Self – Quizzing

I don’t know about you guys, but I felt like I was struggling to keep up with weekly quizzes as they got harder. Of course, I did the whole “I’m going to fail this class and fail out of college AHH” thing, and then I decided that I needed to figure out a better way to study and fix the problem. I was thinking about how we write our own quiz questions, and then it came to me. 

Why don’t I just do that… for myself? 

As I had this epiphany, which I should have realized a long time ago I know, I decided that this process might make for a good blog post. I then did some research and looked into how quizzing effects learning. 

I read at an article by Mintzes et al that looked at the differences in learning that came from either asking questions and seeking answers (retrieval practice) and simply looking at information repeatedly and trying to remember it (concept mapping). The article stated that while retrieval is difficult at first, if we practice it, it becomes easier and beneficial for remembering information and completing meaningful learning. 

I also read a study by Kirsten Davis that actually measured the effects of self-quizzing had on STEM students. Her study found that students felt more prepared and were more successful on exams after participating in self-quizzing. The quizzes also allowed students to grasp a better understanding of what they needed to study more, and what they were already pretty comfortable with. 

After reading these, it was decided. I was going to quiz myself as I read the chapter, in hopes of understanding the material better, and hopefully remembering it for the quiz. 

As I sat down to read the chapter and take my usual notes, I also prepared to try and ask frequent questions to myself. If I read a run-on sentence or I felt like I stopped paying attention in the middle of a sentence, I would ask myself, “what did I just read? What does it mean?” These frequent questions required me to read the material and then essentially teach and explain it to myself, while also taking notes throughout the reading. When I saw a word or concept bolded in the textbook, I would take time to ask myself what it meant, or how it was relating to the examples surrounding it. 

I went through the entire chapter this way, taking notes and asking myself questions as I went. When I got to section summaries, I carefully reread each bullet point and then restated it to myself as a way fo checking my understanding. After I had gotten through the whole chapter, I wrote my weekly questions immediately. 

While this method was incredibly tedious and time-consuming, I felt accomplished after I finished the chapter and the questions. This was all fine and well, but what really mattered to me was seeing if my time and hard work would be reflected in my upcoming quiz grade. 

After I had prepared by quizzing myself, I went into the weekly quiz wondering if my new study trick would really pay off. As it turns out, I think it did. In comparison to my average grade on our weekly quizzes, I scored 1.8 points higher. That sounds small, but I think we can all agree that on our six-question quizzes, a point makes all the difference. In all honesty, I was pretty shocked at how my score increased, and I was shocked at how comfortable I felt with the material while I was taking the quiz. 

Obviously, I spent a lot of time studying and asking myself questions to give self-quizzing the best chance I could, but I think that even just quizzing myself on section summaries would enable me to better retrieve the information I take in because it makes a meaningful and memorable connection to the material when I have to interact with it on my own. 

I would highly recommend trying the self-quizzing approach, even if its in a very subtle or small capacity. I was incredibly happy with my results, and hopefully, if you try it you won’t be feeling like this on weekly quizzes anymore. Idiot Sandwich GIF - GordonRamsay IdiotSandwich Angry GIFs

Happy studying!

6 thoughts on “Self – Quizzing

  1. mlbrody

    This post was such a good read! I personally have had the panicky “i’m gonna fail this class and fail out of college” thought as well. I was struggling with finding a pattern to help me stay consistent and on top of my assignments for this and other classes, plus weekly quizzes. Im going to take your articles/post and try it out in my own life and see how it works in relation to this class and the weekly quizzes. This was overall a great blog post! Thanks for making me feel not alone in the weekly quiz struggle!

  2. magalyy

    Wow! I can totally relate to your post. In the beginning I was having that “OMG I’m going to fail this class! I need to drop it ASAP!” feeling. I also realized I had to change my studying habits for the quizzes because my scores were not the best. Besides participating in class and paying attention, I knew I had to go read the textbook in depth to fully understand the material. I really like your idea of quizzing yourself as you read along. I believe this is really helpful especially considering each section has a summary part. This helps to just give us an idea on what material we should be able to understand. I would also recommend spacing out your reading. Maybe after Tuesday’s lecture, spend that night or Wednesday night reading that part of the chapter. Then, after Thursday’s lecture we can use the short answer assignment to read the last part of the chapter and review once again what we just learned. Either Sunday or Monday night you can spend refreshing your mind on the entire chapter, this way you aren’t trying to embed a bunch of information all in one night.
    Good luck the rest of the semester!

