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cancergirl

not understanding exam questions

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so, I'm a first year biomedical student and one of my core classes is not going well. We have about 20 lectures for each exam which is every 3.5 weeks. THATS A LOT FOR ME. Some of the lectures are straightforward to my understanding but when the exam comes, I get so lost in how to answer them. I feel like some of the professors make the questions extra hard. The questions seem so hypothetical that I cant correlate them to the lectures. Any help on how to study better and take on the exams better?

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Have you sat down with your professors and the exams you've already taken and walked through them together? Have you asked for help regarding how you should have thought the questions through to get to the answers they were expecting? Have you asked them for advice on how to prepare for the exams? Are there practice questions anywhere out there that you could use? Your professors and TAs are going to be your best resource for getting advice that's specific to your needs. Another good source for help is more advanced students who have already gone through these courses. Generally speaking, there might be ways of "reverse engineering" the questions that your professors formulate, so you can have a better sense of what to expect. Question-writing is a skill that not everyone excels at, but everyone does it in one way or another, so they must have some algorithm or ways of going about doing it. Maybe that's something you can learn to figure out as part of the process of preparing for the exams. 

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26 minutes ago, cancergirl said:

Any help on how to study better and take on the exams better?

IRT practice questions. See if a school library has your professors' previous exams on file--especially if those exams were for undergraduate classes. Ideally, you will have exam questions for the next topic in hand when it's time to study that topic. As you work through the materials, yourself if the questions are designed to stump the band or if they're actually softballs/prompts that are letting you show what you know? (Some of the questions I encountered during my qualifying exams appeared both cryptic and from left field. It wasn't until later that I realized the extent to which I was being set up to do well.) As an alternative, get articles written by your professors. It may well be that they're asking questions the way they ask themselves.

Also, see if you can get an eye examination and/or a test for vision-related learning disabilities. 

IRT asking more experienced hands (TAs and students further along the path). Phrase your questions and comments appropriately: make it clear that you are clearly asking for help so you can answer the questions, you are not asking for the answers.

Also (and finally)...take another look at your study habits. As you encounter new materials, do you ask yourself questions that test your retention of the information or do you ask yourself question that test your application of knowledge?

  • Retention: Studies 1, 2, and 3 suggest that A, B, C, and D may cause cancer.
  • Application: Is it really A, B, C, and D, or might it be D, B, A, and C?

 

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