READING AND EXAMINATIONS
What You Need To Know About Reading And Exams
By Rev. Fr. Dr. John Awaebe
Reading is a multifaceted cognitive process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency and motivation.
Learn how readers integrate these facts to make meaning from print. Reading is making meaning from print.
It is the process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning.
Effective reading is an important skill that demands conscious and sustained cultivation of good reading materials.
It is the end result of a complex mental process that comprises the following:
Different reading tasks require different speeds. Know how much time and work a particular assignment calls for some you should glide over, others read closely and critically, some may call for a detailed analysis.
Preview the text- when you first examine a reading, try to gain a sense of the overall structure of ideas and concerns. Look at titles, chapter headings, lists and words and phrases bolded or in italics. They clue you to the key concepts, central concerns, or organization of the essay.
Loose the highlighter; find a pen”- highlighters can make you passive because you tend to mark main ideas without taking more extensive notes that actively respond to the text. Make comments in another font of bold in between paragraphs.
Annotate the text- you can make notes on the text both marginally as you go and in summary fashion at the end.
Learn to recognize when you need more context- when you find the passages confusing or particularly difficult, make a note to yourself to look up a word, idea or reference that might help clear up matters. But do this after you have finished your reading.
Put it in your own words- sometimes, putting a very difficult passage in your own words will help you make sense of it.
Consider reading it a second time- rereading a passage you find difficult (or even enjoyable) can reveal additional meaning and connections any first reading tends to overlook.
Try reading it aloud- often times the oral nature of a work, especially poetic one can better be understood when we read portions of it aloud.
Be ready (willing) to live with ambiguity- many texts, especially literacy texts are written with an emphasis on suggestiveness even mystery.
Likewise be willing to live with ill-structure problems. An ill-structured problem is the one that does not immediately suggest one right answer. Such problems tend to work with incomplete data or within the contradictory claims of a field.
Consider working in groups: be willing to cooperate when groups are assigned- often students discover that working together helps uncover the richness of a work. We realize quickly that others have additional insights that we do not have.
Finally, know why you are reading- admittedly, when the reading is required, the bottom line is about doing the work to make the grade. In addition, we can consider what it means to do our reading for God.
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR EXAMINATIONS?
Then give yourself the best chance with the following study tips:
Give yourself enough time to study
Do not leave it until the last minute. Set out a timetable for your study. Then organize your study accordingly.
Organize your study space
Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Try and get rid of all distractions and ensure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible.
Use flow charts and diagrams
Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about the topic, then highlight where the gaps lie.
Practice on old exams
One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of questions.
Explain your answers to others
Parents and little brothers and sisters do not have to be annoying around exam time. Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.
Organize study groups with friends
Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answer to and vice versa.
Take regular breaks
While you may think it is best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. Studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps.
Snack on “brain food”
Keep away from junk food. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory. Such as fish, nuts, seeds, yoghurt and blueberries.
Plan for your exam day
Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam.
Drink plenty of water
Remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision and also on the exam day.