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Final Exam Prep and Questions

Final Exam Prep and Questions - Ecology Prof James Thomson...

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Copyright © 2010 James Thomson Ecology Prof. James Thomson Preparing for the Final Exam (2009-2010) This document aims to help you prepare for being evaluated on my lecture material (Lectures 24-39) on the Final Exam. It is meant to supplement, not replace, the other sources of advice available to you, such as the appendix in your BIO150 lab manual on mastering multiple-choice tests. Here, I try to give you more insight into the goals I have in mind when I’m trying to compose test questions. First, if I have been successful in writing a good test, you won’t be able to score well unless you understand the concepts and principles presented in the course, not just the facts. By a “good test,” I mean one that asks probing questions that will separate students with a deep under- standing from those with a superficial understanding. Some of the questions will be straight recall, but others will present hypothetical situations and then ask you for some interpretation. You will need to grab different pieces of information from different corners of your mind and synthesize them. You can’t cram for such questions, so you really do have to come to grips with the basic principles that I tried to develop in lecture. Unless you are extremely quick-witted and blessed with a fantastic memory, it will be hard for you to absorb these principles by just listening to lectures once – especially because many of you appear not to be taking notes during the lectures. Second, you need to understand that the PowerPoint slides do not contain all of the important information that I convey in lecture. They are not intended to. I use the slides to show pictures, of course, but beyond that, I use them as my own lecture outline, to remind me of what topics I need to say something about, and to ensure that the morning and evening lectures are as similar as possible. So, the slides remind me of points I need to develop, and they may help you remember what I said, but the important point is that I say many things that are not on the slides, and those things are the core of the lecture . The words I say about a slide are usually far more important than the words I write on the slide. In short, the lectures are my attempt to explain complicated facts and concepts to you orally, with the slides as mere signposts, images, and organizers . Typically, a slide might serve as the topic sentence for a paragraph of oral explanation. The slides are not the lecture! In the old days, your memory of my words and your lecture notes would have been the lecture , but since note-taking is a dying art – and even your young memories will have their limits – I advise you to act as if the audio recording is the lecture . To do as well as possible on the test, I suggest doing the following, in order: 1. Know what you’re up against! Look at the “sample questions” from my past tests in this document and in the Lecture Guide; read my comments later in this guide about test con- tent and specific formulas that you need to know. I expect to write this year’s exam without
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