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Tip of the Week
Find the hardest part first, but don't try to finish it right away
Here is a great tip from Barbara Oakley to help students save time and reduce anxiety on tests and homework. Direct students to begin thinking about the hardest part first. Rather than sequentially answering questions one at a time, students should first scan the entire test and identify the most difficult questions. But do not spend too much time on them yet. Once the hardest parts are identified, go back and answer the easier questions.
Photo by Gia Oris on Unsplash
A couple of things are happening here. One, it helps you manage your time and make sure you get points for answering the easier questions. Two, answering the easier questions boosts your confidence. Finally, this can engage the brain's "dual processor" -- while focusing on the easier question, the more relaxed, background diffuse mode is chipping away at possible solutions. As we have all likely experienced, solutions to difficult problems often come at unexpected moments when we are not directly thinking about it. The hard start can help catalyze this process to work in your favor while taking tests!
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