Exams

Coffee for studyingYou Already Know The Questions

No hacking into the Professor’s computer; no seducing the secretary; no late night break-ins. Not for you.

From where you are now to an A is actually going to be pretty easy. You’ve been preparing with this day in mind.

You’ve taken copious notes. You’ve highlighted your textbooks. Best of all –

You wrote the test questions.

All of your information is broken down into carefully defined blocks of information.

Each of those blocks of information are represented by test questions that you wrote on the left side of your notes and in the margins of your textbooks.

You are now going to simply take the test in advance. The test question makes sure that you know each block of material by heart. It gets you thinking like the exam. In fact, it is the exam. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s everything in your notes and your textbooks. You probably already know it all – but if you don’t…

Stop Reviewing What You Already Know

Ever watch a high school kid study for an exam? Actually, in college it is pretty much the same. They look at each page of their class notes and textbooks, then turn to the next, and review the next one – over and over again, often for days.  Actual conversation:

What are you doing?
I’m studying for the exam.
Really. Do you know all of that stuff?
Yep, I think so.
If you know it, then why do you keep looking at it?

Hey, here’s an idea – how about spending your precious remaining time before the exam looking at the stuff you DON’T know!

You probably spend hours upon hours looking at stuff you already know. You do it repeatedly. Why? Because you have never separated the material that you KNOW from the stuff you DON’T KNOW.

The only way you are able to find the stuff you don’t know is to keep paging through the same material until you notice something that you think you don’t know. Then you stop and spend some time on that, and then start looking again. Page after page after page. Then you repeat it again tomorrow. You are constantly looking at pages of material that doesn’t matter. A MONSTROUS WASTE OF TIME AND EFFORT.

Worse yet, you just scan it. You never really PRACTICE it, which is what you need to do for it to really sink in.

What if instead you could focus your complete attention on only the things you DON’T know instead of constantly paging over the things you do know. That’s where the test questions come in.

Remember? You took the time to write those test questions on the left side of your notebook and in your textbooks.

Writing the test questions segmented all of the material into logical blocks. One topic, one test question.

When you are sure you know each question, you simply cross it off. The next time you look down your notebook pages, you can skip right over the material. You know it.

You can stop looking at things you already know and focus all of your attention ONLY on the material that you DON’T know.

Less time. The right stuff. Concentrated. Efficient.

Begin One Week Before

Don’t Wait! You need to start studying at least one week before the exam – better yet, two weeks.

But really, when you think about it, you already have been studying.

You were studying when you carefully took those notes. You were studying when you carefully and thoughtfully underlined the salient points in each paragraph of your textbook.

You were really studying when you looked at the material and thought about how the professor would ask the question about each particular concept.

You were studying when you wrote out the specific test question.

You really are almost there.

Do A Complete Review

You may be eager to start your self test, but slow down.

The first thing you need to do is a complete review of your materials – the class notes and your textbooks.

You’ve covered a lot of ground. Time to go back and take a high level view of everything that is going to be covered on the exam. Do you remember it all? Do you recognize all of the concepts? Miss anything? Any more clarification needed? Do you need a quick trip to see the Professor? Take some time to review, refresh and confirm.

Don’t worry, it won’t take long. The beauty of the work you have done so far is that you can speed through your review.

Now it’s time to self test.

Read The Questions, Say The Answers

No multiple choice crutches for you. You are going to know it all – by heart.

Now start looking at those test questions.

You’ll cover the right side of your notebook with a piece of notebook paper. No peeking.

Scan down the left side and slowly and carefully read the next test question that is not marked off. Now say the answer as a complete sentence. Remember, no shortcuts here. I want you to say the answer as if you were explaining this to someone who doesn’t have any idea what the question is.

Why? Who knows. It just worked for me. Maybe I was just stupid. I had to really think about things and say it out loud to make sure I got you. But really, it makes sense. Slow it down, think about it, say it, and you’ll learn it.

The only problem is that everyone will see you talking to yourself. They’ll think you’re crazy. Let ’em. You’ll get an A.

Cross Off The Questions

When you know the answer to each question, then cross it off. Just a simple thin line diagonally through it. As you scan down the left side of your notes, you can skip over all of those questions that you crossed off. You won’t waste any time continually looking at stuff that you already know.

You can now focus ONLY on what you don’t know. Isn’t that where your time should be spent?

When all of the questions are crossed off, you just took the test – and guess what – you just got an A.

Final Review

The night before your exam, all you need to do is take a quick glance down the test questions and review the few remaining difficult concepts. Then call it a night. You won’t need to cram. You’ll be ready for exams way ahead of time. I don’t remember ever studying for any exam past 8:30 p.m. My goal was to be completely confident that I knew everything days before.

My ritual the night before an exam? I went to the bar. (The drinking age was 19 then). I didn’t even think about school. At night I would always notice all of the lights on under the doors. Everyone was up cramming, probably on the wrong things, and not really learning it anyway. Crazy. Inefficient. Ineffective.

YOU WILL get A’s. You’ll do it easier than ever before.

NOW Go Have Fun!