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Advice on Preparing for Tests and Exams.
Studying abroad is always a challenge for international students. The
main reason is that American approaches to studying and education differ
from those in their home countries, for example. That's why it is often
a problem for students from out the USA to get used to the way (or maybe
style) of studying in American colleges. The following advice will be
of value for most international students.
What you should and should not do:
Here are some tips that will help you get prepared for tests:
Begin studying as soon as classes start;
Try no to miss class (usually lectures cover the full amount of information
that will be later included to midterm or final tests);
Sit in the front (practice shows that the closer you are to the lecturer
and the class board, the more you hear and remember from every lecture);
Do your homework assignments in time (the main goal of homework is not
to waste your free time after classes, but to let you practice in what
you heard during the lectures);
Do not be later to classes (most lecturers give important information
in the beginning of classes; also they talk about homework assignments
for the next time; finally, most professors can take it as an offend if
a student is always later to his/her class);
Do you reading before you come to a class (this will help you understand
better the material being presented during a lecture);
Ask as many questions as many as you need (if you can't get something,
keep asking the lecturer to explain it in some other way);
Do not be afraid to do some extra homework assignments in case you do
not understand the material (the more tasks and problems you solve, the
faster and more correctly you will be doing on your tests).
1. Start early!Pages :
An "all-nighter" is the least effective way to study for a test. Cramming
for a test is like not eating for two weeks then trying to eat all those
missed meals in one sitting. You can't digest that much food at once.
You can't digest that much information at once either. Schedule several
study sessions before a test. Repetition is the key to remembering.
2. Never miss the class before a test!
The class period before a test is when you'll find out what the test will
be like. Find out as much as possible: - what will it cover? - will it
be objective, essay or both? - how much will each type of question be
worth? - how much time will you have to complete the test?
3. Learning the important information!
Using your class notes and your highlighted textbook, make flash cards
with facts, definitions, people, dates, events, lists, etc. The act of
writing the information on the cards will help you remember it. Each time
you go through the stack of cards, you are transferring the information
from your short term memory into your long term memory. If you are an
auditory learner, study with a partner who can ask you the questions or
give the answers aloud to yourself.
Look for recurring themes in your text and in your notes. Essay questions
will probably come from those themes. Make a list of possible essay questions
and make a brief outline of how you would answer each one.
Don't forget charts, diagrams and captions to pictures in your textbook.
They can contain lots of valuable information.
If your professor has referred to a diagram in the text during his/her
lecture, study it! Use mnemonic (memory) devices for learning lists or
parts of something: for items that do not have to be remembered in any
particular order, take their first letters and see if you can arrange
them into a word or an easily remembered order. (Ex: the first letters
of the Great Lakes spell HOMES) for items that must be learned in order,
make up a sentence using their first letters in order. (Ex: the first
letters of the words in the sentence "My Very Educated Mother Just Served
Us Nine Pizzas" will tell you the planets in order from the sun outward)
if you like music, try setting information to a tune or rhythm Any memory
device that works is okay, and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone
Study with a friend - compare notes, ask each other questions, do flash
cards together, discuss themes that would make good essay questions. Play
the role of your professor. Make up the most difficult objective test
you can and take it until you know the answers. Make visual organizers
- invent charts, diagrams, trees, drawings to help you remember. Study
past quizzes. Test question information tends to show up again and again.
Try to overlearn the material, that is, study until the answers come to
you easily. Remember that repetition is the key to remembering, and this
means starting your test preparation early enough so that many repetitions are possible.
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