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Welcome! Have some free food! Get ready to learn! Student Success Center Seminar Series Speaker: Chris Coughlin Test Taking Strategies …How to get that “A” you always wanted What will be covered..

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Welcome l.jpg


Have some free food!

Get ready to learn!

Student success center seminar series l.jpg

Student Success CenterSeminar Series

Speaker: Chris Coughlin

Test taking strategies l.jpg

Test Taking Strategies

…How to get that “A”

you always wanted

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What will be covered..

  • Techniques for improving your test taking abilities including:

    • Physical, emotional, and mental preparation

    • Study strategies

    • Overcoming test anxiety

    • Test taking tips for the many types of tests

    • Avoiding academic dishonesty

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Self assessment

1. __ I always begin studying for an exam at least a week in advance

2. __ I usually find that my class notes are very helpful when I’m preparing for an exam

3. __ I usually study for an exam with at least one other person

4. __ I usually know what to expect on a test before I go into the exam

5. __ I study for tests by predicting possible questions and seeing if I am prepared to answer them

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Self Assesment

6. __ I predict essay questions and develop outlines of the answers

7. __ I am careful to maintain good eating, sleeping, and exercise habits before exams

8. __ If I finish an exam early or on time, I recheck my paper

9. __ I usually know that I have done well on an exam when I finish.

10. __ I seldom feel overly nervous when studying for or taking exams

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Exam Preparation

  • Starts at the beginning of the semester

    • Talk to the instructor

      • Structure of tests

      • Time allowed

    • Time management

      • Make a schedule

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Physical Preparation

  • Get plenty of sleep

    • Staying up late to cram the night before will impair your mental abilities

  • Get exercise

    • Aerobic activities reduce stress

    • Keeps you relaxed, positive, and provides study breaks

  • Eat right

    • Eat breakfast before an exam to give you the energy you need

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Emotional Preparation

  • Know the material

    • Confidence is important or doing well

  • Practice relaxation techniques

    • Go for a run

    • Sit in a quite area and take a few deep breaths

    • Do some stretches

  • Positive self-talk

    • Remind yourself that you are prepared, and will do great!

    • Self Fulfilling Prophecy

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Planning for Success

  • Find out about the test

    • Leave no unanswered questions

  • Schedule out study time

    • Leave plenty of time to prepare

  • Study Groups

    • Get a group of people together to review for tests

    • Quiz each other, teach each other

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Planning for Success

  • Get a tutor

    • At the SSC we have tutors for most core classes

    • Get help early on

    • Go to: www.valdosta.edu/ssc

      Or call: 333-7570

      to schedule appointments

      We are always here to help!

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Studying for Tests

  • Make Review Sheets

    • Condense notes into units for easy management

    • Make a list of key terms for quick reference and study

  • Flash Cards

    • Great for making use of dead time (waiting for the bus, waiting for a class to start etc.)

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Studying for Tests

  • Write summaries of class topics

    • A good way to judge your know how is to explain what you have learned to someone else

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Test Anxiety

  • Sources of Test Anxiety

    • Pressure to Succeed

    • Expectations of loved ones

    • Lack of preparation

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Test Anxiety

  • Specific or generalized

    • One test will not make or break you

    • Anxious about a specific type of test? Specific subject?

      • practice, practice, practice

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Test Anxiety

  • Symptoms - can manifest at different times for different people:

    • “butterflies” in the stomach

    • Feeling queasy or nauseous

    • Headaches

    • Fast heartbeat

    • Hyperventilating

    • Shaking

    • Sweating

    • Muscle cramps

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Test Anxiety

  • During the test

    • Experience the sensation of “going blank”

    • Undermines all test preparation

  • Severe Test Anxiety

    • If you become physically ill please seek help from a physician, campus health services, or a counselor

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Test Anxiety

  • Combating Test Anxiety

    • Study hard, eat right, and get lots of sleep

    • Long deep breathes, and a slow exhale

    • Stretch routines

    • Stay positive

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Types of Tests

  • Problem-Solving Tests

    • In the sciences, math, statistics, etc.

