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Assessments of some form are usually an unavoidable part of the learning process. While you may see them as a great chance to gauge how much your students are learning, and what they will take away from the course, your students may have a different opinion of them. Doing things like exams and essays can be seen as an extremely stressful and undesirable part of training, but a little preparation can go a long way to making sure your students are ready to be assessed.
While it is obviously up to them to make sure they are paying attention in class, and also perhaps studying in their own time, there are also things you can do as a teacher or trainer to make their assessment preparation go smoothly.
Let’s take a look at some things you can do to help, to make sure your students are as ready for their assessment as possible!
One great way you can help your students get ready for something like an exam is to make them sit a practise exam. One thing that is quite stressful about sitting an exam is the fear of the unknown. Sitting a practise exam can be a great way to show your students how the exam will run on the day, how much time they will have to answer questions, and what sort of things will be covered in the exam paper.
You’ll obviously want to use different questions from the ones that will be used in the actual exam, but practise papers let your students see how many questions they will have to answer, as well as if there are larger, essay style questions they need to prepare for.
You can either draw up a practise exam yourself, which is quite similar to what you’ll be using on the day but with different content, or you can simply re-use old exam papers that you won’t be using for a final assessment again.
It’s a good idea to run a couple of these throughout your course, as seeing how they will be assessed at the end of the course lets your students see how and what they should be studying.
If you’re not planning on having an exam as the final assessment, you may want to use something like a review session instead of a practise exam to help your students feel totally prepared.
Review sessions should be a dedicated sessions where your students can discuss with you, and each other, the course content they are having difficulties with. Talking things through with other people is a great way for everyone to get a better understanding of the topic, and the teacher should act as the chair, to make sure the discussion stays on track, and students aren’t confusing any information.
It’s important to give your students ample warning that this session will be taking place, as it will give them time to think up questions, and pinpoint areas of the course which they don’t feel totally comfortable with.
Sessions like this also let you see how well your students have understood the course so far, and if you identify any gaps in the knowledge of the class, it may be a good idea to use any upcoming training sessions to try and cover those gaps before assessments take place.
In order to help your students with their studying, it may be a good idea to provide them with study material so they have something to look over in preparation for assessments.
If you include presentations in your training, you may want to provide your students with a copy of the slides you used. This will let them see the key points you covered, so they know which aspects of the course to focus on when it comes to revising. However, it may be a good idea to hand out copies of the presentation at the end of the class, as handing it out at the beginning may put them off taking any notes of their own. It can also be distracting if they are sitting reading your sheets on their desk, as opposed to listening to you talk. Having both a copy of the presentation, and their own notes, will let them hopefully have a full understanding of the material.
You can also run things like quizzes every few sessions, which will work like mini practise exams, and let students recap on the past few training sessions. Giving your students copies of these quizzes, and even their practise exams, will let them look back over their answers, and review the questions they got wrong. This also means they can see which parts of the course they are comfortable with, and which ones they need to focus on a little more.
As with the review sessions, talking through the course material with other class members can really help your students get a better understanding of the course and what they have learned from it. A great way to encourage group work and discussion could be to assign a small group work task towards the end of the course.
You could give each group a different topic to focus on, and ask them to prepare something like a short presentation, or a mind map on the topic, which will then be shown to the class. Hopefully the time spent preparing the finished product for the rest of the class will let the students discuss their understanding of the topic, and ask questions on things they need further explanation on.
When they present to the class, it will mean you can see how well your students have understood the course material, and as mentioned above, you may wish to cover some points further in later training sessions.
Your students will also benefit from seeing the other groups in the class present on different topics, as it can help to hear about a topic from a different angle, which may help something click into place which was missing before.
Overall, it’s important to make sure you are helping your students prepare for their final assessments to make sure they take away as much from your class as possible. While they obviously need to put in their own time studying, you’ll want to make sure that you are giving them as much knowledge as possible before they face that final assessment.
Having students do badly in an assessment is not only bad for them, as they may fail your class, but it also reflects badly on the teacher if you have a lot of students who are failing. You want to show that your course and teaching style are successful, as it will encourage people to take your class in the future.
Getting good results at the end of a class is great for everyone, so making sure your students are as prepared as possible is really important for everyone involved. Make sure you take a little time in the run up to assessments to help your students through the process, and that way everyone will be happier and feel more prepared!
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