Study Skills and Test Taking Tips


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Study Skills and Test Taking Tips

  1. 1. Study Skills For College Success: How to Prepare for and Take Exams<br />Presenter: Jessie Rusk<br />Social Sciences Learning Center<br />
  2. 2. The 5 Day Study Plan<br />Day Five: Review what you need to study from your textbooks, handouts, and class notes. Highlight or underline the important information(when in doubt over learn).<br />Day Four: Rewrite the information you highlighted or underlined in as few words as possible. Use these rewritten notes to review the information at least twice on this day.<br />Day Three: Use graphic organizers, acronyms, abbreviations, flash cards, acronymic sentences, keywords and/or rhyme to help you remember the information in your rewritten notes. Review the information at least twice on this day.<br />Day Two: Use your rewritten notes to make a list of questions you think will be on the test. Write answers for these questions. Review the question and answers several times on this day. If possible, reread or at least skim through the textbooks and readings to reinforce your learning.<br />Day One: This is the day you take the test. Review the questions and answers you developed. Do this once before you go to class and again while you are in class waiting for the test to begin.<br />
  3. 3. Exam Prep: Master Study Sheet<br />1. 5+ Days Before Exam: 2 Hour Review<br />2. 4+ days Before Exam: Master Study Sheet<br />Write down…<br />All topics you think will be on the test.<br />Group by central themes and subtopics.<br />Topics should come from your notes and reading materials.<br />Areas where you have the weakest grasp of the material.<br />These are the areas to concentrate the most of your studying.<br />Use this master study sheet as your complete guide for preparing for your exam.<br />
  4. 4. How To Remember What’s on Your Master Study Guide<br />
  5. 5. Mnemonics: Acronyms<br />Mnemonics are used to remember information that is detailed.<br />Acronyms are formed by using the first letters of information to be remembered.<br />The acronym does not have to be a real word but it must be pronounceable.<br />
  6. 6. Mnemonics: Acronyms<br />Example: Use HOMES to remember the names of the 5 great lakes:<br />Huron<br />Ontario<br />Michigan<br />Erie<br />Superior<br />
  7. 7. Mnemonics: Abbreviations<br />Abbreviations are formed by using the first letters of important things to be remembered.<br />Unlike an acronym, an abbreviation does not form a pronounceable word.<br />Use abbreviations when you can’t for acronyms.<br />Examples: inhibitory postsynaptic potential=IPSP<br />
  8. 8. Mnemonics: Acronymic Sentences<br />Acronymic sentences are sentences formed from words that begin with the first letter of things to be remembered.<br />Order usually does not matter<br />Example: Remember the five oceans (Atlantic, Artic, Antarctic, Pacific, Indian) but using the sentence: “Alice and Alan played inside.”<br />
  9. 9. Study/ Flash Cards<br />In printing study cards the student is using kinetic energy , thus making the impression strong on the brain and the student will be able to use the cards for use for overlearning<br />Study cards are also convenient to carry and flip through for mastery<br />However just reading them is too passive. Go over them orally!<br />
  10. 10. Taking the Test<br />
  11. 11. Taking the Objective Test<br />Objective exams include:<br />true-false<br />fill-in-the-blank<br />matching<br />multiple choice questions. <br />
  12. 12. Taking the Objective Test: General Tips<br />Do a mind dump as soon as the test begins.<br />Read the directions for the whole test and each subsection.<br />Note the number of items and figure out how much time you have to answer each one.<br />
  13. 13. Taking the Objective Test: General Tips<br />Answer the easy items first to get the maximum number of points.<br />Return to questions you couldn't answer initially and try them again.<br />Guess if you have to.<br />Change your answer only if you have reason to do so; research indicates that in 3 out of 4 times your first choice was probably correct.<br />
