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Test Prep Strategies
First commandment of studying: Thou shalt not cram
Ask or anticipate what material will be covered on the test and write it down. You can do this by:
Reviewing tests from other chapters
Listening to verbal clues in class
If your teacher provides a study guide, use this as your “roadmap” in organizing your study
Find out what types of questions will be on the test.
Use a different study technique for an essay test than for an objective test. Solving problems involves different preparation than that for sentence completion.
Review previous tests to discover your teacher’s usual format.
Pay attention to the kinds of exercises you do daily in class; the test may parallel these.
Discover how much of the test is based on your notes and how much is based on your text or ancillary materials/hand-outs/packets, etc
Your teacher may be able to give you this information specifically. If not, you will need to review your prior tests and first semester exam to determine the extent of test material drawn from each.
Do not rely completely on notes unless your teacher specifically states this. Too often, students believe that simply reviewing the class notes will be sufficient preparation. Notes provide a study guide for the specific content that you will need to master in depth.
To gain depth, review text examples, diagrams, packets or articles provided by the teacher and take notes on these materials on index cards (if you have not done so earlier in the year).
Organize your notes and other materials to correspond with the material you believe will be covered and the type of test to be given.
Gather all of the material that will be on the test: class notes, chapter reviews, problems, notes taken from text and packets.
Highlight in your notes the key points that might be covered.
Use margin notes (key words written in the margin) to identify main points.
Write down any additional information you anticipate will be covered.
Avoid cramming. Keep in mind that it takes time to get material into the third and fourth layers of your memory, so begin reviewing the material at least one week prior to the test.
First two nights: skim the material
Next two nights: review ancillary materials (text, hand-outs, articles) and take notes on these materials on index cards.
Fifth night: recite aloud the highlighted sections of your notes as well as your index cards. Do this more than once.
Sixth and seventh nights: Test yourself. With all of the material organized and in front of you, cover up sections of the notes and recite aloud key concepts without looking. Then have someone use these materials to quiz you verbally.
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