Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting
on the first one.
Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910
American author

Testing with success series

Emergency test preparation

A structured approach to cramming
  • Preview material to be covered
  • Be selective: skim chapters for main points
  • Concentrate on the main points

Begin with 5 sheets of paper:

  1. Identify 5 key concepts or topics that will be covered on the test
    Enter one at the top of each page
    Use only key words or short phrases
  2. In your own words, write an explanation, definition, answer, etc
    of several lines or so for the key concept
    Do NOT use the text or your notes
  3. Compare your response of (2)
    with the course source information (text and lecture notes)
  4. Edit or re-write your understanding of each topic
    considering this course information
  5. Sequence and number each page of your topics
    1 - 5 in order of importance; 1 = most important
  6. Follow the above process for two additional concepts
    if you have time
  7. Place them in the 1 - 5 sequence and change numbering to 1 - 7
  8. Follow the above process for one or two more concepts
    for a total of nine.
    Follow your comfort level; add topics only as necessary
  9. Try not to exceed nine concepts;
    focus on the most important
  10. Review the day of the test,
    but try to relax just before
    see 10 tips on terrific test taking

Derived from Miller, George A., The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information,  (1956) Harvard University First published in Psychological Review, 63, pp. 81-97 as seen in Green, Christopher D. Green, Classics in the History of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, http://www.yorku.ca/dept/psych/classics/Miller/ (10/13/1999).

Test preparation strategies

Mastering one test | General test preparation | Anticipating test content |
Review tools for tests | Overcoming test anxiety | Organizing for test taking | Cramming | Emergency test preparation