  14. 14. Taking the Objective Test: True-False<br />If there is more than one fact to the statement, check corrections of each part. <br />If one part is false, the item is wrong unless there is a qualifying word such as usually or sometimes.<br />Words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ tend to indicate that the statement is false, especially if you can think of an exception. <br />Always and never are absolutes; true absolutes are rare.<br />When the statement is given negatively, state the item without the "no" or "not" and see if it is true or false. <br />If now the statement reads "true," mark it false.<br />
  15. 15. Taking the Objective Test: Matching and Fill-in-the-Blank<br />MATCHING<br />Find out if each item is used only once or if some are used more than one once.<br />Check off the answers you have used already.<br />Analyze the choices to see if any parts of the term or word you know will then allow you to associate it with the right answer.<br />FILL-IN-THEBLANK<br />Check the number of lines per answer to see if they indicate the number of letters or words.<br />If you can't remember the exact word, write something related or an explanation.<br />Use appropriate endings to fit the statement/question.<br />
  16. 16. Taking the Objective Test: Multiple Choice<br />Read the question, cover the answers and answer it in your mind, then look for the matching answer.<br />Read all the alternatives, saying "probable" or "not probable" before making a decision.<br />Ask yourself if you are dealing with a fact or the understanding of some fact.<br />
  17. 17. Taking the Objective Test: Multiple Choice<br />If a question is in the negative, for example, "one of the following is not a cause," look for three true answers and the one remaining false answer will be correct one to mark.<br />General statements are more likely to be correct than specific statements, especially if you can think of one exception.<br />Check the answer sheet with the question sheet to make sure the numbering corresponds.<br />
  18. 18. Taking the Objective Test: Summary of Tips<br />1. Guess False if there is an absolute modifier (like ‘always’ or ‘never’).<br />2. Guess True if there is an in-between modifier (like ‘sometimes’ or ‘usually’).<br />3. Guess False if there is a relationship cue (like ‘because’, ‘since’, ‘X causes Y’).<br />4. Guess False if the statement is ridiculous or has unfamiliar terms.<br />5. Guess True if there are no other clues (this is a wild-shot guess).<br />
  19. 19. Taking the Objective Test: Summary of Tips<br />6. Middle Value - the correct alternative is usually of middle value. If you are unsure, eliminate the extremes and pick from the middle value.<br />The mature human being has how many teeth?<br />a. 15<br />b. 32<br />c. 54<br />d. 7<br />7. Two Alternatives Mean the Same - If two alternatives mean the same thing, and there is only one correct answer, eliminate both of them - neither will be correct. Make your choice from those remaining. Example:<br />The treaty of BreatLitovsk was ratified by Moscow because:<br />a. Tsar Alexander I wanted to prevent Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.<br />b. Russia was unable to keep up with the armament manufacture of Austria.<br />c. Russia could not keep pace with the military production of Austria.<br />d. Nicolai Lenin wanted to get the Soviet Union out of World War I.<br />
  20. 20. Taking the Objective Test: General Tips<br />8. Two Alternatives look similar – If two alternatives look similar, but mean different things, one is probably right.<br />Compared to the left hemisphere of the brain, the right hemisphere of the brain<br />a. understands spoken language better<br />b. has better logical abilities<br />c. perceives words better<br />d. perceives emotions better<br />9. Most General Alternatives – The correct alternative is often the most general, it includes the most information.<br />The lungs<br />a. Are solid and immobile and located within the chest.<br />b. Are the only organs that produce insulin.<br />c. Function primarily in respiration.<br />d. Possess the Oddi.<br />
  21. 21. Taking the Objective Test: General Tips<br />10. Length – The correct alternative is often the longest. If most of the correct answers have been the shortest, then select the<br />shortest. However, if most of the correct answers have been the longest, select the longest.<br />3 + (7+1) = 3 + 7 + 1 because<br />a. 3 + 7 + 1 = 11<br />b. Parentheses preceded by an addition sign may be removed without changing the signs of any numbers<br />inside the parentheses (the association law of division).<br />c. Division is indicated.<br />d. Parentheses preceded by a minus sign may be removed.<br />11. Two Alternatives are Opposite - The correct alternative is probably one of a pair of direct opposites.<br />The Planarian has:<br />a. An anterior brain.<br />b. Three legs.<br />c. Red eyes.<br />d. A posterior brain<br />
