Osteopathic faculty write text to help standardized test takers

April 3, 2012, Michigan State University

Three years ago, Donald Sefcik, senior associate dean of Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, set out to write a guide to help medical and physician assistant students study for standardized tests.

One of his editor's first suggestions was to expand the audience to students of all health professions; a second editor enlarged the target further to include anyone involved with standardized testing - high school, college and professional students and the people who advise them.

The result is a new text of more than 200 pages called How to Study for Standardized Tests, published by Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Working with co-authors Gillian Bice, director of academic and professional development at MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Frank Prerost, professor of family medicine at the Midwestern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sefcik took the approach of writing about the process of preparation, independent of content.

The result is a handbook that is nearly universally applicable, whether a student is preparing for the ACT, SAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT or professional board exams.

The team based the book on a game/sports analogy of performance enhancement and the firm belief that few students are inherently poor at such testing but need to be trained in the skills to succeed.

Major themes in the book include:

• Performance is related to behavior, the movement from goals to plans to action.
• Self-regulation - monitoring and making adjustments - is vital to achievement.
• An attitude of self-effectiveness is powerful. Those who view as a challenge to conquer do better than those who view them as something that's an external mandate.
• Pacing is important during timed tests, and that requires specific practice in making on-the-fly decisions about how long to spend on the tough questions.

"We advise our readers that when they are taking course exams, those tests are like leaping little hurdles, but a standardized test is more like a pole vault," Sefcik said. "Both require discipline and training, but the training is different for each."

Explore further: Bullying may contribute to lower test scores

Related Stories

Bullying may contribute to lower test scores

August 7, 2011
High schools in Virginia where students reported a high rate of bullying had significantly lower scores on standardized tests that students must pass to graduate, according to research presented at the 119th Annual Convention ...

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.