Intern shares secrets of test-taking with students

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By Jeff Reese

When Janice Reed suffered from multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia and two brain tumors, many of her teachers and peers figured that she would not be able to make progress in her goal to work in education.
But Reed refused to listen to those who doubted her chances for academic or career success.
Reed, now a student intern for the Methodist Student Center, described herself as an inspiration to those who might not be confident in their chances for academic success when she was told of her prognosis.
“Doctors told me that my brain wouldn’t work when I couldn’t walk and I could hardly write my name,” Reed said. “Now I have a scholarship from the college.”
She plans to pursue a master’s degree in education.
Reed said students should not listen to those who offer discouragement.
“If we accept negativity, we will never get anywhere,” Reed said. “When people talk negatively, they really don’t know about what we can do.”
Reed took over for the Methodist center director, the Rev. Dr. David Semrad, in the Feb. 19 session of the series “Where There’s a Will, There’s an A” to discuss test-taking skills.
Reed led students in a round-table discussion on testing. She described tests as a performance as opposed to a measure of self-worth.
She discouraged long study sessions to cram for tests, calling the practice inefficient.
Preparing in short spurts works more to the student’s advantage, allowing the mind time to rest between sessions.
Frequent bus trips helped. She used the time to make these study sessions work to her advantage.
Radiology freshman Nancy Delgado said she budgets time during the test itself.
“I move on for a while when I don’t understand a question, so that I don’t spend all my time there and get short on time,” Delgado said.
Reed also advised students to write as briefly as possibly while being sure to make a complete answer to each essay portion.
The amount of time students might take to finish an exam in an hour-long session could be overrated.
She said not to judge performance by the amount of time others take for an exam.
A student who turns in a test quickly might not necessarily be the ones who are performing well.
These test-takers might finish in a short time because they don’t answer all the questions while the ones who take longer are using all the time they have to improve their grades.
“Making a complete check of answers before turning in a test can be helpful,” Delgado said.
The session offered information about how an instructor might help a student by giving sample or former questions.
She also said to ask for the test format in advance, such as true or false, multiple choice, or essay.
As an English-as-a-Second-Language major, Delgado and the group with whom she studies make extensive preparation.
“We make daily reviews with our notes and spend 30 minutes per day with our vocabulary,” Delgado said. “The review is important for us.”
Meetings occur each Tuesday at noon at the Methodist Student Center on the corner of Dewey and Belknap places. Lunch is served.
For more information on future events, call the Methodist Student Center at 733-1441.


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