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Thread: Reviewing for Exams

  1. #1
    Member
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    I am in the process of trying to help my rhetoric level dd review for the unit 2 history exam.

    I think the exam is excellent but the review guide is awful. It is so broad, my student could spend an entire week reviewing material that would completely irrelevant.

    I am making my own review guide for her, but I have to say it is taking me a long time! I am wondering if it would be possible in the future to develop review guides that were geared more specifically to the material that is actually going to be tested? This would save me a lot of time that's for sure.

    I understand TOG philosophy with regard to evaluations and I agree with it. But as I am sure you are realizing many users of TOG, especially those of us with high school students, are looking for a curriculum that offers all that TOG offers while at the same time gives us some work that is cut and dry. Here study this, take this test.

    I don't want to be critical. When I go over my week plan I am truly astounded by the amount of time, effort and love that has gone into this curriculum. The detail is staggering. But when it comes to the end of the unit, well....the detail is staggering. LOL!

    I look forward to any thoughts on this.

    Thanks!!

    Lisa in AZ

  2. #2
    Just a thought from another mom...if your goal is to get them ready for college, the professor isn't going to hand them something and say, "Here, study this for the exam." They will have to be prepared to review the semester for themselves and pull out key dates, events, etc. I personally thought the "broadness" of the review was a plus when viewed as preparation for the reality of college.
    Just my $.02.

  3. #3
    President, Lampstand Press
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    Dear Lisa,

    Thanks for your input. We actually had quite a discussion around here concerning the review guides before we posted them. There were two major trains of thought:

    1. We are more interested in training students in HOW to review (giving them generalized review STRATEGIES that work for any exam)than in enabling them to pass inidividual tests that are on specific topics. We feel this is a very important emphasis in Tapestry: training students to study, not just informing them with specifics. This is along the "Give a person a fish and they eat for a day; teach them to fish and they will eat for a lifetime" philosophy. We want students to succeed without training wheels after they leave our homeschools.

    2. We have been concerned that different families have had different emphases during a unit's study. The argument here was that if we provided specific study directions that moms did not pre-read, students could become confused, overwhelmed or dismayed if our specific directions took them where their studies during the unit had not.

    For both of these reasons, we opted for the more general approach, with the strong admonition to teachers to review and then teach to the test before giving it to students. We certainly *could* change our review guides to be more specific; this is still a digital, beta project. However, yours is the first feedback that we have received in this direction, so I'd love to see some more discussion here on the points I've mentioned above.
    Blessings,
    Marcia

    No one can do me a greater kindness in this world than to pray for me.
    --Charles Spurgeon

  4. #4
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    Susan
    I really appreciate your feedback, I had not thought about the review in the way you mentioned. You make an excellent point that I agree with. I recall that in college I had some professors who gave relatively specific review guides, but I also had some who did not.

    I think for our family the bigger issue here is that we are new to administering tests and to ask my daughter to simply review is completely overwhelming to her.

    Lisa in AZ

  5. #5
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    Marcia
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.

    Your reply has caused me to think about this matter a bit more. Yesterday I was just tired and wanting some hand holding.

    I can hardly imagine the incredible challenges TOG faces in trying to meet the needs of such a wide variety of people. It must be daunting. However, I can see the hand of the Lord in all you do and trust his guidance in your efforts.

    I guess my thinking at this point is given the format of the tests, it would seem beneficial to both teacher and student to give some specific guidelines in studying for unit exams, at least for rhetoric level students. This is high school, not college. I don't think the current review guides are bad, in fact, they are quite good and I like them. But I will be honest with you, when I read over them and began to review in my mind the previous weeks of study even I had a really hard time in finding some of the information/answers to the test questions. Which is why I typed up a review guide for my daughter. Time is another factor here. To ask my dd to continue to complete her regular weekly work and try to study for a unit exam without specific guidelines is way too much for her. I suppose it could just be my student but surely others have students in the same boat? When I was in college, all regular school work was completed and we had a week to two weeks to focus on exams and studying for exams. My student does not have that.

