Tests. Most students regard the inevitable exams and quizzes with a long face, but that could be because they’re not using the best test-taking techniques.
Laurie Huntington kicked off a Test-Taking Skills Workshop on Saturday at the Davis campus by thanking participants for their attendance on an early morning. Huntington has been a testing specialist at the Weber State University Davis campus and West center for six years.
Huntington pointed out that studying and testing go hand in hand, “There is no test taking without studying.”
Experts recommend dedicating three hours of studying every week to each credit hour – meaning 15 hours a week should be spent studying for a five-credit class.
But how do students study efficiently? Huntington covered many tips, suggesting that students schedule study time as an event instead of hastily squeezing it in.
To improve comprehension, students should check the syllabus to see which information will be covered during the next class and study up on it beforehand.
“It allows you to ask questions of the instructors. Even if you can only skim through, it’s still helpful,” Huntington said.
Reading before class helps students determine which topics they need help with and should focus on more during the discussion.
When reading at home, it may help to break the assignment into smaller sections and take breaks in between. Students have even used M&Ms to reward themselves after reading each page, which helps keep them going.
Huntington recommended paying special attention to how much space in the book is devoted to each topic and how much time the professor spends on it.
“You can use their verbal cues to point you in the direction of what to study,” Huntington said.
Also, students should keep an eye out for text aids. Textbooks often have chapter summaries and practice problems, which can be handy in reviewing for a test.
To emphasize the importance of repetition, Huntington used an analogy of a path being worn through the grass after many people tread over it.
“It ingrains those patterns in your brain and makes it easier to recall,” Huntington said.
Another type of pattern that is helpful is routine. Studying at the same time every week makes it easier to remember. Having a bedtime routine makes it easier to fall asleep the night before the test.
The different test types were also discussed, along with the best way to handle them. Huntington reminded students that if any part of a question is false, then the answer is false.
Answers to essay questions need to be structured properly.
“My English 1010 teacher always had us write the body first, then the conclusion and intro,” said Melanie Hansen, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “A lot of people spend time trying to write a perfect introduction before they know what they’re introducing.”
Huntington encouraged students to maintain perspective, which may keep stress levels low.
“It’s just a test. It doesn’t define who you are,” Huntington said.
After attending the workshop, Tia Walker, a business administration student at Weber State University said she found the information very helpful.
“I’m definitely thinking about attending future workshops,” Walker added.
Workshops are open not only to students, but free to the entire community.