02 May 2009

How can I do better on the Final Exam?

Since this has been a frequent question this Spring, I plan to add this to my FAQ list.

Q. How can I do better on the next exam?

A. Study your old tests. Why did you miss the questions you missed? What can you do to keep it from happening a third time? Was it from lectures you didn't understand? Come to office hours so we can talk about the tougher lectures. Was it on last minute changes on multiple choice questions? Maybe you should plan on spending an extra 15 minutes reviewing the MC questions at then end of the Final to prevent mistakes there. Was it material from the book? Was it a cluster of topics?

How are you doing on the in-class quizzes? Is the material familiar when I ask it? I would encourage you to prepare for the quizzes instead of waiting until the next exam. Try to know the material well enough that you can answer nearly every quiz question, even if you aren't called on.

I would certainly encourage you to find a study partner. That should be someone you could meet with, maybe over lunch, every week and talk through the most recent lectures. Each week you could try to write quiz questions for each other and see if you understand the recent material. You could also swap papers with them and help read each others work before you turn it in. A second pair of eyes goes a long ways.

Every student is different, so different techniques work. But there isn't anything special about the content of this class, so working on this should help you with many other classes you are going to take in college.

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