Monday, March 21, 2005

April Exams: Some Study Tips

This week’s workshops

Test Taking Strategies: Essay Exams
Thursday Mar 24th (3:30) in 340 Helen Glass

Editing: Tense
Tuesday Mar 22nd (2:15) in 534 University Centre


We are approaching the ever popular time for the nerve-racking exam cram - ten hours, twenty hours of force feeding facts so that we can go in, write the exam and forget it all twenty minutes later.

Study in small bits
When studying for exams it is much better (and much less stressful) to study in small bits (20 minutes – an hour) over a longer period of time than in a large chunk all at once. For example, you will remember far more if you study for 20 minutes every day than if you study 2 hours once a week.

Avoid useless repetition
Another popular study technique is to read your notes over hundreds of times. This strategy can backfire however. Facts and information that looks familiar on your note page won’t look so familiar when taken out of context and put on an exam sheet. Students who hate writing multiple choice tests will have an even harder time when faced with information taken out of context. Also, when memorizing small details, it is important that you pay attention to how the details related to each other and fit into the chapter or course.

Rehearse: test yourself
A really simple way to deal with this problem is to test yourself when you are studying. Reading and rereading your notes and your text book is not enough. Make up flashcards or study cards, cover up definitions in the text and quiz yourself, draw pictures, draw diagrams that connect the ideas from the chapter sections together answer the questions at the back of the chapter. All of those techniques are a relatively painless way to remember material. If you want help developing these skills you can come see us at the Learning Assistance Centre (520 University Centre).

Find out more
Good websites for information on exam preparation (besides our own of course) are:

York University’s Exam Preparation site

University of Guelph’s Fastfax

California Polytechnic State University study skills site has a number of good exam preparation and exam writing handouts.

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