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Author Topic: Learning, Studying vs. Test Taking  (Read 6712 times)
AA4HA
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Posts: 1568




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« on: January 25, 2011, 12:29:18 PM »

There is a really interesting article in the New York Times that references a study regarding how we learn. Apparently taking a test results in more learning than just by "studying" the materials.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/science/21memory.html?src=me&ref=general

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/01/19/science.1199327.abstract

While I encourage folks who want to earn a license to get a license manual and to read it from cover to cover at least once, do as many practice questions on the internet and then sit for a test. It appears that by repeatedly taking the practice tests you can retain more than in the traditional "book, notes, highlighter" method.

I am mixed in my opinions on this. "Studying for a test" does not give the depth or breadth or knowledge as a formalized learning process but it may get you a license. Unfortunately there is always going to be some percentage of any community that stops learning at that point (lawyers, hams, doctors, engineers).

Ms. Tisha Hayes
AA4HA
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
NI0C
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Posts: 2418




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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 04:10:18 AM »

In my experience (teaching electricity & electronics at a community college), grappling with problems is nearly always more productive for my students than staring at a book.  When I review a new textbook, the first thing I look at are the problems given at the end of the chapters.  I can teach from a good problem set, and I generally ignore the worked out examples given in the text. 

73,
Chuck  NI0C

 
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N3DF
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Posts: 252




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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 08:42:20 AM »

Not sure about engineers, but lawyers and doctors (and CPAs) have continuing professional education requirements in order to be periodically re-licensed. 
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Neil N3DF
KJ1D
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 11:38:58 AM »

When studing for my exams I worked thru the books as well as used the on-line tests. When I was consistantly scoring in the 80s on the on-line tests I went and took the exam. I only missed one question.
But, I guess everyone needs to use the method that works best for them.
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AB3MO
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2011, 09:06:46 AM »

As a retired college professor, taught chemistry, who has taken a lot of tests: graduate school, FAA (private, instrument), SCUBA certification, for example, I can tell you that the best learning comes from active participation -- paper to eyes to brain to hand back to paper.  Work as many numerical problems as you can and do practice tests -- the wording of test questions differs from the textbook encounter of ideas and principles (don't get caught in the memory trap, you want logical reasoning flexibility) and become accustomed to the testing environment.  This took me from a 50 year absence (as WN1HTD and W1HTD (conditional)) to AB3MO (Am Ex) in three-four months of easy (for me) studying.  Code would be (is) a different situation, but taking an active role there with available computer study programs is such an improvement.
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NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2011, 12:28:08 PM »

Here's a related story:

A number of years ago I decided I'd like to learn to speak Spanish, so I signed up for an extension class at my local community college.  No textbook, no testing, no grading.  I learned nothing.  I tried another extension class- same results.

I decided to sign up for a for-credit evening class at the same community college.  Textbook, homework, tests, mid-term, final exam.  Guess what: I learned how to speak Spanish.

Gracias y Setenta y Tres

Bill in Pasadena
Ahora puedo hablar Espanol
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N2EY
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Posts: 3908




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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 02:43:12 AM »

I think there's a bit of a circular argument to all this.

Say we have two groups, one of which "learns the material" and the other "studies for the test".

How do we determine which group really knows the material better?

We give them a test!

Seems pretty clear to me that those who studied for a test will do better.

An analogy:

Suppose we take two groups of out-of-shape people, and put them on fitness regimens (daily workouts, etc.)

We tell both groups that the goal is to improve their overall fitness. But we tell only the first group that they will be tested after a certain number of weeks by having to do a mile run.

Which group do you think will do better at the mile run at the end of the training?

---

I think the business about "studying the test" vs. "learning the material" is really about the fact that, in the bad old days before Bash and the VE system, we didn't have access to the actual Q&A that would be used on the test.

So most hams would "overlearn" - they'd learn far more than the actual test would require.

This was a result of the testing *method*, not the test *content*.

73 de Jim, N2EY


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W3HF
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Posts: 696


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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 05:23:58 AM »

I think the business about "studying the test" vs. "learning the material" is really about the fact that, in the bad old days before Bash and the VE system, we didn't have access to the actual Q&A that would be used on the test.

So most hams would "overlearn" - they'd learn far more than the actual test would require.

This was a result of the testing *method*, not the test *content*.
Jim -

I hadn't thought of it this way before, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks for pointing it out.

Steve
W3HF
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VE4EGL
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 06:53:39 AM »

I am mixed in my opinions on this. "Studying for a test" does not give the depth or breadth or knowledge as a formalized learning process but it may get you a license. Unfortunately there is always going to be some percentage of any community that stops learning at that point (lawyers, hams, doctors, engineers).

I think it depends on how the person learns and what their motivation is.  As a hands-on learner, I can't imagine how I'd know what I know without the practical experience I got after my license.  I knew what everything was but I never really understood any of it until I was in the hot seat.  Knowing that, I did just study for the test and I believe it was the right decision.  My wife learns best by studying everything there is to know but her only motivation is to have another means of contacting me (I don't have a cell phone) so I don't think she'll spend more time than it takes to pass but she'll probably know more than I did after the exam.
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I used to think you needed an elaborate setup to work DX, then I made a QSO 3,000 miles away using a dipole 8ft off the ground in the middle of a forest.
SLICKCHOOCH
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 08:00:37 PM »

Very interesting topic. Yesterday I took all three tests and passed them and am awaiting my official ticket in the mail.
I studied extremely hard for 4 weeks, practically everyday. Admittedly I did take about 3 days off and didn't study at all.

I passed the no-code tech in 95 and let my ticket lapse because I could not get to the next level because of code and lost interest in the hobby.

Fast-forward to about 5 weeks ago and through the encouragement of a couple of friends I crammed like crazy and took the tests Saturday.

Do I know everything there is to know...of course not. Did I pass the tests which will allow me to experiment and grow my knowledge...yes.

I'll admit my test taking abilities help greatly.....but the real credit goes to Gordon West preparation books, and the flash cards and mock tests on eham and qrz.

The resources are much more accessible now than in 95....thanks to that wonderful Al Gore invention....the internet
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2825




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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2011, 09:09:05 PM »

You do know that you don't have to wait until your "official ticket" shows up in the mail, don't you?  As soon as you show up in the ULS, you're good to go.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
SLICKCHOOCH
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 03:57:37 PM »

yes.....tried navigating around the fcc site.....but as usual with any
govt entity....it was painful.....my cert has the link on it, i'll have to bring
it to work with me so i can check it out......i'll also have to dust off the
mighty radio shack handheld until i can get a hf rig going
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