Saturday, April 04, 2009

Simple test to assess student learning skills

This quick true-false test on being a good student was written by Professor Frank Logan, former chair of the Yale department of psychology, and my college mentor at UNM. While Dr. Logan deliberately hid from fame (unlike his attention-hungry peers like B. F. Skinner at Harvard), Frank Logan deserves his place as one of the 20th centuries top behavioral scientists.

Are you a good student? Take Frank's test and find out!


Indicate whether the following statements are True or False. DO NOT GUESS---leave blank if not sure. Explain why they are true or false.
  1. In order to get passing grades (C), an average student should expect to spend a minimum of 3 times the number of credit hours being a student (that is, attending class and studying.)
  2. Even after completing an assignment, good students continue until they have put in the expected amount of time in order to insure that they don't develop the habit of working too fast.
  3. Optimistic students are especially conscious of how much they know.
  4. A good way to increase your commitment is to keep reminding yourself of how much you have left to learn.
  5. Most educated Americans would be functionally illiterate in Russia.
  6. In order to learn how to learn, you need to take a course or study a book about learning strategies.
  7. There is a maximum amount that you can learn and remember in any one day/night cycle.
  8. In order to be a good student, you should abstain from both sex and alcohol.
  9. A feeling of homesickness when you hear a familiar song illustrates the concept of a mental habit.
  10. As used in the Principle of Primacy, initial learning refers to childhood experiences.
  11. In dealing by yourself with your own personal problems, the most crucial step is to be sure that you have the true facts.
  12. According to the Principle of Minimizing Work, the easiest way to do something will usually prevail.
  13. Students who understand the Principle of Active Participation try to prevent information processing from becoming automatic.
  14. Practicing paying attention can improve one's voluntary control over selective attention.
  15. In general, it is better to rehearse course material word-for-word rather than trying to elaborate on it.
  16. By and large, general world knowledge is not verbal.
  17. Coding information involves making ideas meaningful to you.
  18. Good teachers cannot teach incompetent students, but good students can learn from incompetent teachers.
  19. In general, knowledge increases most rapidly at first, then gradually slows down.
  20. Information processing should culminate in integrating new information with existing knowledge.
  21. Intelligent people in positions of power refrain from judging other people by appearance.
  22. The more times that you have processed an item of information, the easier you can process it on subsequent occasions.
  23. Educated grammar is properly called "good" grammar because it is logical and consistent.
  24. Mental time-sharing requires doing several cognitive tasks more-or-less simultaneously.
  25. It would be grammatically correct to say that studying this book should be helpful for you and I.
  26. According to the Principle of Contiguity, if your writing is illegible, it's because you learned to write illegibly.
  27. In general, the lower your endowed intelligence, the more important motivation is.
  28. You should only take a few written notes during a lecture, even if you're having difficulty understanding it.
  29. If the information in a lecture is stated explicitly, you can learn it without having to process it yourself.
  30. Improving one verbal skill tends also to improve the other verbal skills.
  31. After a good college lecture, good students leave feeling refreshed.
  32. Information conveyed in lecture is more likely to be on tests than information only in the texts.
  33. A primary objective of giving exams in college courses is to identify poor students.
  34. When reciting the ideas in your lecture notes, it is usually okay to deviate from the words copied from lecture.
  35. In trying to understand a new idea, you should be sure to recite precisely what you read or heard.
  36. Learning is consolidated during sleep.
  37. Using mnemonics to aid memory is undesirable in college-level courses.
  38. All exams at every educational level are graded on a relative basis.
  39. The objective exam is easier than the essay exam, so you don't have to study for it so hard.
  40. The advice to spend at least half of your study time reciting means to put the ideas in different words.
  41. You can't have a positive attitude toward an exam until you know you know all the material.
  42. It is hard work to prepare for an exam even if you have kept up with your studies.
  43. If you are well prepared, you should not be apprehensive about exams.
  44. You should study differently for true-false and multiple-choice exams compared with essay exams.
  45. You should arrive to take an exam right at the last minute so you won't have time to wait around and get anxious.
  46. It is a good idea to mark up the exam sheet liberally.
  47. If in doubt, choose an answer that fits best with common sense.
  48. A good test-taking strategy is to skip items that you find difficult and return to them later if you have time.
  49. Only poor students use some guessing ritual, such as tossing a coin, when they don't know the answer to a multiple-choice item.
  50. You should give the answer that you know is correct even if it is different from what the professor said.
  51. Overall, most students are more likely to change answers from wrong to right.

Answer key:

You will have to read the text link below to find out WHY the correct answers to the above items are true for odd-numbered items and false for even-numbered items.

From The Quad-L (Logan's Literature and Laws of Learning). Dr. Logan’s work remains one of the best that I’ve ever seen, give it a read.

Logan’s Laws for being a good student