    • Show all work to avoid careless mistakes

    • Read all directions carefully

    • Double check work when done

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Types of Tests

  • Machine-Scored Tests

    • Fill out all personal information required on answer sheet

    • Fill in each answer fully

    • Make sure the number on answer sheet corresponds to the number on the question

    • Erase stray marks

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Types of Tests

  • Computerized Tests

    • Make sure you are comfortable with the format

    • Ask professor to clarify anything you don’t understand

    • If available, take practice tests

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Types of Tests

  • Laboratory Tests

    • Always attend Lab!

      • This is where you practice for the exams

  • Review notes

    • Also, practice drawing any diagrams you might be required to recreate

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Types of Tests

  • Open-Book/Open-Note Tests

    • Usually HARDER than closed-book/closed-note tests

      • Professor expects more from your answers

    • Study and organize your notes

    • Make sure you know where everything is in your book

    • Do not make the mistake of not studying, just because your book is there

      • Looking things up in your notes or book takes time!

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Types of Tests

  • Take-Home Tests

    • Usually HARDER than in-class tests

    • Allow plenty of time to complete the take home test

    • Your professor usually expects more from your answers

    • Check with professor to find out to what extent collaboration is allowed

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Tips for Test Taking

  • Essay Questions

    • Budget the time

    • Read the question carefully

    • Make an outline first

    • Make answers clear, concise, and organized

    • Know the key task words

      • Examples: Compare, Analyze, Contrast, Criticize, Define, Describe, Discuss, Evaluate, Etc.

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Tips for Test Taking

  • Multiple-Choice Questions

    • Read the question, and generate your own answer

    • Pick the answer that best matches your own

    • If you don’t know the answer to a question right away, narrow down your options

    • Skip questions you don’t know and comeback later. A later question might give a clue to its answer!

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Tips for Test Taking

  • Fill-in-the-Blank Questions

    • If you don’t know it right away, generate a few possible answers

    • Pick the one you feel best fits the question

  • True/False Questions

    • For a question to be true, every detail must be true

    • Definite terms such as always, never, only are usually false

    • Don’t second guess yourself when a sequence of questions is all true or all false

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Tips for Test Taking

  • Matching Questions

    • Review all terms and descriptions before answering

    • Match the ones you are most sure of

    • Use process of elimination to help finish

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Before the Test

  • Get to class a little early

    • Make sure you have all the materials you need

    • Go to the bathroom, get a drink of water

    • Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself

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When You Get Your Test

  • Skim over the whole test to get the big picture, schedule time accordingly

  • “Mind Dump” – On some tests it is helpful to write a few notes down of important concepts you don’t want to forget

  • When you finish don’t leave!

    • Use spare time to go back over the test to catch mistakes

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After the Test

  • If your professor reviews the exam, GO TO CLASS!

    • It is helpful to hear what he was looking for and why

  • Review your test to see the mistakes you made

    • Reviewing mistakes and learning from them helps you to prepare for future tests

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Academic Honesty

  • Types of Misconduct

    • Cheating – intentionally using unauthorized materials such as notes, study aids, the guy sitting to your left

    • Plagiarism – taking another person’s ideas and claiming them as your own.

      • When in doubt, cite it

  • Reducing likelihood of problems

    • Know the rules, Set clear boundaries with peers, seek help when needed

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Seek Help!

  • Student Success Center

  • Your Professor

  • Academic Advisor

  • Counselor

  • Tutor

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  • Gardner, J. N., Jewler, A. J., Barefoot, B. O. (2007) Your college experience: Strategies for success. Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth.

  • http://www.d.umn.edu/kmc/student/loon/acad/strat/test_take.html

  • http://www.bucks.edu/~specpop/tests.htm

  • http://www.studygs.net/

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Thanks for Coming!

  • The next installation of the SSC Seminar Series: