Friday, June 29, 2012

Taking Tests

All types of tests whether they are standardized, multiple choice assessment or performance assessments, are part of academic life.  Assessments are designed and used to monitor the university educational system for public accountability, evaluate instructional practices and teaching effectiveness, measure students’ achievement toward meeting standards and mastering skills.  Believe it or not, all students, lecturers and school administrators benefit from tests.  If administered and interpreted properly, tests gauge how well students are learning the skills and information their teachers have been teaching them.
Pannasastra University Students took English test
Many students fail their exams regularly because of many reasons such inadequate preparation, inappropriate study habits, poor planning, lack of motivation, laziness, anxiety, etc...    Here are some helpful hints to help those students improve their performance by understanding the two basic components in taking tests: the test itself (how difficult it is, how long, how fair, etc.), and you, as a student being tested (how much you’ve studied, how much you’ve prepared, how carefully you take the test, how ready you are, etc.…). The score you get represents a balance between these two variables.  The test might be hard, but if you're fully prepared, you'll do well. On the other hand, the test might be easy, but if you haven't kept up, it won't make much difference.  

In every academic course, the goal of the university lecturers is to facilitate your studying and provide the best context and methods for successful learning. In spite of this, not every one does well; some students simply decide not to study very frequently, and their performance shows it. Most of the instructors will do all they can to facilitate your learning, including designing the tests appropriately and carefully so that they reflect the study materials they have covered. The rest is up to the student. While the exams are fair, most of the time they are not easy, they require careful study and review throughout the course.  Here are four helpful advices to help students achieve a better result for their exams:
1.   Keep up with the course: this will mean doing the readings regularly, consistently and thoroughly, attending class all the time, and writing about the material learned in class. Of course, there is no guarantee that being a good learner will yield a high performance; always there are a few people who say, "I wrote my heart out, came to class every day, and studied constantly, and still I got a C on the test." Like it or not, there's more to doing well than just doing those things. Achievement means finding the most productive ways to learn the material, and that will depend in part on your own style and intellectual ability as a learner.
2.   Prepare for the exam: you'll want to review several sources of information: your class notes, the textbook/readings, your notebook responses, or information shared in a study group. Consider doing some of the followings: ask yourself questions as if you were an examiner, then try answering them. If you have trouble, you'll know where to go for clarification. 
Review your notes with an eye to comprehension, not just memorization. If you find yourself recognizing concepts immediately, that may feel great, but don't dwell on them too long; go on to those that make you feel less comfortable. 
Work in pairs or teams; find other people in the class and work through your review together. 
Make a list of everything you just can't seem to figure out; then you'll know where your weak areas are.  Ask about these.  As you work through them, keep crossing our your problem areas until you've eliminated most of what confuses you.
3.   Take the exam carefully: Half the battle is studying; the other is using what you've learned to help you take the test.  You might have studied very hard, but if you don't use good test-taking strategies, you may not do as well as you could.
4.   Review your exam when you get it back.  Be sure to go over your test, even if you did well, to keep using it as a learning tool.  You can never hurt to rethink questions.
Pannasastra University students took English test
Finally, students must remember those academic tests, exams, grades, and all the other difficult parts of learning are there by necessity to measure knowledge and determine students’ mastering of skills.  All tests of all sorts are part of the educational and academic system. They're not part of a conspiracy to hold the learners back. Without the student’s success, what good is the university lecturers’ instruction?  The bottom line is the students must also get involved in the learning process and take charge of their own learning.   Study hard and smart, stay interested and motivated (school is good for you), and please don't hesitate to consult the instructor about anything that concerns you.  Successful learning and passing the exams require strong commitment and a “can do” attitude.