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The aim of this module is to help you succeed in the world of formal testing. For most university students, taking a test or exam is not a sought-after event. Being assessed under strict time constraints while sitting with hundreds of your closest personal friends is awkward at best and frightening at worst. It is true that some anxiety can motivate and keep you focused; however, excessive and unmanageable "test anxiety" can cause poor performance. Some students "blank out" or freeze during a test. Others try to avoid the test by not showing up at all or writing as quickly and minimally as possible in order to escape the testing environment.
Formal testing is by no means the best mode of assessment. However, tests and exams are deeply embedded in the university academic culture and will continue to be part of student life into the future. So, if you can't beat them, why not learn to live with them!
Remove misconceptions & take their power away
Don't exaggerate the pressure on yourself
Tests are not a matter of life and death. Even a low score on an important test is not the end of the world. It usually means only a delay.
Learn test taking strategies
That's what this module is all about, so read on!
Source: Ellis, D. (2000). Becoming a Master Student. Canadian 3rd edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 167.
Before you start to crack the books, it is advisable to spend some time doing a self-assessment of:
My Mind and Body
|What are my goals for this exam and how do they fit into my overall goals for the course?||What kind of student am I? e.g. need a long time to review; like to cram; prefers studying in a group/alone...||How is my attitude right now? In general? Specific to this course/exam?||Do I have all the necessary information and resources to succeed?|
|What is my ‘entrance' mark going into this exam? How much more do I need to meet my goal?||Do I know how to study? i.e. do I have good study skills and strategies?||How motivated do I feel right now?
Will procrastination pose a problem?
|Do I have the help I need to succeed? e.g. study group, T.A./prof, family/friends, learning strategist|
|When should I start studying? Do any courses take priority?||What exam types are easier/harder for me e.g. multiple choice, short/long answer? Do I need to learn new skills to manage the test format?||Can I handle any test anxiety that might occur?||Do I have a quiet study space?|
|Do I have the necessary time management skills to plan and organize an exam study schedule?||How is my concentration right now? Do I have strategies to help me keep focused? Am I physically prepared to handle the added stress?||Are my friends encouraging me to do my best?|
Now that you are more aware of yourself as a test-taker, it's time to consider strategies to help you do your best on tests and exams. The strategies are grouped around 3 time frames:
ALSO -- Nurturing Your Mind and Body