Advice for students preparing to take an online midterm exam

note: I wrote this post to my botany students. It is an example for online professors and actual advice for any student who is interested in the general advice for studying t 🙂

~ Here we come- take a break/study…a strange dichotomy. We don’t actually take a spring break in the online schedule but we have worked hard to observe a sort of spring break. All you have to do is maintain your growth readings and study. No discussions this week. No labs due. Thanks for a great Module 3 discussion. Just when we get really into the swing of it, we take a break. Sigh.

Each day, I will post a question or two from the midterm to help you study. Here is one for today:

Which of the following is NOT a group of mosses of phylum Bryophyta?

A) Peat mosses

B) Granite mosses

C) Club mosses

D) Bryidae

E) Andreaeidae

There is no substitute for actual practice. Research shows that more time spent reading the original text does not confer more achievement. What works the best is retrieval practice, in other words, using the information by taking practice tests, interacting with the materials available through the textbook website, writing out short answers, writing outlines and notes, having a conversation. Retrieval practice is what we are doing in discussion :-). Here is a reference published in Science:

Karpicke, J. D., & Blunt, J. R. (2011). Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. Science331(6018), 772-775.

Keep in mind that scientists remember scientific and mathematical information because they use it every day. No one has to take written tests at work, right? So, simulate being at work and practice thinking about botany every day. When you see a bud on a tree in this beautifully warm weather, wonder “which part is the sepal?” Look for protists in your everyday life. Identify the anatomical features of the vegetables you eat in your salad at lunch. Find a male and a female cone from that gymnosperm you walk by after work. Watch emergence of the kochia…count their density (truly amazing!)


Don’t forget about all the retrieving we already did in our past discussions. I recommend that you spend 10 minutes a day reading through our discussions, compiling notes, etc to prepare for the exam. The more prepared you are, the better! You only have one attempt for the midterm but the midterm is compiled from the same question bank from which the unit quizzes are drawn.

Week 8: Midterm

Take Growth Lab readings Midterm Comprehensive Exam (covers Ch. 1-4, 7, 10-12, 16-20 and Labs), due end of Week 8

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