With the end of the semester coming up and final exams quickly approaching, TA tutors have some quick advice for getting prepared and tackling those important exams.
On the test day
- Answer what you know first “Maximize efficiency by doing questions in the order that’s easiest for you. If a question or section is taking too long or is just indecipherable, use the time it would take to figure it out solving questions you know how to answer. Make sure you have a good system for marking and don’t forget to come back later to the questions you skipped. “ (Dustin)
- Approach tests with a positive mindset. “Treat the test as a challenge rather than something to fear” (Rei)
- Take time to structure and plan your answer. “Always give yourself time at the beginning to structure your answer. This will not only create a much more logical flow, but it will save you precious seconds as well.” (Subo)
- Be proactive with every question. “Be actively engaged with every question – begin marking, underlining, circling immediately. Parsing out important information allows you to answer questions and identify key ideas much more effectively and efficiently” (Michael)
Preparing for the test
- Test yourself by teaching. “Pretend to teach test content on a whiteboard or blank sheet of paper without looking at any notes. Then, check which concepts you need to review more by seeing which topics felt more difficult to explain.” (Mark)
- Practice. “Knowing the material is almost useless if you can’t answer questions or solve problems using the material. Do plenty of practice problems in order to prepare yourself for an exam” (Riko)
- Use mistakes as learning opportunities. “Don’t dismiss mistakes simply as “careless errors.” Work actively to address the root of the mistake! (eg. If you make sign errors, start circling every negative sign you come across in a problem)” (JD)
- (For Finals) Use previous tests “Look at the formats of previous tests. Was the content primarily textbook based? Lecture based? Notes based? Use this to plan how to allocate your study time” (Bethany)
- Sleep. “Get plenty of sleep before the test, not only the night before but the days leading up as well. Your brain won’t function properly without enough.” (Eriko)
We hope these tips will be the small extra boost to help all the hard work you’ve put in this semester. Good luck!