Study Skills – The “Half Test” (Tuesday November 24)

November 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm 2 comments

Note – A series of Study Skills related articles appears here each Tuesday. I now shift my focus to practice tests and helping students prepare for an exam.

If you typically spend a day reviewing prior to an exam, consider the following activity instead.

For my developmental level math classes I will often bring in a “half test” on the day before the first exam. I figure that they’ve seen me work enough problems, and watching me go through problems one more time might not be so helpful. Here’s how it goes.

  • Write a varied practice test that will take half of a class period.
  • After the students have finished, give out a sheet with solutions.
  • Have students determine whether they are working quickly enough.
  • Have students determine which subjects/problems will require further study and spend the remainder of the time answering questions.

The main idea is to put students in a test-like situation prior to the test. You can never tell how you will respond until you experience the feeling of walking the tightrope without a net. For a student with anxiety, it gives them a chance to experience that feeling, then focus on techniques to overcome it. This also clearly helps students to determine where their weeknesses are while they still have time to study and prepare for the exam.

I only use this activity once a semester. After that students can do this on their own prior to all subsequent exams. 

Although I usually only do this in developmental math classes, I tried it this week in my trig class. I’ll update you on how it worked tomorrow, after I have finished grading.

I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there are topics you’d like me to address in future Study Skills articles, send in your requests through the contact page on my web site. Be sure to check out next Tuesday’s article.  – George

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MyMathLab – Homework Grades (Monday 11/23/09) Blog Hiatus Over

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