How easy would a test or exam be if you already knew the questions? Yes I know it would be even easier if you knew the answers but if you know the questions you should know the answers shouldn’t you?
A really effective way to prepare for your tests and exams is to become a test psychic and start predicting (with great accuracy) what the questions will be! A simple enough idea – but you’re probably thinking it would be pretty hard to execute right? Well, the answer is actually yes and no. Let’s take a look at the strategy of test question prediction.
Part 1 – Zero In on the Right Data
What do you believe is going to be on the test? There’s no point focusing on “everything” because it will take too long to review it all. Try the process of elimination (and inclusion). Are there things that you have learnt that clearly would not be on the test or exam? Are there things you have learnt that obviously would be on the exam?
Next, simply ask yourself where the questions are going to be coming from. The following is a list of obvious sources for any test or exam:
1. Obviously, the textbook you use will be a great source of information. However, take note of those chapters you just quickly go through (or ignore altogether) and those chapters that you seem to be spending a lot of time on. Hint!
2. If the teacher is providing you with worksheets and homework tasks there is a reason for this. Often these will be used to create questions that aren’t covered in the text book.
3. Class time is spent only on the most important and relevant topics. Full stop. Exclamation point! Teachers do not spend time on topics that won’t be covered on your assessments so take note of those chapters or areas that are most focused on during class time – and ditch the rest!
Part 2 – Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer
Making friends with the teacher is one your biggest weapons – if executed correctly. Teachers will always reward those who try hard and give their best effort – and also those who are respectful towards them. It is human nature – and teachers are humans remember! (We think)
1. Go straight to the best source of all – the teacher. See if you can find out what material is going to be covered on the test by asking the teacher leading questions about what you are studying. “I am focusing on Chapter 12 – that’s a really important chapter isn’t it?” See what you can find out (no need to be sneaky you’re just doing an investigation here). This should help you narrow the field of potential questions.
2. Ask the teacher what format the questions will be in. True/false? Multiple choice? Short answer? Long answer essay style? Combination mix up? Obviously, the way in which a test is structured will impact on the way you study for it and what you need to have down pat. If it’s long answer, you need to be ready to write like a maniac. If you know its multiple choice you need to know lots of stacks of facts. Simple really!
3. Get hold of past tests or exams. These are usually invaluable resources – not simply because they show you how hard or easy past tests may have been – but also because they show you the format and structure that have been used in the past and what areas the teachers have focused on. Bonus tip: you don’t always need to fall into the trap of going through each question on past test papers, just use them as a guide because it’s extremely unlikely the questions on your test will be the same as past tests.
Part 3 – Your Review Habits
1. Create a workbook (or staple a few blank sheets together) that is used solely for noting likely test and exam questions. You will often come across topics and questions in class that will make you think to yourself, “that is definitely going to be on the test” and you need somewhere specific to write it down so you can find it easily later. This way, when you look at the workbook later it will help jog your memory.
2. Skim through your texts and underline or highlight the information you believe is the most important to the subject. Ignore anything you do not believe to be important. By doing this, you will have already chosen and highlighted the most important bits to re-read or re-examine later.
3. Get a group of “class geniuses” together and create a study group. Generally, it’s best to avoid having your friends in your study group because you won’t focus very well and will probably spend the whole time mucking around. If you all contribute to the group and use your time wisely a study group will really assist you. Why? Well study groups allow you to leverage of each other’s notes and ideas. You know what they say – two heads are better than one!
If you put any or all of these techniques into place you will become a test psychic and be able to predict with great accuracy what is going to be covered on the next test or exam. Don’t delay – do it today!
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