TIPS FOR EXAM PREPARATION
Because each exam covers ample material -- drawn from the lectures, textbook, coursepack, and discussion sections -- you will maximize your exam performance if you: (a) keep up with the reading, take thorough lecture notes, and participate in section; and (b) adopt an active studying strategy to prepare for exams. Below are some suggestions regarding the second point. Here are 3 tips for active studying: TIP 1. Identify all the key ideas and concepts in the readings and lectures. In the textbook, these are often presented in boldface and in margin notes. In the lectures, draw from the opening outline and notes from subsequent slides. The lecture slides can be printed off the Web. TIP 2. Work to master the definitions of key ideas, concepts, and/or theories, and to understand the underlying issues and boundary conditions. For example, ask yourself: What social phenomenon was this idea developed to explain and why? When does this idea come into play? How is it different from (and similar to) other key ideas you've learned? TIP 3. Most importantly, work to recognize and generate "real-life" examples that illustrate key ideas. In other words, don't stop at mastering the abstract social psychological terminology. Develop your confidence in applying each abstract idea or concept or theory to real-life, personal and social experiences. So, for each abstract term, come up with a concrete real-life example of it. Once you have identified such an example -- critique it! Is this a "good" example of the abstract concept? Why or why not? Can you think of a better or another example? It is precisely this sort of flexible and adept crossing from (a) abstract social psychological terms to (b) real world events and experiences, that we aim to assess in each exam. Once you've developed confidence with Tips 1 and 2 above, Tip 3 can be fruitfully taken up in pairs or small groups.