Tuesday, 2 June 2015

10. Test/Exam preparation

Tests and exams typically test how much we’ve learnt during the term, semester, year. Whether or not they are a true representation of our knowledge and understanding of all the work learnt throughout the year/(s) – that may be a debatable topic for another day.

Preparation starts from the beginning

We actually prepare for tests and exams from the time that the academic year starts. The work that we get tested on is taught over a period because it’s too much for us to learn and understand a few days before the day of the test/exam. It’s such a privilege that at university, even at primary school and high school, to have curriculums that spread the workload over the course of each year: it makes it easier for us to learn at a fair pace to ensure that the work for the whole year is completed within the year. Whether or not the pace or the workload is indeed fair – that may also be a debatable issue for another day.

How do we prepare?

We cover the workload by attending classes, lectures and tutorials. As much as classes at primary school and high school are compulsory, not so much at university – but that’s an option at our own cost.

At university, we are provided a time schedule that specifies when lectures and tutorials of the respective modules will be. As much as I understood that these lectures and tutorials are not compulsory, I made the conscious decision to attend them, because I was not familiar with studying on my own. When I reached final year, especially when I had to repeat it, I realized how important it was to make sure that I find a way to make these lectures and tutorials effective for me. I also had to prioritize and be able to decide when I needed to bunk certain lectures and tutorials – but I still had to be sure that I was making a smart decision: where I’d know how to deal with the consequences, and more importantly being certain that bunking is a worthy sacrifice for whatever I was bunking for.

Taking advantage of the curriculum:

· Personal strategies implemented

In respect of making lectures and tutorials effective for me, some of the things I implemented to ensure this are pre-reading, post -reading, taking notes during lectures, time management strategies and consultation. My experience and benefits thereof I have shared in the previous blog posts titled “How I made lectures work in my favour”, “What pre-reading and post-reading meant to me”, “Note-taking and note-making – effective?”, “Time-management”, and “Consultation”.

All of these strategies worked together in contributing to my preparation of tests and exams. They made it a little easier for me to understand the work lectured and tutored, but most importantly they made it a little easier for me to prepare for tests and exams, because I understood certain sections of work before tests and exams, and that minimized the stress and the work that needed to be studied.

· Preparation just before tests and exams

As I mention in the blog post titled “Note-taking and note-making – effective?”, I flagged my notes, which made it easier for me to go back to them when I needed to refresh my memory on certain sections and chapters. In the blog post titled “How much studying is enough?”, I mention how I was able to discover whether I had studied enough - enough to pass or enough to reach my target – by investigating the reasons for marks lost in the tests I had written in the past. That is something that can be used to prepare better for the next tests and exams, because the reasons for lost marks may trigger strategies to use or changes that can be made in our studying and preparation for tests and exams.

It seems very important to consider what strategies to implement and how best to utilize the lectures, tutorials, consultation hours and even the tests that we write throughout the year for preparation of further tests and exams, especially final exams.

So, how do you prepare for tests and exams? What strategies do you use? Do you find them effective? Be sure to share your thoughts, views, experiences or even advice relevant to this topic.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Until next time.  :)

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