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ABC's of taking exams
Exams. Aside from sleepless nights just to prepare for an exam, cramming just before the proctor enters the room, there is more to taking exams. It is not just about reviewing for an exam, how long, where and what did you review. There are also some other tips that you should keep in mind just minutes before the test paper is given to you. I will tell you some :) Relax at least 5 minutes before the exam I know that most college students are crammers, and when I say cramming, I also mean just taking a quick peek at your notebook or book just when the person seated in front of you is already calling out your attention to get the paper. Well, I should say that these last minute reviews are ineffective! You may remember the few terms you have read that minute, but it may cause you to forget those you reviewed last night, and even the other night! lol. Our guidance counselor has relayed this tip to us, in fact, 2 guidance counselors already told us this thing. Your brain should be relaxed at least 5 minutes before taking the exam. And by relax I mean, no opening of notes and books anymore. Just take a deep breath. I think this is very effective, there is this one exam where in I just studied for less than 3 hours and my classmates studies the whole night, even in the morning, but they did not relax 5 minutes before the exam. Then proof, I got higher grades than them :D Self fulfilling! Pay Attention to instructions! I can still remember my paper being marked as "NFD" when I was still in grade school, which means "not following directions" my seatmate coined this acronym, because I was too bad with directions before. I always forget to read the instructions and answer the questions right away. For example, When I see "true" and "false" on the instructions, I will start answering right away and after answering number 10, I will notice that " Write T if it is true, F if it is false. No erasures" Ugh, Disappointing right? Especially when you know that your answers are correct. I know many who failed an exam, because of this. So come on, we are already in college, and we should know how to follow instructions! Besides, we can't afford to fail an examination or even a quiz just because we were not able to follow instructions correctly! It is so hard to pass an exam in college. I'm sure you don't wanna fail just because of that very elementary reason. Skip difficult questions first Well this might be a cliche but might as well add this one, because this has been a cliche for one reason, this is very effective! I do this every time when I take an exam, on the average, I usually spend only 10 to 40 seconds to answer a question which I really know the answer. If I notice that I am taking longer than my average time, let's say, for example, 1 minute or 2 minutes, I leave it blank first with the hope of remembering the answer the moment I read it again. I go on with the exam searching for easy questions until I reach the last page of the exam. When I reach the last page, I go back again to the first page to scan through those items I have not answered yet. And more often than not, I get to remember the answers the moment, I read the questions again :) Try this tip and you will save a lot of time, and it will help you remember answers ;) Good luck to all those who will be taking their exams or quizzes. Cheers! Photo from: wrmmedia.wordpress.com
Tue, 2011-09-06 14:44#2
Yeah I give it at least 15
Yeah, I give it at least 15 minutes. I try not to go into the exam hall before, because it is a little scary to see people running around like chickens trying to grasp EVERYTHING in that 5 minutes (kind of makes me anxious). I totally agree with the second part "read the instructions!" I had to learn the hard way, when I marked every answer for at least 25 questions (in a competitive entrance exam which apparently had NEGATIVE MARKING) blindly, because I didn't have time. Not fun! From the moment, I started reading instructions thrice! Paranoia at its highest :p I have to say even though students know they need to relax, including me, sometimes can't refrain from cramming.
Tue, 2011-09-06 18:51#3
I've heard that bit of advice
I've heard that bit of advice about not cramming, too. I've had success and failures with both techniques so I don't know if there's really much truth to that (or if I'm just weird, which is totally possible), but yeah, definitely take a few minutes before an exam to relax. You'll be able to recall necessary information better when you're not SO focused on those last few terms you were desperately trying to memorize right up until the professor started handing out the test. I'm a big fan of #3, too. I didn't know that was an actual technique, though, I just thought I was lazy. lol Even in grade school, my teachers always told us to never spend a lot of time on a question unless we actually had the time to spare. If it's too hard or you just can't think of the answer right that second, skip it and come back to it later. Get the ones you know out of the way so that you can devote more time to the difficult questions. Among other things, you might actually jog your memory while you're working on easier questions and suddenly remember whatever it is that you need to know. Along that line, I like to figure out ahead of time about how long I can spend on each question. Let's say for simplicity's sake that you have one hour to complete a thirty question exam. This means you could potentially spend two minutes on each question and still finish in time. Of course this is a rough guideline; you might end up spending thirty seconds on one question and then five minutes on another. It's still a useful gauge to help keep you on target to finish in time. Finally, another tip grade school teachers always stressed and which no one ever seems to do now, but CHECK YOUR WORK. Most of the time, you probably won't need every minute of the given testing period to complete the exam. Instead of handing it in and dashing out the door the second you answer the last question, take a minute or two to go back over the test. Re-read the questions and make sure you've given the best answer you can. I've caught more than a few careless mistakes this way myself (e.g., chose B instead of C, got one term confused for another, etc).
