exam preparation

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Information navigation - Sam's organisationwhen I asked Pat if I could photograph the information navigation system Pat was using in preparation for the PRINCE2 practioners open-book exam, Pat blushed and said ‘I can be a bit anal sometimes

Pat’s desk was equally well ordered, there was an elegance and functionality to the layout

I sat between Pat and Sam. After photographing Pat’s book and desk I asked Sam if I could photograph Sam’s book and desk

Information navigation - Pat's organisationSam smiled, giggled a little, and said yes. Sam spent time colour coding the highlighted sections, reading and highlighting, tearing-up post-it notes to strips then placing them on pages as we encountered information. As the course progressed the post-it notes became creased and were moved around, re-ordered. Sam’s desk looked a little hap-hazard to the outsider but in reality there was clear order and functionality to the process being used.

My book? No highlights, no highlighter pen, no post-it notes, page markers or even pencil notes.

What?!

My plan was not to spend any time finding stuff in the book during the 2 and a half hour exam, not to create and remember colour-coding systems.  Why not? My goal was to understand the book’s contents to a level that alleviates the need for reference and developing a reference system beyond the existing contents list, index and glossary. Novel approach for this course where the instructors actually told us what to highlight! A risky approach because there is more information in the book than I could learn in the time I’ve been studying. Not marking-up the book was partly a motivation to learn the contents.

To my amazement – I PASSED! without opening the book in an open book exam! Now many people might say that’s just

stubborn and silly?

You know me well!

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4 bits of lovely banter on “exam preparation”

  1. Happy Frog and I writes:

    Congratulations, that is fantastic news! I am so pleased for you. 🙂

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  2. Rob Miles writes:

    Good work!

    I guess it all depends on whether folks regard the book itself as a means or an end. I do the teaching thing and I’m always pleased when I get the students to realise that I’m telling them stuff not because I want them to trot it out in an exam, but because I want them to be able to use what I tell them to achieve things.

    Some of them seem surprised that anything they are taught turns out to be useful in “Real Life”…

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  3. Scarlet writes:

    Bravo!!!
    Contrary and delightful… much better than stubborn and silly.
    Sx

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  4. Kevin writes:

    Well done.
    I hate open book exams, they are always a temptation to learn the geography of the book rather than understand the content.

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