I have been doing a little bit of experimenting when it comes time to review with the class in preparation for the final exam. The last handout I have been giving my students has usually been a compilation of problems similar to the ones they have been accustomed to seeing throughout the course. Through the use of textbooks, I can save some time by not having to come up with the questions myself, but the textbooks sometimes do not use the same language that I use in class or on prior written assignments. Recently, I have been considering the option of either:
A) a list of twenty-five possible questions, out of which eight to ten will be on the final exam, or
B) the exact eight to ten questions that will be on the final exam, with the particulars blacked out (particulars being numbers, equations, functions, etc.).
Benefits of A:
- allows students to strengthen all core skills required to say that they have a satisfactory understanding of all course material
- if all twenty-five questions are completed to perfection, the student should have no problem reiterating the solution come exam day (barring test anxiety, time management problems, and other factors)
- hedging bets (we all know this problem when we studied stats): what is the minimum number of questions I should be completely clear on how to do if I want to have a good chance of scoring at least an $80\%$, etc.
Benefits of B:
- allows students to focus solely on the exact type of question they should expect
- gives students the opportunity to predict how much time should be spent for each question, and, by extension, how much time can be spent studying for each topic
To current students: if you were given the option, which would you prefer? Can you think of other ways that each option can benefit you?
To teachers: which option have you personally used with your students before? If neither, do you see yourself employing either of these methods when it comes to exam preparation for your students?