TEST PREPARATION Test Success Strategies That Work
Four Steps to Test Success • General Preparation • Test Specific Preparation • Taking the Test • Review After the Exam
Ask yourself some questions What are the major goals of the course? • Review the syllabus. • Where does the test “fit” with course objectives? • What EXACT CONTENT does the test cover? What types of exams does your instructor give? • Multiple choice? • Essay? • How much of the test will be from lecture? Lab? Text? • Knowing exam type goes a long way when preparing for test. Will the tests cover general or specific information? • Do you need to remember simple facts? • Do you need to understand concepts? • Previous experience wit this professor’s testing style? • Do you know anyone who has taken tests with this professor? When is the test? • START PREPARING EARLY…WEEKS before the test date. • Check your syllabus or ask the professor.
Develop a Systematic Study Method Start EARLY…WEEKS in advance! Find a study partner. • Partnering up with another student from class comes in handy if you need notes for a day you missed or to double-check your comprehension of the lecture or text. • The two of you might consider attending a study group. Or even starting your own group. Learn the course vocabulary. • This is very important because if you don’t know the vocabulary, you won’t be able to understand the concepts, readings, or lectures thoroughly. Read with a purpose. • Never read aimlessly – it’s a waste of time. • First, scan the chapter. Afterwards, read through the chapter completely and try to connect ideas throughout the chapter with your lecture notes.
Systematic Study Method, Cont. Use visual organization. • Organize your notes in a way that is easily to visually study and memorize. • Rewrite lecture notes in a simple outline format? • Cornell Method? • Make flash cards? Employ the 24-hour rule. • After each lecture – preferably within 24 hours – rewrite or reorganize your notes. • Rewriting notes is a great way to memorize information! Give yourself weekly “tests”. • Try to give yourself a mini-test at the end of each week – especially if you’ve learned new information. • How about weekly reviews? Can you answer the chapter questions? • Try NOT suing your notes to complete chapter review questions. • Check your answers!
Preparing for Your Test Know thy Test! What will the test cover…exactly? What is the testing format? • Objective – requires specific information. • Subjective – will likely require you to support the thesis or main idea of your answer. • Essay? Multiple choice? Short Answer? What type of questions are on the exam? • Know the format of the questions that will be asked (i.e. multiple choice, short answer, essay, etc…). • Do you need to remember simple facts? • Will you be asked to apply complex concepts? What are your grade expectations for the exam? Are they realistic? What is the time limit for the exam? • Find out if the entire class period will be allotted for your exam, or if you have a specific time limit in which to finish.
Test Prep Cont. Schedule study time • Break your studying in to small components that you can review over multiple days. • Set aside time every day. Even 30 minutes a day will make an impact. • Waiting until the night before the exam isn’t advised. • You can become easily overwhelmed by the amount of information. • What if something keeps you from your planned “cram” session? Sick? Emergency? Practice “spaced” learning • Do NOT “cram” – this does not result in long-term retention of the information. • After each exam, begin preparing for the next one. If you divide your studying equally over the days before each test, it will seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Study, Study, Study • When studying, always review all your previously studied material before moving on to new information. • Set realistic expectations for test grades. • Strive for balance. Will your preparation for this test negatively impact your other coursework? Plan Your pre-exam schedule • Plan the time before your exam carefully – get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, and allow for some extra time to study. • In other words…PLAN AHEAD!
Remember Read the Directions! • Make sure you understand all the directions – ask for clarification if you need to. • Scan the entire test before you begin. Focus on Your Exam • Do not allow other students to distract you. • Avoid “wandering eyes.” • Sit away from friends. Which questions should you answer first? • Essay questions usually take more time to complete than multiple choice or short answer, so budget your time accordingly. • Occasionally, the answer to one question will be found in the wording of another. Have a question? Raise your hand and ask the instructor for clarification. Review Your Exam • Before you hand in your exam, look over the entire thing and make sure you’ve answered every question.
Additional Hints Answering Essay Questions • First, write a brief outline, beginning with the main points. • Don’t forget to reword the question in the answer. Look for clue words and phrases…what are you being asked to do? • Never… • Explain… • Compare and contrast… • Describe… • Choose 2 of 3… • Differentiate… When in Doubt, Guess! • If you absolutely do not know the answer to a question, it is better to guess than leave it blank and guarantee that it will be marked wrong. • Use your answers to other questions to make an educated guess.
Once You’re Done… • Review your notes for those answers you did not know. Obviously, you’ll want to do this AFTER you are outside of the classroom. • Assess what you did welland what you need to do differently for the next exam. • If you met your grade expectation for the exam, REWARD YOURSELF! • RECOGNIZE and REMEMBER how you prepared, so that you will prepare in a similar fashion next time. • If you didn’t do as well as you had hoped, implement new study practices immediately! • Time management…can you put better or more quality time in to course preparation? • Join a study group? • If you thought you were adequately prepared but did poorly, ask the instructor to help you identify your weaknesses. • Instructors are more than happyto sit down and discuss your performance in class – it shows them you’re trying!
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