infight/ A Modern Approach to Review that Increases Test Scores Neil Ettinger Oeorge Washingmn High School, Philadelphia, PA 19116
I have, over the years, developed a technique for insuring adequate preparation for an examination. In teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry, I find that the students are intelligent and willing. They are, however, totally unprepared to study with the intensity required t o do well on examinations. I give a "take-home", essay-style examination, covering approximately six weeks of class work, that the students return in two or three days, They are given the following directions: 1.mend as much time as needed: 2. do not nrrempt theentire examination at one sitting; 3. use your hook, notes, and any other source of information,as long as the mfmnation dues not represent direct communication of
any kind (written, spaken, etc.) with others; and 4. use scientific calculators.
At the same time they are told to expect another test, in school-a multiple-choice test. They are also allowed to use scientific calculators in class. Furthermore, they are told
Journal of Chemical Education
DONNA BOGNER Wichita State University Wichita. KS 67208
that any gross discrepancy between the grade received on the "take-home" and the multiple choice examination will come under close scrutiny. Nothing more enlightening is given concerning the close scrutiny, leaving much to the imagination a n d apprehension of the students, helping to keep the "take-home" examination honest. when the "take-home" exam is returned, the answers are thoroughly reviewed in class. This gives further reinforcement of the material. The students have the necessity thrust upon them for further review and interpretation as they compare my answers to the answers on their papers. They have an opportunity t o ask about any points in question at this time, and they can refer to the errors on their papers. They can also compare their preparation with others in the class with whom they are naturally comueting. Needless to say, the "take-home"exam is verGomp;ehen%ve. I have given tests in my classrooms after using the normal/ traditional review and [he aforementioned review. The results weigh heavily in favor of the "take-home" method. The studentssay that being able to consider the questions taken home, a t their leisure, is a worthwhile experience and that they felt hetter prepared-more a t ease-for the multiplechoice test in class. Instructors should note that review time in class is minimal-two periods-for six weeks of class work, and, more importantly, the method works!