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TIPS for TESTS. (Test-taking Savvy for Successful College Students). A Student Success On-Line Seminar Presented by R E A C H 2009. Learning Outcomes.

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TIPS for TESTS

(Test-taking Savvy for Successful College Students)

A Student Success On-Line Seminar

Presented byR E A C H

2009


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Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this seminar the student will. . .

Know how to better prepare for tests

Find alternatives to cramming

Be able to avoid test anxiety

Understand the role of time management in successful test taking

Know doable ways of managing test-taking stress


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TEST TAKING 101

TAKE THE PRE-SEMINAR TEST NOW.


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TEST-TAKING 101

  • Use this simple instrument to examine your test-taking strategies. X “Yes” if the behavior describes

  • A practice you use, “No” if what you do differs from the behavior described.

  • Do you allow sufficient time to prepare for tests? ___Yes ___ No

  • Do you usually know what to study? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you have a study method or system? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Are you satisfied with the grades you make on tests? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you know what kinds of errors you make? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you often become distracted during tests? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you enter a testing situation feeling mentally and physically prepared? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you have a test-taking routine that you follow? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you know how to take multiple-choice, true-false, and fill-in-the-blank tests? ___ Yes ___ No

  • Do you Know how to plan and write an essay exam> ___ Yes ___ No

  • If “No” is your answer to any of these items, pay particular attention to the information presented

  • in this module.


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WANT TO IMPROVE TEST PERFORMANCE ??

Then . . .

  • Go to class

  • Actively participate in class

  • Listen, take complete notes

  • Mark your textbook;

    let it communicate with you


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  • Talk to your professor

    • Ask questions

    • Get clarification

  • Use a study system

  • Form or join a study group

  • Study/review daily

  • Keep up in an organized way


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RETAIN INFORMATION

  • Understand it

  • Organize it

  • Reduce to essentials

  • Distribute study to—

    • Reinforce

    • Rehearse

    • Review


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  • Involve all senses

  • Learn in logical “chunks”

  • Use graphics and other organizers to further explain

  • Talk through the information—out loud!


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Before theTest . . .

Test preparation begins the 1st day of class !

  • UNDERSTANDthe material

  • ORGANIZEthe information

  • SCHEDULEregular study time; use it for study

  • USE the spare 5 or 10 minutes for study

  • NETWORK through study groups, S.I., L.A. or other support


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THE DAY BEFORE . . .

  • AVOID extensive study

  • BRIEFLY review

  • DOsomething relaxing!

  • GET a good night’s sleep

  • AVOID stress-producing situations

  • MAINTAIN a positive attitude!


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THE DAY OF THE TEST . . .

  • Get offto a good start

  • Arriveearly enough to get a good seat

  • Composeyourself

  • Doa final scan of your notes

  • Ridself of undue tension

  • Maintaina confident attitude!


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READEVERYTHING

B-E-F-O-R-E

DOING ANYTHING


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SHORT ANSWER ? ? ? ?

For all short answer questions, determine:

  • Should I give a definition?

  • Should I give examples?

  • Should I explain the “why” or “how”?

  • Should I list the causes or factors?

  • Should I make a comparison?


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Manage Stress

AVOID CRAMMING

  • Mentally prepare for the testing situation

  • Prioritize and distribute study

  • Balance your days

  • Eat healthy


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Manage Stress

AVOID CRAMMING

  • Get enough sleep

  • Exercise

  • Study


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AVOID CRAMMING

  • Relax!

  • Take care of yourself

  • Relieve tension

  • Limitcaffeine and other stimulants


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T E S T A N X I E T Y ?

TAKE THE "TEST ANXIETY?"

INVENTORYNOW.


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Test Anxiety ?

  • Place an “X” on the line under the heading that best describes your behavior –Never, Sometimes, or Usually.

  • Never Sometimes Usually

  • I have trouble sleeping the night before a test. ___ ___ ___

  • During a test my palms sweat. ___ ___ ___

  • Before a test I get a headache. ___ ___ ___

  • During a test I have become nauseated and have

  • had to leave (the testing session). ___ ___ ___

  • Because of panic I have cut class on a test day. ___ ___ ___

  • I have had pains in my neck, back or legs during

  • a test. ___ ___ ___

  • My heart pounds just before or during a test. ___ ___ ___

  • I feel nervous and jittery when taking a test. ___ ___ ___

  • During a test my chest feels tight and I have trouble

  • remembering. ___ ___ ___

  • 10. I lose my appetite before a test. ___ ___ ___


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Test Anxiety ?

  • Always Sometimes Never

  • I make careless errors on tests. ___ ___ ___

  • My mind goes blank during tests. ___ ___ ___

  • I worry when other students are finished before I am. ___ ___ ___

  • I feel pushed for time when I am taking a test. ___ ___ ___

  • I worry that I am doing poorly on a test and that

  • everyone else is doing all right. ___ ___ ___

  • When I am taking a test I think about my past failures. ___ ___ ___

  • During a test I feel as if I studied all the wrong things. ___ ___ ___

  • I can’t think clearly during tests. ___ ___ ___

  • I have a hard time understanding and remembering

  • directions when I am taking a test. ___ ___ ___

  • After a test I remember answers to questions I

  • either left blank or answered incorrectly. ___ ___ ___


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Test Anxiety ?

