Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Exam Tip: The Bloom Test - Knowing exactly what to study for a masters degree!

After this session you'll know two answers:

How to study, which technique to use.
How to study for a specific exam when you have a specific professor asking specific questions.

So, it will be much easier for you to prepare for an exam. To help you with this one, I come up with Benjamin Bloom, a canadian professor.

The american government gave him this question: Benjamin, when we teach history to our kids, how do we know that they actually know what we taught them?

It took Benjamin Bloom like three years to figure this out. Then he came up with this concept:

Today this model still hold up.
When I was getting my master of law, it was a little bit different but basically this is the explanation of the terms:

Exhibit memory of learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers.
Knowledge of specifics - terminology, specific facts
Knowledge of ways and means of dealing with specifics - conventions, trends and sequences, classifications and categories, criteria, methodology
Knowledge of the universals and abstractions in a field - principles and generalizations, theories and structures
Questions like: What are the health benefits of eating apples?

Demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating the main ideas
Questions like: Compare the health benefits of eating apples vs. oranges.

Using acquired knowledge. Solve problems in new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules.
Questions like: Would apples prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin C?

Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations
Analysis of elements
Analysis of relationships
Analysis of organizational principles
Questions like: List four ways of serving foods made with apples and explain which ones have the highest health benefits. Provide references to support your statements.

Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria
Judgments in terms of internal evidence
Judgments in terms of external criteria
Questions like: Which kinds of apples are best for baking a pie, and why?

Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements; it also refers the act of putting parts together to form a whole (Omari, 2006). Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions
Production of a unique communication
Production of a plan, or proposed set of operations
Derivation of a set of abstract relations
Questions like: Convert an "unhealthy" recipe for apple pie to a "healthy" recipe by replacing your choice of ingredients. Explain the health benefits of using the ingredients you chose vs. the original ones.

This is the trick, you create three groups:

1. Remembering and understanding
2. Applying and analyzing
3. Evaluating and creating

Students studying languages are naturally good at the first group. Why, well they have to remember a lot of words and practicing this groups makes you find solutions in how to do this.

Students studying sciences are naturally good at the second group. Why, well they have to analyze a lot of models and practicing this groups makes you find solutions in how to do this.

Students with dyslexia are naturally good at this third group. Why, well they are unable to read easily and have to find other solutions to solving their problems.

Now, and here it becomes very interesting! Even if you're not good in any of these, you can easily develop a learning skill by applying one of these three learning techniques:

group 1: Learning by heart or rote learning
group 2: using schemes or mind mapping
group 3: speed reading

A lot of study problems exist because you as a student only master one of the three group.

Example: if your good at rote learning but the professor asks only questions where you have to evaluate certain texts, you'll have a hard time doing that by rote learning. Hence, you hate that course and chances are you'll fail that course over and over again.

Just learn these three major study techniques and you'll be good at the three groups.

And now the kicker:
Most professors don't know Bloom and have never heard of the taxonomy. So, they just ask questions they think are important in your future career. In other words, they tend to stay in one group.

Just get the exam questions from the previous year and you know in advance how to study and which basic learning technique you'll better use to prepare for the exam. Makes things a lot easier, doesn't it?

Gate to your degree...

In your career, it is a different ball-game:

Certain professions like a lawyer use a lot of group 1 because you need to know a lot of details and words.

Applying is mostly important in the beginning of your professional career because you be asked to perform simple basic tasks all the time

Later in your career, as a C.E.O., you be mostly dealing with group 3

Last tip:

Every student I've known  and I've met during study coaching has a preference for one of the three groups.

If studying, try to start with your own preference learning group, hence learning techniques and then adjust to the style of the professors classes you're taking!

Gate to your degree...

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