Workshop Exam Preparation FSS+ Study Session
Workshop Objectives • Identify key elements of exam preparation. • Make a distinction between memorization and comprehension. • “learning project” and “reactivation”. • Study tips. • Test taking tips and strategies. • Relaxation! • BUT FIRST AN ACTIVITY!
Memorizing: When do you know you are ready? • How do you know when you have memorized enough and are ready to take the exam? • Grouping • Teaching • Reciting • Writing
Quick Study Tips Adapted from “Making your mark” • Be prepared • Do your homework • Review Regularly, make summary sheets • Study weakest subjects first • Ask for help • Take practice tests, most textbooks have online components. You may even find some online questions on your ACTUAL exam. • Always attend the last class • Remember to get enough sleep, exercise….and water.
Test Taking Strategies • Multiple Choice- Study early • You NEED to memorize, focus on details, but remember, you MUST understand. Most M/C questions are rephrased from information presented in the textbook. • Understand, pay attention to terms, concepts, and tie these to events, and observations---these are the typical M/C q’s • If there are tables in your text book/class KNOW THEM. • Make your own lists and tables, they work really well for this type of test • Study carefully as M/C tests specific details. • TIP: Try and answer the question before you look at the answer. Even if you see the right answer in a) or b) ALWAYS read all the answers as there maybe one that might be “more” right. • Play close attention to negative and double negative questions. • If you spend more than one minute staring at a question, skip it and go back. • Remember: the answer is there.
Test Taking Strategies • Multiple Choice Cont’d • If you aren’t sure of an answer, make sure you first cross off the answers that you know are WRONG. • This will help you clear your head of the distracter answers. • If you see “all of the above” or “none of above” • Go through the answers and put a check mark beside anyone that is correct, if you have two that are correct, then choose all of the above, if you have no check marks then choose none of the above. If you see some answers that are FOR SURE right and some that are FOR SURE wrong, then you know it can’t be “all of the above” or “none of the above”, at this point, choose the answer that best fits with the question.
Test Taking Strategies • Multiple Choice cont’d • If you really aren’t sure the answer try these strategies: • Words like “always”, “never”, are usually less likely to be right compared to words like “usually” or “probably” • The longest answer is usually the correct one. • Look for verbal associations • If you are still stuck: chose ‘B’ or ‘C’, most profs like to ‘hide’ the correct answer between wrong ones • If you noticed two conflicting answers, the answer probably one of them. • Remember to make an educated guess!
Test Taking Strategies • Short Answer- Pointed, specific questions • Make sure you write what it is, use proper terminology (50%) and state the significance (50%). • If you have a choice between answers • Choose the one(s) that you KNOW, not the ones you think are harder. You do not get extra points for ‘harder’ definitions. • Use the correct vocabulary. • Eg. “political actors” vs. “People in politics” • If your prof says that point form is okay to use, make sure your point form is in full sentences, DO NOT simply jot down one word answers (unless of course they SPECIFICALLY tell you to)
Test Taking Strategies • Long Answer Questions- usually Broad questions • You must UNDERSTAND and be able to recall information • Remember that exam essay questions require the same structure as any other type of essay. Make sure you have an argument and thesis that answers the question being asked of you. • Double space your work, and write neatly. This will make it easier to read (and thus a happier marker) and if you need to insert any changes, you will have the space. • State every detail, date, person, event, theme, and controversy that is pertinent to the topic, this will show the TA or Prof that you know what you are talking about. • Mention readings, studies, articles, stats, and theories discussed in class. • Pretend that the markers knows nothing about the subject, be clear and concise. • In your concluding paragraph, make sure you answer the question. • Reread your essay when you are finished.
Test Taking Strategies • Take home exams • These exams are usually marked harder than sit-down exams because you have the luxury of time. • Use course notes, readings, and your textbook as a starting ground. • Usually, Profs don’t require a lot of outside research, but make sure you check! • Pay close attention to spelling and grammar, they count! • Make sure you have a title page and bibliography cite all your course material, notes and lectures.
General Tips • Go to class especially the last few classes. This is when the prof will usually outline the exam format, and give hints and tips. • Usually information that is emphasized in class will be found in short and long answers, where as specific textbook material will be in the M/C. • See your TA if you have any questions, bring your midterm and go over it with them, they usually will tell you what they are looking for, and how to improve on your next exam. • Look at your midterms, get a feel for the types of questions the prof likes to ask. Finals are usually the same as midterms, just longer J • If you are stuck on the short/long answers go back to the m/c questions to try and jog your memory. You can sometimes get correct spelling of names, and some dates there too! • Always answer the easy questions first, get them out of the way before you tackle harder ones! • KNOW THE TIME AND PLACE OF YOUR EXAM, ARRIVE EARLY!!! • BRING YOUR STUDENT CARD!!!
Before and at the Beginning of the Exam • Make sure you go to the bathroom and eat before your exam. • Try and keep your life relatively calm the during your exam period • Know the time, date and place. • Bring your student card. Some profs will not let you write your exam without it. • Write your name on everything at the beginning! • Read the instructions carefully, listen to your prof at the beginning of the exam, answer only what you have to, you don’t get extra points for answering more. • Scantron- make sure you bubble the right answer, and always circle the right answer in your exam book. Go over your answer sheet when you are finished. • Read over the short and long answers before you start the M/C. Jot down any information you can quickly recall then go back to the M/C • If you are confused about a question try and rephrase it in your own words. • Don’t be afraid to ask your professor or TA for clarification of a question.
Time Management in the Exam • Use all the time you are given and weigh it accordingly • Eg. if your exam is: 4 short answers (worth 10% each), 1 long answer (worth 60%) you should spend 10% of your time on each short answer and 60% on the long answer. • If you are REALLY running out of time (like less than 5 minutes) use point form, you may not get total points, but this is better than none at all!
Relaxation • During an exam, if you feel at anxious or nervous: • Take a deep breathe. • Stay calm, take a minute reflect on a question that is causing you stress or skip it.
References • “Post-Exam Reorganisation” booklet. • Moncion, Stephanie. “Taking Exams.” HSC Mentoring Centre 2004-2005. • “Workshop: Preparing for Exams” Access Service, Student Academic Success Service. August 2006. • Fraser, Lisa. Making your mark. Port Perry: LDF Publishing, 2003.