Strategic Test Prep
1) Find Out What You Already Know
Use syllabi to make a list of key concepts you must know for the test.
Hide all notes and books and test your understanding on each key concept.
How well can you: summarize main ideas, do sample problems, recall facts from memory, apply concepts in a new way?
How did you do? Rate your skill and understanding on each bit of content from your list using this simple scale:
3 = I know this well
2 = I know this some
1 = don’t know this at all
2) Make a Study Smart Plan
Make a study guide, merging main ideas from class notes and readings.
Choose study tasks to practice the content you rated with a 1 or 2, including:
- Make mind maps, time-lines, flash-cards.
- Study with a partner.
- Teach concepts to someone else.
- Write or speak aloud the main ideas.
- Generate higher-level thinking questions to test yourself with.
3) Make a Study Schedule
Once you’ve selected study tasks for concepts rated 1 and 2, estimate how much time you will need to complete them.
Look over your calendar and identify available time-blocks for above.
Lay out plan on a calendar, noting exactly what you will be doing and for how long. Example:
- 8:00 – 8:45: Flash-card review for chapters 1-3
Save time in your calendar for Self-Testing.
4) Test Yourself
When you’ve completed your Study Plan, it’s time to test yourself again.
Hide all materials and test your understanding on concepts you rated 1 and 2 the same way you did in Step 1.
- Can you do a problem from memory?
- Can you restate or rewrite what you learned?
- Can you teach these concepts to a friend?
- Can you answer questions you generated (not simple recall!)
- Still stuck on a particular concept? Keep practicing!
Download PDF: Strategic Test Prep
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