Studying for Exams

Discussions concerning earning credit by CLEP, DANTES, GRE, and other tests.

Studying for Exams

Postby Hungry Ghost » Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:03 pm

Wouldn't it be a good idea to prepare for examinations by actually studying a subject, in pretty much the same way that on-campus students do? What's wrong with carefully reading textbooks?

And often times you can't escape the primary literature. If I was studying Plato, I'd want to actually read some of his dialogues. If I was studying Shakespeare, I'd need to read some Shakespeare. I'd probably require a commentary as well, alerting me to issues and themes, explaining obscure language and imagery and so on.

While I really like the idea of credit by examination, I'm a little nervous about using it as an occasion to blow off one's education as quickly and as superficially as possible.
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Re: Studying for Exams

Postby mattchand » Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:01 pm

Hungry Ghost wrote:Wouldn't it be a good idea to prepare for examinations by actually studying a subject, in pretty much the same way that on-campus students do? What's wrong with carefully reading textbooks?

And often times you can't escape the primary literature. If I was studying Plato, I'd want to actually read some of his dialogues. If I was studying Shakespeare, I'd need to read some Shakespeare. I'd probably require a commentary as well, alerting me to issues and themes, explaining obscure language and imagery and so on.

While I really like the idea of credit by examination, I'm a little nervous about using it as an occasion to blow off one's education as quickly and as superficially as possible.


Having done the bulk of my AA & BA by proficiency exam, I would tend to agree with you. Most of my preparation involved either getting a textbook on the subject out of the library, or sometimes acquiring a less expensive text 2nd hand or on discount at my local B & N. I also utilized some of the more in-depth resources on the internet. The few exams for which I studied less in-depth were in subjects regarding which I'd already studied quite a bit previously; e.g., for my Bengali NYUFLP exam, I rented and watched Satyajit Ray's brilliant 1962 film Devi (highly recommended, along with pretty much anything else Ray directed).

Peace,

Matt
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Postby FWD » Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:04 pm

I would agree HG and Matt. Usually what I did was take a run through of the subject via a quick review book and then grab a textbook and go further in depth on areas covered in exam. I also used a good encyclopedia quite often. For instance in CLEP Eng. Lit. I used Barron's EZ101 to become familiar with overall subject. Then in Norton Anthologies I read the works and bios of major authors and poets. I took 22 exams and learned early that you can fail them so I prepared pretty thoroughly for them.

The most I ever studied for an exam was for DANTES Civil War & Reconstruction. I read 1 whole book plus parts of a few others totaling maybe 400 pages plus a few Ken Burns videos. The subject was so interesting I kept putting off the exam! For DANTES Soviet Union I nearly equaled that study effort. I probably overdid it but the 2 exams still required a solid study effort.

For a few CLEPS a quick review book was enough I have to say but overall though I read far more than I ever did in on campus classes. In fact I remember spending quite a bit on books and having to read only a few chapters. Lectures and notes often played too a big part in the on campus learning process IMHO.
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