How should you prepare for exams?

About six years ago, when I just first came to Ryerson, I observed one thing: too many Ryerson students were interested in only marks, not in knowledge and problem-solving skills.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see this has been changed much.  This has made me very uneasy whenever I stop to think of you folks’ future career.

I still wish to give you the last pitch on how to learn during the final exam period.  Raised in China where graders have learned to manage five or six exams in two or three consecutive days, I had a very simple trick for exam preparation.  I already shared this trick to a student coming to my office today.  That is, ……………… LYING ON YOUR BED!!!

I knew—-many of you are busy with preparing your cheat sheet.  For those, I would say, poor you!

Lying on your bed, ask yourself what have you learned and what you think you should have learned or you are expected to know.  For the last question, read the course outline again.  I bet many of you never know the importance of the course outline.  sigh…….!

If you understand the calendar description of the course, you already know the forest.  Now you need to walk through the 12 lectures, in your mind, one by one.  What are the key concepts, methods, techniques, …. Those are the big trunks you should know. Try your best to forget the details (the bushes and grasses).  The details lead you nowhere.

After this mind exercise, you will have known what you have known and what you need to read/practice a bit more.  Then you get up and study or ask.  If you would be able to do this lie-down-get-up exercise three times, you will excel, not only in the exam, but also in any jobs in future.

Of course, this method will apply for those who have regularly attended my lectures.  For those infrequent attender, I am sorry I cannot really help, although I wish I could.

Stay put and cool!

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