  22. 22. Taking the Objective Test: General Tips<br />12. Grammatical Agreement of ‘a’ and ‘an’ - The correct alternative should agree grammatically with the stem.<br />A biologist who specializes in the study of the relationships of an organism to its environment is known as an:<br />a. Ecologist<br />b. Structuralist<br />c. Taxonomist<br />d. Naturalist<br />13. Singular and Plurals - If the stem uses the word is, choose a singular word. If the stem has the word are, choose a plural word.<br />Important in feeling pain are:<br />a. Bone<br />b. Ear<br />c. Muscle<br />d. Nerves<br />
  23. 23. Preparing For Essay Tests:Before the Exam<br />Create a master study guide.<br />Practice writing. <br />Memorize key events, facts, and names. <br />Organize your ideas. <br />
  24. 24. QUOTE, A Strategy For Essay Tests<br />Question<br />Underline<br />Organize<br />Time <br />Evaluate<br />
  25. 25. QUOTE: Question<br />Questions is the first step in the quote strategy. Begin by asking the question “what is/are the direction word(s) in the term item?” Identify and bracket the direction words.<br />
  26. 26. QUOTE: Question<br />Review-review your answers before handing in the test.<br />Discuss-give reasons behind different points of view.<br />Describe-present a detailed picture of something.<br />Explain-give the reasons for something.<br />List-present information in some order.<br />Trace-state a series of things in logical order.<br />
  27. 27. QUOTE: Question<br />Relate-show how two or more things are connected.<br />Diagram or Illustrate-create a visual representation in order to demonstrate, explain, or clarify something.<br />Compare-tell how two or more things are alike as well as different.<br />Contrast-tell only how two or more things are different.<br />Criticize- make positive and negative comments about something.<br />Evaluate-judge something using an established set of criteria.<br />Summarize-state all the major points about something.<br />
  28. 28. QUOTE: Underline<br />Underline is the second step in QUOTE. After you have bracketed the direction words, underline the focus words that help you focus on the ideas to be developed in the answer. <br />Example: Blood glucose levels are regulated by the pancreas. Whenever blood sugar levels are too high, the pancrease released a hormone called insulin. [Explain] the mechanism by which insulinglowers the blood sugar in the body.<br />
  29. 29. QUOTE: Organize<br />List the facts you know. <br />On scrap paper, list all the facts you know that are related to the focus words you underlined in the essay test item.<br />Formulate a strong thesis statement that thoroughly addresses the prompt<br />Organize your facts. <br />Create an outline or graphic organizer to organize your facts.<br />Write your answer using your outline or graphic organizer as a guide; make sure all content relates back to claim made in thesis.<br />
  30. 30. QUOTE: Organize<br />With a one-paragraph essay test item: <br />Begin with a sentence that contains your main point (thesis).<br />End with a sentence that states your conclusion (i.e. restates your thesis in different language).<br />With a longer essay test: <br />Begin with an introductory paragraph that previews your answer, place your thesis as the last sentence in that first paragraph. <br />Begin each additional paragraph with a sentence that contains an aspect of your main points, and follow with sentences that support your point . <br />End your answer with a paragraph that states your conclusion.<br />
  31. 31. A Note on the Thesis Statement<br />Most of the academic writing you will do in college will require a strong thesis statement.<br />The thesis statement is typically that ONE sentence in your paper that asserts, controls, and structures the entire argument.<br />It is usually the last sentence of the first paragraph.<br />The thesis clearly communicates your position to the reader and guides your essay content<br />