ANALYSIS

Questions 1-10 are physical symptoms and questions 11-20 refer to psychological symptoms of test anxiety. If you checked “sometimes” or “usually” ten or more times, you may have some test anxiety.

To be sure, you may want to visit a REACH Academic Development Specialist or an Education Specialist and discuss your feelings and behavior before, during, and after taking tests.

Test anxiety is a learned response. Because you learned it, you can unlearn it!

  • What causes it?

  • If you are like most test-anxious students your anxiety results from several common causes:

    • Fear that you wont live up to the expectations of important people in your life; worrying that you will

    • lose the affection of people you care about if you don’t succeed

    • Grades: believing grades indicate your personal worth

    • Emphasis– placing too much on a single test

    • Guilt feelings that result from inadequate preparation for tests

    • Feeling helpless—believing that you have no control over your performance or grades.

    • Don’t be fooled! A number of people who say they suffer from test anxiety are mistaken. Their problem is a lack of preparation for the test. If you distribute your study and truly learn the material, test anxiety will have little or no effect on you!

    • Try doing something relaxing the day before the test, and be sure to get enough sleep!


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CAUSES OF TEST ANXIETY

F E A R

. . . that you won’t live up to the expectations of important people in your life

. . . that you will lose the affection of people you care about

. . . of losing a scholarship

( All are real, but are they reallyrealistic?)


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F E E L I N G S . . .

. . . of guilt

. . . of helplessness

. . . that grades determine self worth

(These, too, are real, but are they reallyrealistic?)


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What to do?

Prepare for success, by. . .

  • Taking control; exercising self-discipline

  • Distributing study

  • Using a variety of strategies and techniques

  • Observing the connection between quality and quantity of study and earned grade

    (15 minutes of study a day EVERY day works wonders! Try it. If necessary, up it to 20 or 30 minutes. You won’t miss the time; the payoff is great!)


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Test Day

  • Arrive at the test site early enough to. . .

    • Get a good seat

    • Compose yourself—relax, take a few good deep breaths

    • Read directions carefully

    • Read through entire test before marking any answers

Being the first to finish DOES NOT guarantee a “good” grade!


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During the Test…

  • Pause; reflect on what you know

  • Follow directions given

  • Answer easiest items first

  • Reason through items you’re

    unsure of

  • Proof and correct your test BEFORE turning it in.

Being 1st to finish DOESNOT

guarantee a finished product!


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DURING THE TEST

  • Give your own answer before choosing a given alternative.

  • Mark a choice for every test item.

  • If you must guess—

    • The length of the choices can be a clue—choose the longest

    • If 2 choices are similar, choose neither!

    • If 2 choices are opposites, choose the most logical one.

    • “Absolute” words (always, never, etc.) usually signal a wrong answer


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DON'T FORGET TO PROOF AND EDIT!

FOR ESSAY ITEMS. . .

  • Read through all essay questions BEFORE beginning to write

  • Underline key words: define, compare, explain, etc.

  • Think BEFORE you write.

  • Map or outline the main points you want to make

    Determine the order—make it sequential, logical

    Determine the support to include

    Write


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BEING THE FIRST TO FINISH DOES NOT GUARANTEE A FINISHED PRODUCT!

ESSAY TESTS

A GOOD answer . . .

  • Starts with a direct response to the question

  • Mentions the topics/areas described in the question

  • Provides specific as well as general information

  • Uses the technical vocabulary of the course


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BEING THE FIRST TO FINISH DOES NOT GUARANTEE A FINISHED PRODUCT!

ESSAY TESTS

Proofread and edit

  • Check and correctgrammar, punctuation,

    spelling

  • Check and correctsentence structure

  • Avoid lengthy, awkward sentences


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Problem Solving FINISHED PRODUCT

  • Carefully read the information

  • Identify the problem

  • Mentally determine:

    • What am I asked to find?

    • What do I need to know to find

      the answer?

    • What information has been given?

    • How can I break the problem down?

    • What steps must I follow to solve the problem?


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After working the problem. . . FINISHED PRODUCT

Ask:

  • Does my answer make

    sense?

  • Does my answer cover the

    entire problem?

    Check the clock:

    • Give yourself time to

      complete sections of highest

      value (if not the entire test)

      (Careful, don’t become a

      “clock watcher”!)


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For FINISHED PRODUCTDifficult Questions. . .

  • Don’t panic !

  • Look for key words in the question

  • Put questions into your own words

  • Look for clues


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  • Anticipate the answer FINISHED PRODUCT

  • Eliminate incorrect choices

  • Mark your choice

  • Be logical: make sure your choice makes sense

Being 1st to finish does not guarantee a finished product!


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A FINISHED PRODUCTfter the Test

If test is not returned, you may want to meet with the professor to analyze your test.

  • Identify problem areas:

    • Comprehension?

    • Making inferences? Drawing conclusions?

    • Pulling ideas together?

    • Incomplete answers?

    • Incomplete/inaccurate reading of question?

      THEN

      Analyze and revise your study strategies.


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F FINISHED PRODUCTinal Words

  • Begin test preparation the 1st day of class.

  • Manage your time wisely.

    • Distribute study

    • Use the spare 5-10 minutes for study

  • Organize, reinforce, rehearse and review the material (during distributed study)

  • Avoidcramming!

  • Have a strategy for problem solving.

  • Avoid test anxiety by being prepared!

  • Don’t rush to be the 1st to finish. Rather, work for a finished product!


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Link to the test FINISHED PRODUCT


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