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Acing Finals Exams 2005


It’s Not Over ‘til It’s Over!

      Dr. Saundra Y. McGuire
    Center for Academic Success
          B-31 Coates Hall

 2004 National College Learning Center Association
Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award
         Reflection Questions

   Are any of your final grades already
    determined before you take the final exam?

   Why is the final exam so important?

   What study strategies have worked for you?
     Prerequisites for Success
   Mastery of all Concepts
    (not rote memorization!)
   Realistic Study Schedule
   Effective Use of Resources (office
    hours, tutorial room, etc.)
   Managing Anxiety
                                                                    This pyramid depicts the different levels of thinking we use when learning.
                                                                       Notice how each level builds on the foundation that precedes it. It is

                                                                     required that we learn the lower levels before we can effectively use the
                                                                                                   skills above.

                                                                                                                                          Graduate School
Taxonomy                                            Evaluation                       Making decisions and
                                                                                      supporting views;
        Combining information to                                                      understanding of
         form a unique product;                      Synthesis                              values.
         requires creativity and
                                                       Analysis                              determining

                                                                                         arrangement, logic,
  Using information to solve                                                               and semantics.
    problems; transferring
abstract or theoretical ideas
    to practical situations.                        Application
Identifying connections and
 relationships and how they
             apply.                                                                                       Restating in
                                                                                                        your own words;
                                               Comprehension                                             summarizing,

                                                                                                                                          High School
   Memorizing verbatim
information. Being able to
    remember, but not
     necessarily fully
    understanding the
         Louisiana State University  Center for Academic Success  B-31 Coates Hall  225-578-2872 
    So, What Can You Do for Finals?
   Spend enough time reviewing and
    mastering the material
   Aim for 100% mastery
   Use office hours for clarification
   Use the Study Cycle with Intense Study
               The Study Cycle
Phase One:    Read or preview chapters to be covered in
              class… before class (Create chapter maps)

Phase Two:    Go to Class. Listen actively, take notes, participate
              in class
Phase Three: Review and process class notes as soon as
             possible after class
Phase Four:   Incorporate Intense Study Sessions
     Intense Study Sessions
   5 minutes:    Set goals for next 40 min.

   40 minutes:   Read text more selectively/highlight
                  Make doodles/notes in margins
                  Create mnemonics, work examples
                  Create maps

   5 minutes     Review what you have just studied

   10 minutes    Take a break

   Repeat
Get the Most Out of Lecture

   Arrive early
   Actively participate
   Review notes soon after class
   Rethink all examples covered
    in class
Cornell Note Format
      Recall          Notes on Taking Notes,      9/14/98

      Column:              Uses of notes
      Reduce ideas                        identify major points
      and facts to                        identify minor points
      summaries            There are 4 Kinds of Notes:
      and cues for                        Running Text
      reciting,                           Formal Outline
      reviewing and                       Informal Outline
      reflecting                          Cornell Note system
      over here.
       Exam Preparation Stage I
 Before    the Exam

     Use The Study Cycle

     Utilize Intensive Study Sessions

     Frequent Reviews
      Exam Preparation Stage II
1   – 2 Weeks Before the Exam

  PlanFinal Exam Review
  Aim for 100% Mastery!!!
  Construct Practice Exam with Friends
  Locate Exam Room
  Double check time of exam
  Eat Well, Sleep Well, and Exercise
  Visualize Success!
           Survey the Task
              Gather Information from...
        instructor      text     lecture notes
          to answer the following questions:
1. What will the test cover?
2. Is it comprehensive or non-comprehensive?
3. What kinds of questions will be used?
4. How many questions (of each type)?
5. Where/when will the test be given?
6. Will I need any special test materials?
            Schedule Enough Time
   Make a “Master To Do” list
      List specific details (chapters to read, study exercises, etc.)
      How much time do I need to study for each class?

   Create a study schedule
      How much time do I have before the exam?
      Where and what kinds of time-blocks do I have available?
      How will I distribute my study time?

