High School Exams vs. College Exams

High School Exams vs. College Exams

Explore the differences between tests in high school and college.

Participating in class can help you remember information that may show up on a college exam.

As you leave high school behind and look forward to college, one of the biggest things to prepare for is the difference between high school tests and college exams. While high school exams tend to be small in scope, college exams are usually much more encompassing, covering more material and topics.

General Differences in High School and College Exams

Some material covered in high school and college courses may overlap, whether it is reading a book for an English course or studying a mathematical concept. What is different is how the material is approached when it comes time for exams.

High school tests tend to be given more frequently than college tests. Therefore, high school exams cover less material than college exams. Quizzes may also be given between exams in both high school and college.

High school tests tend to be longer than college exams. This can be deceiving, however, as a college exam may consist of one question that covers the same information that a high school test would have broken up into several questions or sections.

Test vs. Quiz

In addition to tests, quizzes also fill up part of the learning experience. Quizzes are usually shorter and less encompassing than college exams or high school tests. There are usually more quizzes than tests, and quizzes count for a lesser percentage when calculating your final grade in a course.

Study Time

Many high school students are stupefied when they take their first college exam. At most high schools, little out-of-class studying is required before a test, but in college it’s important to allow plenty of time and follow good study strategies.

Preparation for a college exam begins on the first day of class, as soon as the professor hands out the syllabus. Consider the syllabus an outline for preparing for the course test. The syllabus contains information on what will be covered on that test.

Often professors have a favorite topic, which comes up over and over during lectures. Whether it is class distinction, a famous philosophy or a theme, make sure you take plenty of notes on this topic. This will be to your advantage when it comes to exam time.

Test Preparation

Before the big exam, allow yourself plenty of time to review material covered in class.

Participating in class can help you remember information that may show up on a college exam. While professors in big schools may not seem to know who you are, participation in class can help you stand out, and showing you are engaged in the material can help elevate your college test scores.

Retain everything. Keep track of any handouts, as well as quizzes, essays and any other materials given out before test time. Going over these can help you on exam day. Material thought worthy of a quiz or paper is also likely to be worthy of a test.

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