are required to bring:
    • Writing materials (pen, pencil, highlighter)
    • Eraser
    • Basic Calculator (Programmable calculators and graphing calculators are not permitted)
    • Photo Identification 
  • Watch the Introduction to TOWES video for information about writing and preparing for TOWES


  • Make sure that you are fully prepared to write the TOWES exam.
  • Watch the TOWES Tips for Success video 
  • Read only one question at a time. Do not rush or try to complete more than one question at a time.
  • Budget your time effectively. You will only have three hours to write TOWES. It is important that you take your time to read the necessary information carefully and correctly while also considering the time required to attempt every question. Managing your time effectively might include: previewing all of the questions early-on in your testing session; attempting longer problem sets first so that you have more time to work through these without feeling too rushed; pausing your thinking on problematic test items or skipping over a problem set in order to continually make progress in the testing session- just remember to go back and complete any test itmes that you might have skipped over before finishing your exam.
  • During the exam, start by reading each question separately and carefully. Take your time to identify the request for information contained within the question. Look for any relevant keywords that will help guide your search for information.
  • Identify important and specific criteria in the question that is directly related to your search for information. Use this known criteria to help guide your search for relevant and appropriate information in the source documents. Remember, sometimes this criteria might be directly located within a source document, but other times, it might only be indirectly located. Be prepared to perform multiple searches for the same information if you cannot find it directly.
  • Choose your response carefully. Make sure your response is directly linked to the request for information found within the question. Ask yourself “does this answer make sense based on the question?” or, “does my answer match the format of response identified in the question?”. For example, if the question is asking you to produce a number in the form of fraction, did you answer with a decimal number? In this example, you must answer with a fraction to format your response accurately and correctly.
  • Remember that TOWES is not a knowledge-based exam. Instead, TOWES evaluates how well you are able to to solve a problem or complete a task by finding and using information that is contained in different formats of information (e.g., paragraphs, tables, entry forms, graphs, etc.) . Some of the content and formats of information might not be familiar to you, but don't panic. Instead, take your time to understand the question, and begin the process of answering the question by first matching relevant and related information found within the source document. Use criteria-based keywords to drive your search for information.
  • TOWES is about accuracy. Make sure that you are answering questions with the highest degree of accuracy possible. This requires spending more time reading and understanding the questions. Doing so will allow you to build a series of accurate responses.

Strategies and Skill Builders

  • For helpful strategies and skill building suggestions, please refer to Skill Building Resources
  • For a refresher lessons on specific math concepts visit the Khan Academy website and explore the Arithmetic and Pre-Algebra sections of Mathematics: http://www.khanacademy.org