   Create intermediate deadlines
   Schedule time for fun
   Schedule time for consolidation
  Study Schedule - Task Oriented

Monday               Thursday
  French Ch. 6,7       *French Exam at 2
  Johnson article      Math Assignment
  Math assignment      Comm. articles
Tuesday              Friday
 French Ch. 8, 9      Comm. Ch. 10, 11
 Lab assignment            Make weekend
 study     Comm. Ch. 9            schedule
Wednesday             Study Group
 Review/Self-test        Saturday
      Organize The Information
   Prepare charts or summary sheets
   Integrate notes with text information
   Make concept maps
   Predict test questions
   Memorize, create mnemonics
   Aim for 100% mastery!
                 Memorize Thoroughly
   Intend to remember
   Overlearn
   Preview/review frequently
   Learn in as many ways/modalities as possible
    Visually, kinesthetically, by association, organization (e.g. outline or
    map), study group…
   Focus attention – lose the cell phone dependency!
   Schedule time for assimilation
   Learn a variety of ways to trigger memory
   Lecture notes and textbook notes
   Study Sheets and study group notes
   Self-tests
   Flash Cards
   Old exams (retake them!)
Tips for Science and Math Exams
   Develop a list of types of problems
   Develop problem solving protocols
    (steps for solving types of problems
   Develop a practice test with randomly
    arranged problems
   Practice solving problems quickly
     Exam Preparation Stage III

   Day of the Exam
       Calmly rehearse facts, formulas, ideas
       Perform deep breathing to relax
        Use positive self-talk
       Arrive at the exam room a few minutes
        early; not too early!
       Visualize success!
          Exam Preparation Stage IV
   During the Exam
       Perform deep breathing to relax; use positive
       Write down formulas on exam before you begin
       Read the directions VERY carefully; listen for
        additional directions; ask for clarification
       Survey the exam and budget your time
       Share what you know! And you know it all!!!
       Expect memory blocks
       Visualize success!
Tips for Multiple Choice Tests
   Try to answer the question WITHOUT
    looking at the choices
   Look at one option at a time, and treat each
    answer as a true or false question
   Note that the longest choice is often correct
   Make sure the answer is grammatically
   Read all choices before settling on one
   Note answers with “all of the above” etc.
         Tips for True False Tests
   Watch for words such as always, never. These
    are usually false; but not always!
   Watch for words such as seldom and usually.
    These are often true; but not always!
   Use the rest of the test for information
   If in doubt; go with your intuition
   Don’t change an answer unless you’re
    absolutely sure you should!
            Tips for Essay Tests
   Examine the question and organize your
    thoughts before you start to write
   Outline or map your response before you write
   Have a beginning, middle, and end
   If you run out of time, outline the remaining
    questions for partial credit
   Proofread your answers; make sure all are
    grammatically correct!
        Exam Preparation Stage V
   After the Exam Plan
     Leave the area promptly; don’t talk about the
     Let it go!
     Reward yourself for your hard work
     Resume preparation for next examination or
      celebrate that all your exams are over!
     If your final grade is lower than you expected,
      ask to see your final exam at beginning of the
      next term. There may have been a grading
   Use Concept Mapping for
Preparation and for Essay Exams
 Create a Chapter Map
                   Title of Chapter

Primary Headings

                            Secondary Subheadings
                                     (Comments go

                      (Comments go                  (Comments go
                      Here.)                        Here.)

  Cause and Effect:
                  Persuasive Writing

      Viewpoint                             Viewpoint

       Details                                Details
Reasons, Facts, Examples                Reasons, Facts, Examples

     Compare and Contrast
Concept #1                   Concept #2

         How are they similar?

        How are they different?
                              Test Preparation

 Get Organized                    Use Study Techniques          Balance Life

Time    Class
                      Continuous Intense              Concept     Physical
                      Process of Study                Mapping     Spiritual
                      Learning   Sessions                         Emotional
                  1.preview            1.goal                     Social
                  2.Class              2.50 minutes
                  3.Review             3.break
                  4Intense             4.REVIEW
                  Study Session
           Mistakes to Avoid!
   Letting the time “sneak up” on you
   Basing your judgment of knowledge on
    your short term memory
   Letting others derail your study schedule
   Aiming for less than 100% mastery
   Failing to believe in yourself!!!
A Tale of Two More LSU Students

   Amy, junior organic chemistry student
    54, 82, 76, 78

   Michael, senior pre-medical organic student
     30, 28, 80, 91
 If you think you can,
        you will!
If you think you can’t,
      you’re right.

  I KNOW you can!
The Center for Academic Success
       B-31 Coates Hall

      Unlock your excellence!!!
Please write the following:

One study strategy you plan to implement to
increase your mastery of course concepts and/or
study for final exams.

(Copy this for yourself as a constant reminder.)

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