In this article, we will look at test-taking techniques.
Your goal is to pass the exam the first time. To do that, you want to be confident about the material you learned on the course and just as confident about the simple techniques successful exam-takers use. You also want to be relaxed about the simple practicalities of getting to the exam site, parking, checking in, etc. To begin with, let’s look at revision techniques.
Know Your Subject Matter
Repetition reinforces learning. So does frequency. The end of course exam and the license exam are multiple-choice, so the questions will be about specific topics. Knowing this helps you to reinforce what you have learned.
Record Your Study Goals
- Set goals, write them down, and display them so they are ever-present.
- Begin each study session by repeating your End Goal (e.g. the score you intend to get in the exam.)
- Repeat your Session Goal (e.g. By the end of this session I will have learned/clarified/reinforced/tested myself on X, Y and Z.)
- At the end of the session review what you have achieved and compare it to your goals.
- Decide what your next session’s goal will be.
- If you feel you are falling behind on something, seek help.
- When you achieve your goals congratulate yourself – your subconscious mind will record it and that will help to subconsciously motivate you as you move forward.
If you are not used to goal setting, this may sound strange but tell yourself this simple method was created by Olympic coaches to take athletes from “good” to champion level.
Flashcards or a Flashcard App
A good way to stay on top of it all is to use flashcards. Some people learn better by actually handwriting flashcards and then reading them to make sure the material is locked in.
Another benefit of using this technique is you can spend just a few minutes focusing on a few cards. You may be waiting for someone, taking a break from something else, using public transport, etc. so make best use of your time. It is amazing how much you will burn into your memory a few minutes at a time.
Partner with a Friend
Have a fellow student, family member or friend test you. If a fellow student, take it in turns to ask the questions and give answers. Make appointments with each other, agree how long you will spend on each session, and stick to it. You will cover a lot very quickly. And you will enjoy it.
Lock yourself away while you study. No Facebook, no phone calls, no nothing! If you need a distraction blocker on your computer, get one.
Stay the course. If you decide on 30 minutes, focus for 30 minutes. It is that simple. Systems like Pomodoro may help. The Pomodoro Method lets you work for, say, 25 minutes then you get a 5 minute break. After the fourth session you get a 15 minute break. You decide what works best for you.
Revision reinforces your learning. These techniques will help you to revise efficiently and effectively. In the next article we will discuss how best to prepare for the exam itself. Practicing to pass the exam will make the exam itself just like another successful practice session. In the meantime please feel free to contact us.