J&J: Why Are My Test Scores So Low?

J&J are Touro California Director of Academic Support Dr. Jill Alban, Ed.D. and Learning Specialist Jennifer Pimentel, MAEd.  

Dear J&J,

I spend 12 to 14 hours a day studying and no matter how many times I watch the lectures on media-site, review the objectives, and read and highlight the text I always seem to get 70 percent on the block exams.

—Distressed on Mare Island

Dear Distressed, 

Rereading the text and highlighting the main points are very inefficient study techniques. A more efficient use of your time is to posit questions while you are reading. Instead of highlighting, ask yourself: Why is this important? What is it I want to remember?  

learning technique utility graphic

This chart shows the utility of different learning strategies. Highlighting, rereading and mnemonics are not the most efficient ways to commit facts to memory.

Dear J&J,

I have found that no matter what I do — whether I go to lectures or watch the lectures on media-site — I still score in the mid-80’s on block exams. Do you have any suggestions?

— Trying Hard to Get Ahead.

Dear Trying Hard, 

Consider previewing the slides before either watching media-site or attending lectures. Spend ten minutes per lecture familiarizing yourself with the key concepts and vocabulary. After the lecture, spend one hour per lecture, reviewing. You can use Quizlet to make flashcards of the key points that you want to remember.purple logo

To submit a question related to student success, write it in a comment on this page.


 Jill Alban is the Director of Academic Support at Touro UniversiAlbanJillty California. She earned her Doctorate in Education and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She enjoys the challenge of helping students develop study strategies and improve their grades. On the weekend you can find her romping with her husband and Rose, her labradoodle, in Tilden Park or swimming laps at the Berkeley City Club. She is training to swim the Bosporus. Her dream is to swim from Europe to Asia. She can be reached at jill.alban@tu.edu


NEWPimentelJennifer-StudentServices-StaffJennifer Pimentel is the Learning Specialist for Touro University California. She obtained her Masters in Arts in Education from Touro University, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis. She believes that students are their own keys to success and that with some helpful tools and encouragement, one can go a lot further than they originally thought possible. She is a new mom to an adorable little girl who has already taught her that reaching for the stars isn’t as impossible as it may seem. Stop by for an appointment, or simply to just say hi! She can be reached jennifer.pimentel@tu.edu

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