Gathering Information About a Test The more you find out about an upcoming test, the better equipped you will be for preparing for and taking the test. Use the following strategies to prepare for upcoming tests: Course Materials: Review your course syllabus and class assignment sheets so you know specifically what chapters and topics will be included on the test. Instructors: Listen carefully to your instructor’s description of the test and the topics or chapters that the test will cover. Sometimes you instructor will emphasize which materials you should review or what types of questions will appear on the test. Other Students: Talk to other students who have already completed the course and tutors who are familiar with the course. Ask them for study suggestions and about the kinds of test questions to expect.
Reviewing Your Study Tools and Materials To prepare for an upcoming test, begin by reviewing study tools that you have already created such as lecture and textbook notes Six Essential Strategies for Reviewing for Tests: 1. Review your lecture notes, textbook notes, and study tools that you have created. 2. Assess the effectiveness of your learning and reviewing strategies. 3. Review associations, visualizations, and any mnemonics you previously created. 4. For some coursework, rework previous problems to help retain the process or formula. 5. Review one final time the night before a test. 6. Review an hour or so the day of the test.
Creating Summary Notes Summary notes are specific notes that include information that you need to review further before the day of the test. Summary notes can be: lists, comparison charts, outlines, flashcards, visual mappings or hierarchies, or Cornell notes. Summary notes differ from regular notes because they do not include all information, particularly information and concepts you already know.
Predicting Test Questions Predicting test questions is an excellent way to prepare for test and reduce test anxiety. Understanding the types of questions is the first step, some common question formats are: Objective questions = true-false, multiple choice, and matching Recall questions = fill-in-the-blank, listings, definitions, short answers, and problem solving Essay questions - retrieve the information from memory, organize it, and use effective writing skills to respond Predicting questions is even easier after you have taken one or two tests from a specific instructor and have a sense of the types of tests he or she uses.
Reviewing with Others Review sessions are an effective way to receive immediate feedback about the topics you understand clearly and those that you need to review further. Study Groups are also an effective way to prepare for tests. If a study group does not exist, you can create one with members of your class. Just remember a study group needs to have structure to be effective and efficient.
Using a Five-Day Study Plan A five-day study plan is a plan of action that helps you organize your materials and time to review for a major test, such as a midterm or final exam. The plan promotes spaced practice and ongoing review and reduces the tendencies to procrastinate, cram, or have test anxiety. How to create a five-day study plan: 1. Be specific and realistic – list all topics and materials you need to review 2. Set target days and times – organize specific blocks of time over the course of five days 3. Identify the steps and a plan of action – which topics or chapters will you review on what days. 4. Plan a reward – choose a reward for yourself after you complete the five-day study plan and after you complete the test
Sources: Szarlan, John, Suman Singha, and Scott Brown. Striving For Excellence: A Manual for Goal Achievement. Boston: Pearson, 2011. Print. Wong, Linda. Essential Study Skills. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009. Print. www.studygs.net/tstprp8.htm