an erroneous assumption of “test taking” is that knowledge is the sole key to success.
“test taking” is exactly what it is. it is the process of answering questions, performing equations, or writing essays. thus, the ability to answer, perform, and write are important components to “test taking.”
therefore, another key to test taking success is the ability to take knowledge and be able to use it within the context of answering question, performing equations or writing. we will label this aspect as the “ability to perform the material.”
thus, efficiency in the “ability to perform the material” can play a large role in test taking success. for example, one may have 100 percent knowledge of the material but a 50 percent efficiency in “performing the material.” this will yield a poor result on the test of 50 percent. in contrast, someone knowing 75 percent of the material and being able to perform it at 100 percent efficiency can yield a test result of 75 percent.
there are many who study by staring at a book and memorizing material. this is a fruitless endeavor. sadly, the educational system does not teach individuals who to take tests. successful test taking requires improvement of the efficiency to perform the material.
thus, let’s run through some basic test taking issues that can help in incorporating the “ability to perform the material” into your skill set.
what is the material to be tested? ask the instructor this question. don’t be shy. how much will be from the lecture materials? how much will be from the book? which chapters in the book will be tested? this can be exceptionally helpful as to how to study.
what is the format of the test? ask the instructor this question. again, don’t be shy. how much will be multiple choice, true-false, or essay? will equations have to be performed?
what skills will be necessary? multiple choice versus essays offer different challenges and different preparation. thus, if it is a multiple choice test, practicing answering multiple choice questions would help. if it is an essay, practicing writing would help. these exercises improve the “performance” aspect of the test taking.
how can i improve my knowledge of the material? knowledge is a function of memory. memory is a function of the brain and brain pathways. thus, creating as many brain pathways to recall the information can increase the likelihood of recall for a test. one way of achieving this is a multi-sensorial approach. try to use all of your senses to learn the material. thus, speaking it, hearing it, reading it, writing it, and perhaps tasting it all can come into play. while flash cards are good. they can become a more effective tool if they are read, spoken, and perhaps re-written. additionally, having conversations with others concerning the materials can be of assist. this can be helpful with essays in which expression of thought may apply
practice performing the material in as many creative ways possible, play with the material in your mind. make conversations over the material. again, take the time to write practice essays, perform equations or do sample multiple choice questions.
with all of this in mind, you are ready for success.
while this is all good, i offer you some food for thought. life as well is a test. what are we tested on? what are the materials to be studied? what do we do to practice the materials? when is the test? who grades us? all these questions are a subject for another post.
if you have questions about these techniques, please feel free to reach me. i am more than happy to provide you more insight.
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