General Test Study Guide (READ this page!)

Note: These study guides are subject to modification. For reasons as yet unforeseen we may not be able to follow the syllabus exactly. You will be notified in a timely manner if test dates must be changed. You will be notified of changes, additions, and deletions in lecture material and readings from the text via email before each test. Additional material will include information from videos shown in lecture.



Test emphasis will be on those subjects addressed in the text AND in lecture (About 50-50, lecture versus text, in terms of where test questions will come from). Obvious duplications are obvious things to look at more closely. Tests 1 and 2, 100 points each, are 80% multiple choice answers and 20% short answers (including short essays, matching, and lists). The final examination follows the same format.


Study Strategies

Read ahead. Read early. Cramming the night before the test puts information in your head but no context. Knowing definitions alone gets you a C. Knowing how things fit together gets you the A. It is better to study extensively, a few hours or sessions over a few days than to do it all at once. Some people do best when they see it, hear it, then write it (“it” being information). Try recopying your notes or making a few flash cards. The “worse” you are at a subject, according to your own self-assessment, the MORE time you will have to spend studying.

Study guides come in many forms. Some instructors provide detailed, specific lists of concepts for students to study. Others provide no input beyond listing the chapters to be covered on an exam. In either case, the goal of the instructor is to develop your independent skills at collating, prioritizing, and assimilating content. I believe that learning how to learn is as important as the information provided in this course. Learning how to learn is why you are in college. I hope that this class will help you take a step toward becoming a master learner, someone who can coolly and effectively dissect new information, distinguish the important from the unimportant, prioritize it, and make connections between it and information from your own pre-existing knowledge and experience. Hence, to foster the development of this skill, I will provide you with some practice. This study guide will provide study strategies and alert you to “markers”, ways to determine relative significance of given bits of content. It will not provide specifics like, “know this, be able to define that, etc.” That information is already imbedded in the text and in my lecture outline.


Strategies For Studying The Text

Study the text first. Content presented in my lectures weaves in and out and through that presented in the text but the framework, the “cosmic structure” of this course, at least within chapters, closely follows that of Cunningham & Saigo.

At the beginning of each chapter Cunningham & Saigo provides you the reader with a list of questions that will be answered in the chapter. You should know the answers to these questions when you are finished with the chapter (I recommend writing out the answers to these questions as part of your test preparation). Consider these as excellent sample short answer questions. Cunningham & Saigo also provides critical thinking questions at the end of each chapter. Use these questions as a catalyst to crystallize your understanding of the subject matter in the chapter and in lectures. Practice preparing written answers to these questions too.

Chapters in Cunningham & Saigo are extensively outlined (NUMBERED SECTIONS, main headings, subheadings, subsubheadings) and key concepts, phrases and words are highlighted, italicized and/or put in boxes. The outline = Cunningham & Saigo’s priorities! The highlighted concepts and definitions are used to link information together. They are the “dots”. If you can connect the dots you have mastered the chapter.

Do not forget to read and carefully examine the figures in each chapter! Case studies, spotlights, figures, and guest essays are particularly fertile ground for test question generation.


Strategies For Studying The Lecture Notes

After examining your notes on the chapters you will begin to see that Cunningham & Saigo has provided you with detailed outlines. Information in the chapters is organized in a hierarchical arrangement of main heading and subheadings. Lectures are similarly organized. However, your notes are your outline. Ask yourself, “how does the subject matter presented in lecture fit with that in the chapters?” It will be: the same as that in the text, more detailed or less detailed than the text, or completely different (but linked to some information in the text). You must go through the intellectual exercise of fitting lecture material into the framework/outline that you identified by analyzing the text. Once so organized, you will note that lecture material is also organized in a hierarchical fashion with main heading, subheadings, and definitions. Compare the two sources of information (lecture and readings). Where information is presented twice you have found yourself a key issue. These issues/ definitions/ topics are your highest priority (why else would I have repeated them?). If you know how they relate to the whole and to each other you cannot lose!


Created by Don Porschien

Last modified on 01 APR 02

Subject to change without notice

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