Thu, 2011-09-08 22:18#4
How do you spell college student? "C-r-a-m-m-e-r." Haha, but its true. I have also found that gettind adequate sleep helps in the assimilation of information. The longer and deeper sleep, the better the REM cycle, the better the memory assimilation. Therefore, if this theory holds true, it could be that more sleep instead of all-night cramming sessions could be more beneficial in the long run. Beyond this, you bring out some very good tips. Most people don't operate well under stress. Our body's reactions during intense stress isn't to recall information, it is to survive. With this simple maxims in mind, we should set ourselves up for success, not failure.
Fri, 2011-09-09 09:26#5
This may sound amusing, but I learned breathing excercises to alleviate test anxiety while taking a test success course in my first year at Gulf Coast. It truly does have some merit. Breathing in deeply through your nose, and slowly out through your mouth signals your body to calm and relax. A mild form of meditation, deep breathing utilizes your diapragm muscle, and conciously soothes your frayed nerves. I will admit I got a few odd looks from fellow classmates when I first tried it just before a pharmacology final, but I made a better grade than I expected, and I was able to more calmly evaluate the questions and finished more confidently with plently of time to review my answers.
Tue, 2011-09-13 00:28#6
Another hting I've found that is super helpful is to ask students who have had that professor or class before what the tests are like. Now, I'm certainly NOT suggesting cheating or asking for test questions -- I'm saying, ask what his general style is. Does he like abstract questions or does he take right from the book? should you go with your gut instinct or are there lots of trick questions. These sorts of things will help you ace that test, even if the material is tough. But of course, your best bet is always to study and study and study a little more. ;)
Tue, 2011-09-13 20:57#7
Yeah I agree, that's what my friends and I did for sure. Of course it isn't cheating to try and get some pointers...it's just sometimes difficult sometimes to find people willing to give them to you:) There were some, though. In my program especially, since we were all becoming nurses...we were there together, working toward the same goal, helping each other out...to an extent. I never aked for answers, only tips. And I never gave answers, only advice. there is fine line between helping and hindering..and honestly, everyone needs to learn the essentials primarily on their own, but a little friendly assistance never hurt anybody:)
Mon, 2011-09-19 18:44#8
Good study habits
In addition to all of the great comments posted by my other collegepals. One of the most important things to remember when preparing for an exam is to not try and cram prior to the test. I know this works for some people, but I can definitely attest to the fact that preparation over a few days prior to the exam is much better than trying to cram the night before. I learned this lesson the hard way my freshman year...in high school I was able to prepare the night before - sometimes the day of the test. This study moethod did not work well for me in college. My advice would be to find a friend in the class to study with - having someone else to work with helps motivate you to study and can make studying for exams more fun in general. Try to prepare at least a week in advance for those big exams!
Tue, 2011-09-20 14:58#9
I have the opposite of testing axiety. I am usually very confident when it comes to taking exams, almost over-confident at times. The only time I would ever be worried about an exam is if I felt like I wasn't prepared. I usually over study though, so being unprepared is rare for me. On the other hand, I'm not good at taking timed tests. I have bad OCD and I really take my time on every question, double-checking everything three times. When it comes to timed tests, I can't do all of that or I run out of time. I usually end up doing fine on timed tests, but not as good as I would on an untimed test (even if it had harder questions).
Thu, 2011-09-22 19:08#10
Another resource I used alot while at Penn State was a notes service that they had on campus for the majority of classes. Basically, some students on campus set up a small business where they employed students to take notes in classes and submit them at the end of the semester. In order to become a "note taker," students were required to get an "A' in the course. If this requirement was met, the students notes were submitted and other students had the opportunity to purchase them in the next semester. Do any of you have a similar service at your schools? If not, might be a good opportunity for a small business :P
Sun, 2011-09-25 20:57#11
you are totally right
I definitely agree with you. First, most college students are crammers, including myself. College works are really not that easy to take your time and start assimilating. You need to increase the pace of studying, and cramming seems to be the right answer. Another strategy that works for me during exams is that I usually ask my professors to give me the area of concentration for their course in the major exam, and most of them would actually give me. Once I get the chapters to concentrate on. I would read and understand those chapters very well, and if I have extra time, then I would now read the chapters that are not in the area of concentration.