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How to Prepare Students for Exams

by  Jones & Bartlett Learning     Oct 14, 2021
95012082_hubspot_600w250h

It seems as if the academic year has just started, but mid-term and final exams are right around the corner. Pandemic-related disruptions over the last two years mean many students are still struggling to get back on track. The following tips for teachers are actionable steps educators can take to prepare students to take their exams with confidence.

 

Encourage Students to Start Reviewing Earlier

As the old saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.” This adage can apply to preparing students for tests as well. In the weeks before exams, start reviewing concepts taught earlier in the semester.

  • Hold a brief review session at the beginning of each class before jumping into the main lesson
  • Hand out a problem to solve at the end of class
  • Offer helpful tips for studying topics that will be emphasized most in exams
  • Give students time to ask questions that could help them during their independent study sessions


Utilize ‘Chunking’ Strategies

“Chunking” is a traditional strategy but still works in the digital age and can go hand-in-hand with starting study earlier than later. Many students often leave studying up until the last minute and enter late-night cram sessions. Not only are they exhausted from burning the midnight oil, but by cramming, they probably aren’t retaining the information they’re trying to remember. Professors can help students by grouping pieces of information together into larger units.

  • Chunk foundational concepts and definitions
  • Utilize engaging activities to reinforce foundational concepts
  • Add in more complex concepts once the first segment is mastered
  • Space out time between each complex concept introduction
  • Inject lessons and engaging activities to gauge if students are retaining overall lessons
  • Use short videos to help break up the learning routine

 

Give Practice Quizzes

Handing out practice quizzes to students in the timeframe leading up to a major exam can help them do better when it’s time for the real thing. They’ll learn through the repetitiveness of taking an exam, along with getting acquainted with the test layout. This familiarity can ease their worry, and it’s more likely they’ll enter the final exam feeling more confident.

 

Have Students’ Teach One Another

According to a 2018 study, one of the best ways for students to test themselves is to teach concepts to another person. Professors can aid in preparing students for exams by establishing student-led groups to teach (review) key concepts to their peers.

Students who explain concepts they learned to fellow students may retain information better than they would through traditional study routines. Not only will the “students” of the peer-led group benefit from being re-taught concepts, but the teaching students can also rediscover information, strengthening everyone’s knowledge. This hands-on activity is one that can help both students stay focused and engaged.

 

Put Your Textbook to Work

If you use a Jones & Bartlett Learning textbook, you can take advantage of the expert pedagogy, robust instructor tools, and comprehensive student resources to centralize all of the tips above from one source of truth. Jones & Bartlett Learning textbooks offer:

  • Careful content organization to encourage learning and promote comprehension
  • Boxes, highlights, and margin notes that call out important information
  • Learning objectives, key terms, critical thinking, and review questions that bookend each chapter
  • Weblinks with youtube videos or podcasts for visual or auditory reinforcement
  • Complimentary instructor resources with an instructor’s guide, test bank, an image bank, practice exercises, and more
  • Navigate, a digital solution that brings together authoritative and interactive content aligned to course objectives

Talk to your local Account Representative today about how a Jones & Bartlett Learning textbook can help you improve course outcomes.

 

Offer Students Self-Help Tips

Educators can only do so much, even when they’ve integrated the best teaching tips and tools into their curriculum. Students need to learn how to help themselves. However, professors can help guide them towards good habits that will help them experience productive study sessions. For instance, encourage students to:

  • Exercise before they study – it’s a good stress reliever and gives them a natural boost of energy – a far better strategy than drinking coffee or energy drinks to stay awake
  • Turn off their phones, or at least silence social media notifications while studying.
  • Drink plenty of water every day
  • Set up playlists conducive to studying – students who might be distracted by music may prefer gentle natural sounds as a background

Instructors can also suggest students organize study groups and remind them of the importance of taking short breaks during study sessions. A good stretch or few minutes of shuteye can help them clear their minds before moving on to the next study segment.

The pandemic has unfortunately had a significant impact on both professors and students. A December 2020 survey suggested a whopping 85.4% of college students felt the pandemic conditions “negatively affected my performance.” Many others decided to take a gap year. Getting back to normal, or at least a “new normal,” isn’t going to be easy for anyone.

Moving forward, if educators find ways to think outside of the proverbial box, this can help boost student success and simultaneously take the stress off themselves. No instructor wants to experience seeing any of their students fail. However, by coming up with innovative ways to help them succeed, including integrating technology to take the stress off themselves, professors can turn the tide and watch their students thrive once again.