  32. 32. Thesis Statement<br />The key difference between an opinion statement and thesis statement is that a thesis conveys to the reader that the claim being offered has been thoroughly explored and is defendable by evidence. <br />It answers the "what" question (what is the argument?) and it gives the reader a clue as to the "why" question (why is this argument the most persuasive?). Examples of good thesis statements: <br />"The ability to purchase television advertising is essential for any candidate's bid for election to the Senate because television reaches millions of people and thus has the ability to dramatically increase name recognition.“<br />“ The organizational structure of the United Nations, namely consensus voting in the security council, makes it incapable of preventing war between major powers."<br />
  33. 33. QUOTE: Time<br />Consider how much time you have to complete the essay test.<br />Consider the point value of each item.<br />Write in front of each item the amount of time you plan to spend answering it. Allow more time for items that count for more points.<br />Allow some time to review your answers.<br />Make sure that the time you allow for answering and reviewing does not exceed the total time you have fore the test. If so, revise your planned use of time.<br />
  34. 34. QUOTE: Evaluate<br />Evaluate the content of what you wrote, its organization, and your writing mechanics<br />Did I answer all parts of the question?<br />Did I include all relevant facts?<br />Are all my facts accurate?<br />Is my answer clearly organized?<br />Is my handwriting legible?<br />Did I spell words correctly?<br />Did I use correct punctuation?<br />Did I use correct grammar?<br />
  35. 35. Taking the Essay Test: What to Watch For<br />Avoid excuses. <br />Don't write at the end that you ran out of time, or did not have time to study because you were sick. <br />Don't "pad" your answer. <br />Instructors are usually quite adept at detecting student bluffing. <br />If you are stuck, you can elaborate on what you do know, as long as it relates to the question. <br />Avoid the "kitchen sink" approach. <br />Many students simply write down everything they know about a particular topic, without relating the information to the question. <br />Everything you include in your answer should help to answer the question and support your thesis. <br />You need to show how/why the information is relevant -- don't leave it up to your instructor to figure this out! <br />
  36. 36. Combating Test Anxiety<br />
  37. 37. Test Anxiety<br />Test anxiety is a psychological condition in which a person experiences distress before, during, or after a test or other assessment to such an extent that this anxiety causes poor performance or interferes with normal learning. ...<br />Test anxious students are found to perform about 12 percentile points below their non-anxious peers.<br />
  38. 38. Test Anxiety: Don’t Forget the Basics<br />Continue the habits of good nutrition and exercise. <br />Continue your recreational pursuits and social activities – all contribute to your emotional and physical well-being.<br />Follow a moderate pace when studying; vary your work when possible and take breaks when needed.<br />Get plenty of sleep the night before the test – when you are overly tired you will not function at your absolute best.<br />Once you feel you are adequately prepared for the test, do something relaxing.<br />
  39. 39. Test Anxiety: On Test Day<br />Avoid caffeine.<br />Plan to arrive at the test location early – this will allow you to relax and to select a seat located away from doors, windows, and other distractions.<br />Avoid classmates who generate anxiety and tend to upset your stability.<br />If waiting for the test to begin causes anxiety, distract yourself by reading a magazine or newspaper.<br />
  40. 40. Test Anxiety: During The Test<br />Tell yourself “I can be anxious later, now is the time to take the exam.”<br />Focus on answering the question, not on your grade or others’ performances.<br />Counter negative thoughts with other, more valid thoughts like, “I don’t have to be perfect.”<br />Tense and relax muscles throughout your body; take a couple of slow deep breaths and try to maintain a positive attitude.<br />Think for a moment about the post-exam reward you promised yourself.<br />
  41. 41. Handouts<br />Alternative material that I was unable to include:<br />Strategies for Objective Tests<br />Taking an Essay Exam<br />SQ4R Worksheet<br />A very effective method for reading textbooks and retaining the information.<br />
  42. 42. Contact Information<br />If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at<br />