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A Proven Test Taking Tip

There’s nothing worse than taking a test and watching as one of your classmate’s hands in a completed exam within the first twenty minutes and then walks out the door without a care in the world. From my experience, the entire class sighs in frustration and full panic sets in as you realize that you’ve only completed ten questions out of 100.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re assuming that the speedy test taker studied so hard the correct answers flew off the page and landed directly onto the answer sheet.

Just so you know, periodically I jot down the time students finish exams and then I analyze test scores based on those times. The speedy test taker? They typically finish last when it comes to grades, and here’s why. The speedy student didn’t actually study. It only takes a few minutes to randomly circle anything and I think you’d be surprised to find out that some students hand in blank blue books. Literally, not a single word! You know how long it takes to write nothing but your name? About a second.

Here’s my test taking advice. Don’t flip out when students are finishing ahead of you. You’re wasting valuable time worrying about others while losing your focus. Pace yourself and keep your head down. When a fellow student leaves suspiciously early, give yourself one second to chuckle because you now know the tail end of the Bell curve has just been accounted for.

Good luck on finals and slow it down!

test taking tips

Taking a Test – Slow Down!

Smarter Than I Thought by Stephanie Witt

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WELCOME GUEST BLOGGER – STEPHANIE WITT, and her inspiring story about returning to school.

 

Going to college at eighteen years old may seem like the most exciting but scariest thing ever…returning to college ten years later is even more scary but equally as exciting!

At eighteen, I knew EVERYTHING, except what I wanted to do in life and how to help myself succeed.  I attended college away from home and got a true college experience: fun, friends, and some learning.  After mistakes, some bad choices, a few corporate jobs, and ten years, I have returned to college as a full time student.  I know now at twenty-eight that I don’t know a thing, except for what I want to do in my life and what makes me happy.  Attending school has been a huge change in my life, but more positive than I ever could have expected.

I now feel I’m one of the smartest students in my classes. Who would have thought? ! I sit in the front row, participate in class, do all my homework, and get straight A’s.  I wonder to myself, “Where was this person ten years ago?”

The truth is, how are we to know what we want to do when we haven’t truly been exposed to what the world has to offer? I didn’t have the knowledge I do now about all the possible jobs I could have based on my interests and skills.  Does anyone really know that they want to be a market research analyst at eighteen? No! But at twenty-eight, I can fully grasp what the job entails and why it fits me so perfectly.

How can we really expect teens in highschool to know what they want to be or exactly what major to choose at such a young age? I know there are many opinions on this topic, and people are on both sides of the fence.

But what I can tell you is coming back to school ten years later, after figuring out what I want, is the best decision I’ve ever made.  Although it’s much harder at this point, the rewards feel even greater.

Eating Your Way to an F

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Last week a student took a test with a basket full of fried chicken fingers on his desk. You know the sound that greasy paper makes? Crunchy and wet all at the same time.

“Are you really going to eat that while taking the test?” I asked.

“Don’t worry, I can manage it,” he replied.

Hmmm, I thought. I wasn’t worried about your eating skills. In fact, I had always hoped all my students had mastered the art of eating before entering college. I was more concerned the rest of the class would be distracted by the food choice — a choice that is loud and likely to cause to uncontrollable cravings. Just what you want when taking a test.

In my opinion, greasy chicken fingers in a paper-lined basket are as bad as the dreaded bag of chips.  The sound of a chip bag being opened in a quiet classroom is akin to finger nails on a chalkboard. Worse, I find the offending chip-eating student will then try to chomp each chip slowly, as if that lessens the sound. It doesn’t. It only prolongs the madness.

As a compromise, I asked my students to recommend low auditory, low olfactory foods for in-class snacking. This easy recipe for blueberry muffins was suggested by Nicholas Esser. Nick, a self-proclaimed foodie, highly recommends these easy to chew muffins as a quiet, in-class eating option. I recommend bringing one for your teacher too.

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-of-the-best-blueberry-muffins/detail.aspx

Dear Virtual Student,

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I’d like to congratulate you on being a number, that meaningless array of digits your school has provided to ensure you don’t stand out in a crowd. Most likely, we’ll never meet in person and I’ll never hear the sound of your voice. Sure, we’ll exchange some emails concerning course requirements. You’ll be polite and I will return your concise questions with my own professional responses. Years from now, I’m certain you’ll never mention me as your favorite teacher and I’ll never remember that day we didn’t meet.

 

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m loving our virtual relationship and here’s why. I’d much rather grade a student based on what they produced than be swayed by how they performed.

 

A physical classroom setting is a platform for theatrics where a vocal student can easily outmaneuver an introverted peer. By now you must be thinking –“That’s not fair. How much you talk in class shouldn’t make a difference.” Really? If your syllabus includes participation, then that’s exactly what it means.

 

Luckily, stage presence is not a factor on-line. In a virtual classroom, you are what you submit. I’m not impressed you’re wearing a suit. I’ll never know if you have a sweaty handshake and I’ll never know if you’re lounging in your pajamas and drinking a beer while taking an online quiz.  All I care about is whether or not you answered the question.

 

So make it good. And I mean really good because that’s all you’ve got.

 

 

Comments about your experience with online teachers are welcome here!

 

 

 

An “F” in Fashion

I had a nice conversation recently with a student about the image of women in advertising. It’s a great classroom topic that stimulates much discussion about the influences of advertising on our lives. From an academic standpoint, the topic is flexible enough to cover in a history, marketing, psychology, art or sociology class.  Personally, I like to wake-up my 9am Advertising class by showing image after image of half-naked women in pop-culture ads. This ensures everyone is shocked into consciousness and slightly uncomfortable. I employ this technique at the end of the semester when students have just about had it with me.

As many times as I’ve taught a lesson on the portrayal of women in advertising, it always gets me thinking.  Am I influenced by what students wear – female and male? Do my interactions with a student change with their changing attire? Am I more generous with my grading based on a student’s ratio of fabric to exposed skin or jeans to exposed boxers?

I’d like to think I’m fairly immune at this point as I’ve seen a closet full of fashion disasters in my classroom. Students have worn everything from pajamas, costumes, shorts and a tank top in 30 degree weather, baggie pants hanging mid-thigh and tube skirts no wider than a Band-Aid.

Here’s my take on classroom dressing. If you feel awkward, I feel awkward. If you are constantly tugging something up or down, I notice and so do the other students. A suggestion to consider – college might be a good time to test the concept of presenting yourself professionally to those who are evaluating you on your brains.  I’m not asking you to wear a suit. I just don’t want to be able to read the fine print on your hidden tattoo.

shutterstock_151294550   Now a question for students – do you judge teachers by what they wear?

Spell Check Shucks!

Calling all business students! Here are some common (and uncommon) misspellings that I’ve taken a red pen to in business papers. Some, I see regularly. Others come out of left field. Regardless — they’re, their, there — good for a chuckle.

 

SWAT Analysis – unless you’re planning on batting me over the head with the paper, the business term is  ‘SWOT Analysis.’

 

Costumers – Although there’s an outside chance your paper is truly about circus folk assigned to dressing clowns, I’m think the correct term is C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R-S.

 

Two Million Three Hundred Thousand Dollars – I realize the game here is to stretch the page length to meet the minimum required. However, business professionals tend to be efficient. Try $2.3M.

 

Tack Ticks – If I have to say a word out loud to understand the meaning, you have a problem. My advice – change your writing tactics.