by Lydia Matney
Education is very important in our society. Many people are going back to school knowing that a degree will help them get a better paying job. During the recession in 2008, a lot of people lost their jobs partially due to lack of education. Since then, the government strongly encouraged them to go back to school and better themselves and the society. Many of the current Metropolitan Community College (MCC) students have been out of school for many years so it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Some students found themselves forgetting how to take a test or get more nervous to take it.
“The older I get, the more I seem to get test anxiety,” said MCC student Anita Borchers.
On March 9 at MCC-Penn Valley, Learning Specialist Beth McCallister gave a presentation called, “Do you need strategies to improve your test-taking skills?” According to McCallister, being a successful student requires a variety of skills. Some of those skills she helps students learn and use are study strategies, time management and organization, test-taking strategies and learning styles.
“What I try to do is foster student success by helping them learn how to learn,” she says.
There are many ways to prepare for a test and a student can learn these skills. McCallister recommends that students exercise, because it helps to burn off the nervous energy.
Second-year student, Maria Wylde, is ahead of many students on this score. “I work out almost everyday even if it’s just for a few minutes and I always feel more energized and calm,” Wylde said.
Another important way to prepare for a test is to make sure to get plenty of rest and eat nutritious foods. Jack Matney is a part of the MCC-Police Academy and for his classes it takes a lot more than just the written tests. He has to take many physical tests as well, and he has to pass every test in order to become a police officer.
“Sleep is the best thing you can do before a major test. When I am tired, I can’t focus and even my running time is much slower,” he said.
No matter what type of test is involved, it is very important to prepare for it not just mentally but also physically.
McCallister offers several ways to improve on the test-taking skills. “Practice makes perfect” is a saying many of us have heard hundreds of times, but according to McCallister, that is exactly what students need to be doing in order to get better at taking tests. Here are some pointers on how to improve this skill:
- Skim the test before answering the questions. Doing this will help the student to manage his/her time much better.
- Do a “mind dump” before the test begins. Some students store pieces of information (dates, math formulas, theories) that take too much space in their brain and by “dumping” it all on some scratch paper will help them focus on the test.
- Read each question and understand it completely. The question itself can have a part of the answer in it or a clue that will help you with answering it.
- Always leave a little bit of time to look over all your answers and double check the whole test.