DIVE Math and Science courses follow an order of knowledge>understanding>wisdom. Knowledge relates to basic facts and definitions about a topic. Understanding relates to reading and (especially) watching the DIVE lecture and taking notes, pausing and rewinding until you understand the subject. Wisdom relates to the ability to apply what you learned in a new situation, which is accomplished by solving homework problems, and especially answering test questions.
With test preparation, be active, not just passive
In college, many of your exams will be similar to DIVE Science exams, where you are required to be familiar with several weeks’ worth of information. You may also have a final over everything taught in the semester. But what is the best way to study for tests, especially a DIVE Science quarterly exam covering 7-8 weeks’ worth of material? Well, try thinking of your test preparation (and homework) time as “practice”, and the test as the “game”. For example, baseball players don’t prepare for games only by passively reading over the rulebook and watching other people play baseball. They mainly prepare by actively practicing, even having “scrimmages”, or practice games, in preparation for the real game. While the “passive” component is necessary, the “active” component is far more important.
When studying for tests, it is much easier for a student to passively read back over their notes, convincing themselves that “yeah, I know this material”. But the actual test looks nothing like this. Actual tests look like the Saxon Problem Sets or DIVE Science Review Questions, where the student is actively applying what they learned from their reading and lectures.
When I was in college, I took A LOT of math/science/engineering exams, and I learned quickly that passively reading over old lecture notes normally didn’t lead to great exam scores. One of my prayers with DIVE Science is that it will help students learn to study for big tests while in high school, when failure is not so costly. If you mess up badly on your first DIVE Biology exam, no big deal. Learn from your mistakes and keep going. But if you start college with poor study skills, you may do so badly on some of your freshman exams that it becomes very difficult to recover.
So, the best test preparation requires the student be actively involved. Here are some test preparation suggestions:
Saxon weekly tests (study time: about 1 hour)
- Re-take the previous week’s test. This works well because of Saxon’s continual review format, which means most of the topics covered on last week’s test will appear on the following week’s test. If you don’t understand a problem, go back and review that lesson where the problem is taught, either by watching the DIVE lecture or reading the Saxon textbook.
- Check to see what lessons the test covers through. For example, a table at the beginning of each Saxon test booklet has a column labeled “Covers material up through”. So if you were doing Saxon Algebra 1, Test 20, you would see it covers material through Lesson 80, while test 19 covered through Lesson 76. Each new Saxon test typically covers 4 new lessons. So, if you were taking Test 20, and you practiced by re-taking Test 19, you would also want to study Lessons 77-80. Study these by reviewing lesson notes and working practice problems, either DIVE Practice problems and/or examples and practice problems found in the Saxon text.
DIVE Science quarterly exams (study time: 6-8 hours)
- Review your notes and definitions. This is a passive activity, which you aren’t supposed to avoid, you’re just not supposed to make it the main study method. You can make this more active by making flashcards. And if you click here, we have free online flashcards available for all the definitions in DIVE Integrated Chemistry and Physics, Biology and Chemistry. We used a free online program called Quizlet to make the flashcards.
- Rewrite your notes. When I was in college, I would often re-write my notes as part of my studying. This is time-consuming, but studying for a quarterly exam does take time, so just be ready to spend 6-8 hours on it.
- Re-take your Review Questions. Definitely DO NOT just read over your completed review questions! Reprint them, or if you are using the online version, just open the lesson back up and do it again. Have your pencil and paper ready for making calculations. Push yourself, and try to be fast and accurate in your work.
These are just a few ideas for properly studying for DIVE Math and Science tests. If you are not doing as well as you would like on your tests, these tips may help you. Of course, don’t forget to pray! Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” If we call to Him through humble prayer, He will answer us and teach us great and mighty things about His creation!
Do you have any suggestions for studying for Saxon tests or DIVE quarterly exams? If so, please leave a comment!