Rehearsing lessons with quizzes

This study technique could work for you.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 02:29 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 02:29 IST

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An announcement of a test is welcomed only by diligent students who put in regular hours of study and are eager to face the challenge. The majority of students are unenthusiastic, even fearful.

Tests need not be an ordeal if students thoroughly know their prescribed texts throughout the academic year and not just at the end of each term. Recap sessions, wherein teachers ask questions on chapters they have taught earlier, are useful. A drawback, however, is that a few students tend to be articulate while several sit in silence. There is nothing like written assignments to assess individual progress, but that brings us back to tests.

Tests cannot be completely avoided, but quizzes could be occasional, enjoyable substitutes. We are not talking about team competitions. As with recap oral interaction, those may lack proper participation. A quiz on paper, with each student working by himself/herself, is sure to prove a worthwhile exercise. 

So, what sort of questions would comprise a quiz? Anything requiring long answers must be avoided. Quiz questions should ideally be framed to elicit single-word responses, and there can be various types. 

The first could read as follows: ‘State whether each of the following is True (T) or False (F).’ This is followed by statements, and every teacher can adapt them to suit his/ her subject. Take this example from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’: ‘Macbeth is alone when he first meets the witches.’ Anyone paying the slightest attention in class will write F, since the teacher would have pointed out that Macbeth is with another person, explaining that they react differently to the strange beings. Naturally, all questions in this, or any other category, will not be so basic, but sprinkling simple questions helps slower students gain confidence.

Picking the odd one out

Next, there could be ‘Pick the odd one out.’ In a list based on a lesson on metals, brass as an alloy stands out from copper, brass, zinc and iron. Among Mt Fuji, Etna, Cotopaxi and the Rockies, the last one is not a volcanic mountain. These odd-one-out questions are allied to MCQs. Multiple-choice questions are here to stay, not just in school or college but also in competitive exams, and students can score highly in this area.

Odd-one-out questions train them to tackle MCQs, though the latter are worded differently and far less tricky. For instance, an MCQ might read: ‘Which of these is not a planet: Mars, Saturn, Pluto, Neptune?’ Much easier than if one had to work out what was common to three out of four before choosing Pluto, the dwarf planet. 

'Match the following'

A quiz could also have ‘Match the following,’ in which items must be paired with others. ‘Perceptive’, halfway down Column A, corresponds with its synonym ‘discerning’, at the top or bottom of Column B, rather than with any other word. ‘Insightful’ or ‘observant’ cannot feature in Column B, since they mean much the same as ‘perceptive’ and ‘discerning’, and would therefore confuse the students.

There is absolutely no room for ambiguity. Who was Shah Jahan’s son? That is a bad question. The teacher has Aurangzeb in mind, but what about Dara, Murad and Shuja? Creators of quizzes must ensure that every question has only one right answer. This makes for clear-cut corrections of the answer scripts. After the results are declared, a prize distribution (pens, bookmarks, chocolates) would be a fitting finale. 

(The author is an English teacher in a Bengaluru-based school)

Published 28 May 2024, 02:29 IST

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