Exams are high-stakes. In many classes, semester grades hinge on 3-4 major tests. This 50-minute lesson improves exam preparation through a deliberate approach. An overview of the 5 Day Study Plan, a proven approach to exam preparation, is provided; in addition, active study strategies are introduced. These strategies can increase learning and retention of material beyond just rote memorization.
- Recognize the importance of a systematic approach to test-preparation
- Understand cognitive processes of learning
- Apply the 5-day study plan
- Identify learning preferences and favored learning environments
- Identify learning levels required by course/exam
- Create study materials appropriate to learning preferences and knowledge level
- Apply active learning strategies
- Employ strategies to minimize test anxiety
- Create a 5-day study plan
- Learn to apply the 5-Day Study Plan to prepare for multiple exams at one time
- Conduct a Post-Test Analysis to adjust Exam Preparation strategies for future tests.
Sufka, K. J., (2018). The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades (pp 29-71). Oxford, MS: Nautilus Publishing.
Pauk, W., and Owens, RJQ. (2008). How to study in college (pp. 265-303). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.http://college.cengage.com/psychology/bernstein/essentials/4e/assets/students/succeed/ch_01.pdf
Summary of actions
(Slides explain the basic concepts covered in this lesson.)
- Introduce the concept of studying as a systematic process with best practices derived from cognitive psychology and education research.
- Ask students to describe their study routines (possibly an in-class activity to consider for a few minutes, then discuss in groups).
- Explain information processing/how learning works optimally, as described in the slides.
- Explain Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve (see slides) and how regular review at increasing intervals helps us avoid it.
- Explain how Bloom’s taxonomy can help students know at what levels of learning they should be studying.
- Ask students what kinds of study materials they might create for application, analysis, evaluation, synthesis, creation.
- Introduce and explain the 5-day study plan. This video (3:55) may help.
- Model the 5-day study plan.
- Have students in groups or individually do the Making and Using Study Materials activity.
- Discuss as a class or in groups th difference between making and using study materials.
- Have students fill in the 5-day study plan matrix.
- Discuss how students might study for more than one exam in the same week or on the same day.
- Discuss and explain how to use a Post-Test Analysis to adjust future Exam Preparation. You might find this video (3:54) useful as a way to explain post-test analysis.
How to Keep Calm during Tests
Strategies for Different Test Formats
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