Author: Michael Decaire
I have worked with many College and University students who have struggled to show their full abilities on final exams. They believe they simply need to study harder or earlier, but attempts to do so are met with limited success.
In my experience we see four common problems that are contributing to poor performance on final examinations:
(1) Not studying in an organized fashion. Our memory is like a filing cabinet. It relies on good categorization or "labels" in order to properly store and access information. File it incorrectly and it will not be accessible on an examination.
(2) Not doing enough rehearsal. There is a lot going on inside our brains. Neuro-pathways connect information and create a complex set of forks in the road that may not be easy to navigate. Rehearsal increases the likelihood the right pathway is taken and the speed at which one can traverse it goes up.
(3) Taking the test wrong. I have seen students use every strategy in the book while studying only to abandon their strategic approaches once in the exam. What part of the test do you do first? Most students start with multiple-choice. That's a mistake. This increases the amount of less-than-usefull information active in your short term storage and will only lead to confusion once you get to the more focused work (e.g. short answers or essay). Leave multiple-choice for the end.
(4) Poor sleep hygiene. If you are not getting enough sleep your memory becomes compromised, your attention span drops, and you are more sluggish. Too bad you are now about to go into a memory test where you need to be focused and work really really quickly. Go take a nap.
The FLEX team offers workshops to boost academic performance. Our College/University exam workshop runs November 9th at 6pm. Only $40! Click here to learn more.
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