Statistics Study Tips for Smooth Sailing through Exams

Submitted by: Brenna at Ball State University

After being on the other side of the teacher’s desk for almost twenty years, I experienced a little bit of “study shock” when I re-entered the world of being a student in 2020. I had to quickly re-learn how to navigate my studying endeavors in a very different learning environment. Thankfully, having Hawkes courseware for my statistics class made the journey through these uncharted waters much easier.

Normally, I recommend getting ready to study by collecting your textbook, course notes, handouts, and old homework, but I love how Hawkes collects everything you need in one place for you already! I highly recommend getting started by using the Practice WebTest feature in Hawkes to make a practice exam from all the sections you are studying. This puts all the content you need in one place. After you have the practice exam set up, I recommend using a study method that I call Cycle Studying.

Cycle Studying Method

It is easy to make the mistake of thinking you can study effectively just by looking over all the exam material once and calling it good. Or you can make the mistake of going through all the material over and over again even though you already have some of it down. I think the best method is to plan to study in progressive cycles. What do I mean by this? I break it down below.

Step 1 – Take a Sounding

First, you need to know where you stand. I recommend taking a Hawkes practice test that covers all the exam material. Then, look over the results of the practice test in the Practice Test Breakdown. Use the results of that breakdown to plan your second study cycle. You can click the Review button to see exactly how you did on each question. Set aside the topics you scored well on if these topics are ones you feel confident you can retain without further practice. Make a list of the topics that you scored poorly on or lack confidence in.

Step 2 – Shore Things Up

From the Practice Test Breakdown, you can click on the bar for each section where you missed problems and it will take you to the practice for that section. From here, I recommend clicking on the Tutor button to get a full explanation of how to do the problems. If one area is particularly tricky, go back to the Learn section to watch video examples and take notes. After reviewing the Tutor screens, try the practice questions yourself using your notes. Then put your notes aside and try to do them independently. Consider breaking down long problems into parts and doing one part independently, and then two, and so on until you can do the entire problem without aids. Repeat this process for every weak section of the practice test.

Step 3 – Test the Waters

Now that you have shored up the weak areas, I recommend retaking the practice test to see what you retain from your studying. If you do well on the practice test, great! If you still test below your desired level, go back to step 2, and begin another cycle of studying. Hopefully, you’ve at least been able to cross off a few items on your list of weak points and this cycle can be faster. Keep repeating these steps until your retesting meets your goals.

Step 4 – Set Sail!

Once you have tested, practiced, and confirmed your progress by retesting, you can venture out with confidence!

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