  3. sdejong

    This blog post immediately sparked my attention, because I too have been struggling with these Tuesday six question quizzes. It’s not even that I don’t read the chapters and take notes, which is the most frustrating thing. It sucks having to read that amount of pages in a week and then come quiz day, still get a terrible grade after I spent a good chunk of time on reading. I realized that I needed to be a more active learner, just like you were explaining in this blog. I am definitely going to try your new way of studying.

  4. mwalia

    I loved this blog post. I could see how one might think that it is a little informal maybe compared to some of the other ones, but honestly I loved the way that you related an experience from class to your own research and then applied that research and observed actual results. I think that this is a very strong approach to this class, in that you are now more actively engaging with the material. Actively engaging with the material has always been shown to be an effective studying skill no matter the material. I think it may also be important to try, when quizzing yourself, to engage in deep processing like we discussed in class today. Deep processing is the process of engaging information in a more meaningful way. This might even further improve your scores because as we learned, we can better retain information if we make it personally meaningful to us. As we discussed in class, the deeper the processing, the more meaning based it is, and the more meaning based it is, the more likely you are to remember it later. If you combined this with your quizzing strategy by not only quizzing yourself but also trying to think of personal examples and how this material relates to your personal experience or other material, you will definitely see even better results.

  5. evaalexis422

    I can definitely relate to your post! I too have noticed that when I “slow down” mentally and read the chapters of this textbook I am processing the information in a more meaningful way. I have always felt that I possess the ability to read quickly because I have read a lot throughout my life; however, I have noticed a pattern that is slightly alarming. Throughout high school I think it is safe to say if you do the bare minimum and are relatively intelligent you can get A’s and B’s ( in America at least, lol). Ever since being at UMW I have been doing relatively well in school, definitely not an all A student but an A/B student. In high school I’ll admit most of the time I simply did not even do the textbook readings but based on analytical ability and accrued life knowledge I was able to do well. In the beginning of UMW I noticed that reading a chapter alone was not enough to perform well on quizzes and tests. I haven’t been doing bad on the 6 question quizzes, usually falling around the mean of the class, but I have been frustrated because I do the readings! As we discussed in class rereading your notes most likely won’t result in a 6/6 or even 5/6. I am going to start implementing what you suggested about really stopping and asking myself what did I read? Because I read the bulk of the chapters on Wednesday while I am waiting for the boy I babysit while he is in speech therapy. It is a crowded and somewhat noisy atmosphere in the waiting room and I am starting to realize that even though as I move from sentence to sentence I am comprehending the author’s message this is not sufficient. I have a feeling that after each chapter which I read quickly if I were really asked to summarize key points in detail it would be somewhat difficult. With all this said though I feel like professor Rettinger ignores a lot from the textbook because of the essence of time given that this class is 16 weeks. I have started to catch on that I should focus more on deeply processing the class discussions rather than obsessing over the textbook and not reviewing my notes till the day of the quiz.

  6. cwehner

    Okay, first of all, I’m really glad that I’m not the only person struggling with these quizzes!! I find that having them every week leaves no room for flexibility if I ever fall slightly behind, and the quiz questions are much more in depth and challenging than multiple choice questions typically are.

    Reading this post really helped!! I also picked up in class today that my issue is the way I’ve been studying. Trying to just review information, or even make flashcards, just isn’t enough. The issue is, I didn’t know how else to prepare. But the idea of self-quizzing is really helpful. Active learning definitely takes more effort and imagination, but your idea of quizzing as you go through the chapter, and creating self-quizzes on the most important parts of the chapter, is really helpful. I’ll definitely apply that! And if anyone wants to get together to study for these quizzes, maybe that would help too lol

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