Examination Secrets in Econ 2103
Lee C. Adkins
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Here are some Tips on the types of multiple choice questions I usually ask.
I will try to select a mixture of multiple choice questions from 3 general categories. These categories are recognition and understanding, simple application, and complex application. Your study guide has multiple choice questions in it which are similar to the ones asked on the exams. (I strongly recommend that you purchase a study guide and practice answering these questions. For the best score, don't wait until the last minute to begin preparation for the exams.)
Three Types of Questions
There are basically three types of multiple choice question that you will encounter in this course. Each tests a different level of understanding of the material. In order of difficulty they are: recognition and understanding, simple application, and complex application.
Recognition and Understanding
These questions can, in principle, be answered by referring directly to your textbook. Better questions of this type try to restate a basic idea in somewhat different language from that in which it was originally learned. These may call for explanation, summation, or for a simple extension of an idea or principle. Regular textbook reading and study guide practice will help you prepare for these type of questions. Unfortunately, most students feel that if they master the basic terminology of a discipline, then they deserve an A or a B. The ability to recognize and reiterate basic terminology and principles is only the first step in actually learning anything of value. You must get beyond this step in order to achieve higher goals (like getting a B).
Here, the student has to demonstrate that he or she can use a principle or concept when its use is specified or clearly implied. So, in addition to recognizing the correct principle involved, you must also see its relevance in explaining the problem you are given. With proper study habits, above average students usually find these to be relatively easy and average students will usually hold their own. If you crammed 6 weeks worth of studying into 1 or 2 nights of intensive study, you will probably find yourself in trouble here.
These questions are the kind that I would hope all of you can reason your way through. If you can, then you'll have access to an extremely powerful way of thinking; economic principles can in fact do you a world of good. You benefit directly from your own enlightenment as you discover how to simplify things which most people find to be unreasonably complex; furthermore, society (here, the good taxpayers of Oklahoma) gets its money's worth for subsidizing the cost of your education. Questions which involve complex application require that you demonstrate the ability to select and use a concept or principle when its use is not directly specified. A complex application may be one in which two or more concepts have to be related in a way not previously discussed. Students tend to find these questions to be quite difficult, even it they involve widely known concepts; this happens because the student either does not readily associate the concept(s) with the problem at hand, or does not grasp the significance of the concept(s) in solving the problem. These questions tend to separate the A's from the B's.
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How to Prepare
The best way to prepare yourself for each of these types of questions if through regular, conscientious study. Read the book, do the workbook, consult with fellow students in your study group, ask questions of me and each other, review the notes, attend class regularly, participate in class discussions, etc. Also, get a good night's sleep before the exam. With a clear and fresh mind, most of this stuff seems like common sense. After all night cramming, however, nothing is very clear and I promise, your score will suffer. Don't just study, study smart.
As I said before, each test contains a mixture of each type of question. Recognition and Understanding--about 30%-50%, Simple Application--about 40%-60%, and Complex Application--about 10%-20%. Historically, the average final grade in one of my classes (and all other Econ principles classes taught in the College of Business at OSU) will be a C. Your grade will be determined, for the most part, by your work habits and attitude towards this class (don't forget, innate brainpower has something to do with it too). I sincerely hope that you will achieve whatever realistic goal you have set for yourself.
Good Luck and remember,
ECONOMICS IS FUN!
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