    I know there is no perfect answer and I too am interested in the thoughts and experiences of others regarding this matter. This is our first year using Evaluations and so it is definitely a work in progress with regard to our homeschool. I don't want to create school at home but I have to honestly say it is difficult not falling into this kind of thinking when trying to prepare my student for college. She is my first high school student as well, so despite the fact that we have homeschooled for ten years, I lack confidence with her.

    God bless you and my sincerest thanks for ALL you do!
    Lisa in AZ

  6. #6
    Because this is our first year with TOG, it took me a while to figure out the system. I didn't even know (or had forgotten) about the weekly review quizzes until we were almost finished with the first unit. So, here's a thought. What if you took those weekly review quizzes and started administering them as open book quizzes (even allowing the child to use the Teacher's Notes to search out the answers) a few weeks before the big unit exam? That way, you could have some sort of structured system for review. Just a thought.

    Tammy

  7. #7
    My biggest concern with the Unit Tests is what Lisa says about time. I really believe in the unit review and want to do it - but the workload is already heavy, and I can't see how to add the unit review on top of the ordinary work. I would like to take a week off for review, but I don't want to add four weeks to the school year! This is the main reason that we haven't been able to figure out how to use the exams.

    Next year, I will try to figure out how to incorporate ongoing review into the weekly discussions, since I'll be teaching a co-op class. This would be yet another thing that it would be really nice to have done for me: suggested topics to review at the beginning of each history class. I know you can't do everything, though.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by BLT:
    My biggest concern with the Unit Tests is what Lisa says about time. I really believe in the unit review and want to do it - but the workload is already heavy, and I can't see how to add the unit review on top of the ordinary work. I would like to take a week off for review, but I don't want to add four weeks to the school year! This is the main reason that we haven't been able to figure out how to use the exams.
    I'm finding the last week of a unit's workload to be somewhat lighter, I don't think I'm imagining it, but could be One thing I do suggest to my children is that they take review notes as they work through the unit. I make workbooks for my children so essentially all they do is highlight dates, people, questions, etc. that they think might be on the unit exam.

    Karen
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  9. #9
    No, Karen, I don't think you're imagining it - actually, I've noticed it too. But I still have trouble adding in review. Maybe it's just a matter of planning, but it is still why I haven't added the unit reviews.
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  10. #10
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    In trying to figure out how to incorporate the review into our week, I decided to give my student the review guides posted on Evaluations two weeks before the end of the unit. She is in 10th grade and I basically told her, you have two weeks to review for the test. Although she is still working on her regular work, I felt that if she were in school she would be under the same kind of constraints. For the first two unit tests, I gave her very specific outlines (actually using the tests themselves to make a study guide) as to what to study. For this third unit I am not going to do that. I am hoping that by now she has had more practice in selecting what is important and what is not. She will take the Unit three history test on the Monday we begin Unit four. So that week she will have one day less to complete her work. She has had to begin to use the weekends to complete her work. Although she was not really very happy about it I told her if she were in a traditional school setting she would most likely have to put it even more time. Not only class time, but homework which could take up most of the night and the weekends too. So although it has required a step up in the time it takes her to get it all done I am feeling that it is appropriate to her grade level and really is practice for her future work.

    She knows students that attend traditional schools (both at the secondary level and the college level) and they all are putting in more actual hours than she is. Now this is mostly because they have to sit through a class and they will have homework and in class they are dependent on the teacher's pace....so I did not believe she needs to duplicate a school setting in regard to the amount of time she spends on academic work. But I felt that asking her to spend extra time at the end of a unit to study for a test was reasonable.

    So far, this has worked out well for us. She has risen to the challenge and is getting much better at planning her time. She also takes the literature unit exam but I don't have her take that until at least the 2nd week of a new unit. I also take one week off between units so she has that time to study as well.

    So for us it looks like this.

    For unit three we are currently working on Week 26. I gave my dd the review guide for the history exam this week. She actually will have three weeks to review for this test because we will take one week off from school between unit three and unit four. The first day of class (when we begin unit four week 28) she will take the history exam.

    I will give her the unit review for literature next week. She will have three weeks to study for it because she will take it when we begin week 29.

    I seem to recall that two weeks was about what I had to study for exams in school. Possibly it was one week, so I feel this is more than fair for my student considering she has her regular work load to complete as well.

    Hope this helps.

    Lisa in AZ

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