Today’s study technique is to help your teen make their 'semester study' more effective in preparing for exams and other forms of assessment.
It will help your teen stay on track during semester as they focus on how what they’re learning in school will be assessed.
This technique is something that I’ve only started applying regularly this year, but I so wish someone had told me about it years ago!
Luckily your teen doesn’t have to wait until the end of university to put this technique to use!
How it works
The idea of this study technique is to frame your revision around the types of questions the exam (or other assessment) is going to ask you.
I think the best way to explain this is to use an example...
If your teen is studying Biology, let’s say specifically mitosis and meiosis. They know that they will be assessed on both of these in the exam.
It would be tempting to simply learn the steps of each process separately.
That’s absolutely fine, and would probably see your teen get a decent grade. But if I wanted to absolutely ace the exam, whilst studying I would ask myself – ‘how is this topic going to be assessed?’
A classic Biology exam question is, ‘Compare and contrast the cellular division processes of mitosis and meiosis’.
If your teen had simply studied the steps of mitosis and meiosis individually they’ll probably answer this question adequately, but they’ll nail it if while they study, they also focus on the similarities and differences between the two.
It could be as simple as making two columns for each process and using one colour pen to list the similarities and another colour to list the differences.
In a way there’s nothing that different about what ends up in your teen’s study notes, but by using this study technique, your teen will have incorporated practising answering assessment questions whilst they study.
Your teen will have pre-empted the assessment questions. They will have already thought about what the assessment will test them on.
How this technique can turn C’s into A’s
This study technique could be the ‘ah-ha’ moment your teen is looking for.
For all those students that actually do put in the study hours but don’t get the grades they were hoping for, making this relatively simple change in their study process should enhance their ability to convey to examiners that they understand the ‘issue’ that’s embedded in the question.
To get those top grades, examiners are often looking for that little bit extra – that in depth understanding – something that separates your teen’s answer from the rest of the pack.
Obviously your teen cannot predict the exact questions that are going to come up in assessment, but they should be able to making a fairly good guess at the types of questions that are likely to come up, like my mitosis/meiosis compare and contrast example.
There is no point in your teen spending hours studying something in such a way that’s not going to help them answer an assessment question.
After all, your teen is never going to get an exam question that says ‘Write down everything you studied about this topic’.
It is essential to their academic success that they study in such a way that connects what they’re studying to the assessment, and this simple study technique can help your teen do exactly that very simply and easily.