Much of this information was originally published on January 12, 2011 here.
All of the exam material comes from the text, and while some of it may be covered in the supplemental materials, you cannot pass the exams without reading and studying the text. Because that is so important, today’s topic is how to read the text.
Step One: PreRead
Preview the material. Look at each chapter carefully. What does it cover? Skim each chapter by reading the introductory page, the subtitles, and the summary. Ask yourself what you already know about the topics covered.
Step Two: Read
Read the text, but only read it a section at a time, focusing on what is under one subtitle at a time. Using the subtitle as a guide, read a single passage and then, ask yourself, “what should I know about this topic from these paragraphs?” Write the answer down (either in the margins of the book or in your notes). Repeat this step until the reading is complete.
Step Three: Review
One you have completed the reading, you should review your notes. The easiest way to do this is to copy them over. If you have written notes in the margins of your text, get out some paper or open a word processing document, and copy your notes over, organizing them as you go (and jotting down questions if you have them). Use the subtitles from the text to keep you organized. Use bullets or complete sentences. Keep notes organized. Reread the chapter introductions and summaries to make sure that you have covered all of the material. Email your professor to discuss any remaining questions you have about the material.
Step Four: Supplement
After you have read the text, watch the supplemental PowerPoint (PPT) video lectures and visit any supplemental links. Keep your notes in front of you as you listen / read the supplemental material. Add to your notes (using a different color ink if possible—so that it stands out) any material that adds to your notes without distracting you from the main points (stay focused on the subtitles from the chapters).
Step Five: Practice
Take the practice exams. For each chapter, a practice test is available. You can take that practice test over and over. Each time you take it, new questions are available. If you miss a question, write down the question and the correct answer. Review the ones you missed before you take the “real” exam. The questions on the exam come straight from the practice tests!
Follow these steps to success!
Additional Post on Taking Exams (with some tips for Unit I’s Exam):