How To Excel in College Examinations
What is college education all about? College Education is about mature reasoning. Consequently, college examinations test your ability to reason about a subject matter. The reasoning is very vital for solving real world problems and decision making. This is why after graduating from college you are expected to have the ability to solve problems on the job. Through reasoning, you can determine what is true and what is false; you can determine what is good and what is bad; you can analyze and interpret a situation; you can examine a situation and predict its future outcome. “Therefore developing your ability to reason is the key to excellence in college examinations,” Below are key tips on how to develop your reasoning ability.
Tip 1: Focus on Understanding and Mastering Principles
Principles provide a framework or model for understanding and reasoning about any subject matter. What is a principle? According to Macmillan Dictionary, a principle is a basic belief, theory, or rule that has a major influence on the way in which something is done. Essentially, a principle is a rule that governs how something works.
Principles make things predictable. For example, in Biology there is a principle known as “Survival of the Fittest.”Based on this principle you can reason and predict that whenever there is a scarcity of resources, people will compete and fight, and the strongest or wisest among them will grab hold of the resources. In the context of work, people always compete for jobs and the best candidates always win the jobs. Using the same principle, when you find someone who is failing in life, you can work backward and investigate the areas in life where he is not fit.
Therefore, understanding the principles behind subjects that you study at college enables you to reason about and solve any problem in examinations.
Tip 2: Read Widely
Every single author of a book presents a unique perspective on a subject. To thoroughly understand a particular subject, you then have to study it from several perspectives. As a result, to gain an in-depth understanding of a subject, you have to read many books. For instance, if you have a friend and you know only his strengths (one perspective), then you don’t really know him. However, if you know both his strengths and weaknesses (two perspectives), then you have a full understanding of him. Consequently, you will know when to push him hard and when to go slow on him. Additionally, you will have the information that explains his achievements and failures.
Another benefit of reading widely is that you encounter many case studies, examples, and illustrations that explain the workings of principles. Moreover, when you read widely, you learn more facts and expert opinions that guide and enrich your reasoning.
Tip 3: Reflect Upon the Workings of Principles
Observe and think about the things going on in your life, in your environment and in your industry. Evaluate these things in the light of well-established principles. Isolate the challenges being faced and explain their cause using appropriate principles. In addition, design solutions for these challenges using appropriate principles. Examine the principles themselves and identify any weaknesses in them. Consequently, learn how one principle can complement the weaknesses of another principle.
When you reflect upon how principles work and relate them to real life situations, you understand the principles better and it improves your ability to reason about them during exams.
Tip 4: Express Whatever you Study in Your own Words
Re-writing, paraphrasing and explaining whatever you study in your own words, enables you to process the information and understand it better. While at college, I realized that whenever I attempted to explain things to my colleagues in discussions, I understood the things better. Make it a reading habit to express the key points that you learn in your own words.