J&J: What Is the Best Way to Prepare for a Test?
J&J are Touro California Director of Academic Support Dr. Jill Alban, Ed.D. and Learning Specialist Jennifer Pimentel, MAEd.
Thank you for starting up an efficient learning blog for TUC students! I am an M.S. student who just got accepted into the College of Pharmacy
class of 2020. As an entering pharmacy student, I am a very nervous and anxious about how to study. I was advised by my principal investigator to meet with you to go over learning techniques. I wanted to know what techniques I should use to improve my test-taking strategies.
— Circumventing test anxiety
The best way to prepare for exams is by anticipating what will be on the exam and testing yourself. Use practice exams and questions from study aids to help guide your studying. Don’t save your questions for the night before the exam. Use the questions to show you where you need to read/watch more. Look at both the right and the wrong answers for clues about what is important to study. Believe it or not we learn more by making mistakes. [To see a ranking of the efficiency of different study techniques, click here].
Dear J & J,
I’m passing but am still one standard deviation below the mean. I think that as long as I’m passing my student promotion committee should not be concerned about me. However, I’ve been warned that if my grades don’t improve, it’s unlikely that I’ll pass COMLEX 1. I admit, I don’t spend enough time studying. I’m often distracted, but I’m a really good test taker and think that my high scores on the boards will prove to the SPC that I am an exceptional student.
— Barely Passing
Dear Barely Passing,
Outstanding doctors are conscientious, disciplined and thorough. It’s time to practice these attributes. In order to remain in good standing at Touro you need to develop a rigorous study schedule. The Pomodoro Technique will help you stay on task and concentrate without distractions. Set your timer for 25-minute segments. Put your cell phone away and set your computer to Cold Turkey or Stay Focused. Make an appointment to meet with us and we can help you better develop your study skills. [For more on procrastination, click here].
Dear J & J,
What is metacognition?
Metacognition is the capacity to think about our thinking. It is the ability to recognize what we know and what we do not know. The idea behind using metacognition to think about our thinking is that students who fail often do not know their own weaknesses. When reviewing material it’s easy to look at flashcards and say, “I know this. I know this,” only to discover that when presented with the same material on exams, you cannot recall the answer. The key is to recognize when you are confused. Self-testing, asking yourself why this concept is important is one of the key study strategies. (For more on metacognition, click here.)
To submit a question related to student success, write it in a comment on this page, or email us directly.
Jill Alban is the Director of Academic Support at Touro University 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer 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 email@example.com
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