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How to Prepare Students for Exams

by  Jones & Bartlett Learning     Oct 14, 2021
95012082_hubspot_600w250h

It seems as if the academic year has just started, but mid-term and final exams are right around the corner. Pandemic-related disruptions over the last two years mean many students are still struggling to get back on track. The following tips for teachers are actionable steps educators can take to prepare students to take their exams with confidence.

 

Encourage Students to Start Reviewing Earlier

As the old saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.” This adage can apply to preparing students for tests as well. In the weeks before exams, start reviewing concepts taught earlier in the semester.

  • Hold a brief review session at the beginning of each class before jumping into the main lesson
  • Hand out a problem to solve at the end of class
  • Offer helpful tips for studying topics that will be emphasized most in exams
  • Give students time to ask questions that could help them during their independent study sessions


Utilize ‘Chunking’ Strategies

“Chunking” is a traditional strategy but still works in the digital age and can go hand-in-hand with starting study earlier than later. Many students often leave studying up until the last minute and enter late-night cram sessions. Not only are they exhausted from burning the midnight oil, but by cramming, they probably aren’t retaining the information they’re trying to remember. Professors can help students by grouping pieces of information together into larger units.

  • Chunk foundational concepts and definitions
  • Utilize engaging activities to reinforce foundational concepts
  • Add in more complex concepts once the first segment is mastered
  • Space out time between each complex concept introduction
  • Inject lessons and engaging activities to gauge if students are retaining overall lessons
  • Use short videos to help break up the learning routine

 

Give Practice Quizzes

Handing out practice quizzes to students in the timeframe leading up to a major exam can help them do better when it’s time for the real thing. They’ll learn through the repetitiveness of taking an exam, along with getting acquainted with the test layout. This familiarity can ease their worry, and it’s more likely they’ll enter the final exam feeling more confident.

 

Have Students’ Teach One Another

According to a 2018 study, one of the best ways for students to test themselves is to teach concepts to another person. Professors can aid in preparing students for exams by establishing student-led groups to teach (review) key concepts to their peers.

Students who explain concepts they learned to fellow students may retain information better than they would through traditional study routines. Not only will the “students” of the peer-led group benefit from being re-taught concepts, but the teaching students can also rediscover information, strengthening everyone’s knowledge. This hands-on activity is one that can help both students stay focused and engaged.

 

Put Your Textbook to Work

If you use a Jones & Bartlett Learning textbook, you can take advantage of the expert pedagogy, robust instructor tools, and comprehensive student resources to centralize all of the tips above from one source of truth. Jones & Bartlett Learning textbooks offer:

  • Careful content organization to encourage learning and promote comprehension
  • Boxes, highlights, and margin notes that call out important information
  • Learning objectives, key terms, critical thinking, and review questions that bookend each chapter
  • Weblinks with youtube videos or podcasts for visual or auditory reinforcement
  • Complimentary instructor resources with an instructor’s guide, test bank, an image bank, practice exercises, and more
  • Navigate, a digital solution that brings together authoritative and interactive content aligned to course objectives

Talk to your local Account Representative today about how a Jones & Bartlett Learning textbook can help you improve course outcomes.

 

Offer Students Self-Help Tips

Educators can only do so much, even when they’ve integrated the best teaching tips and tools into their curriculum. Students need to learn how to help themselves. However, professors can help guide them towards good habits that will help them experience productive study sessions. For instance, encourage students to:

  • Exercise before they study – it’s a good stress reliever and gives them a natural boost of energy – a far better strategy than drinking coffee or energy drinks to stay awake
  • Turn off their phones, or at least silence social media notifications while studying.
  • Drink plenty of water every day
  • Set up playlists conducive to studying – students who might be distracted by music may prefer gentle natural sounds as a background

Instructors can also suggest students organize study groups and remind them of the importance of taking short breaks during study sessions. A good stretch or few minutes of shuteye can help them clear their minds before moving on to the next study segment.

The pandemic has unfortunately had a significant impact on both professors and students. A December 2020 survey suggested a whopping 85.4% of college students felt the pandemic conditions “negatively affected my performance.” Many others decided to take a gap year. Getting back to normal, or at least a “new normal,” isn’t going to be easy for anyone.

Moving forward, if educators find ways to think outside of the proverbial box, this can help boost student success and simultaneously take the stress off themselves. No instructor wants to experience seeing any of their students fail. However, by coming up with innovative ways to help them succeed, including integrating technology to take the stress off themselves, professors can turn the tide and watch their students thrive once again.

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