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Advice for exams on the computer

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albe

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To those who have taken computer exams,

The medical school I will be attending will administer all exams on a computer. This will be something new for me, as my previous exams (undergrad, MCAT) were all on Scantron or written out on paper.

I understand that the conveniences of paper exams will be lost (circling questions I want to double check, marking out answer choices, etc). For those of you who have transitioned to computer exams, would you please share strategies that have worked for you? Any tips would be appreciated.

Thank you.
 
N

njbmd

To those who have taken computer exams,

The medical school I will be attending will administer all exams on a computer. This will be something new for me, as my previous exams (undergrad, MCAT) were all on Scantron or written out on paper.

I understand that the conveniences of paper exams will be lost (circling questions I want to double check, marking out answer choices, etc). For those of you who have transitioned to computer exams, would you please share strategies that have worked for you? Any tips would be appreciated.

Thank you.

The computer administered exams will vary somewhat depending on what software your school uses. Most use Blackboard (or something similar). The software tells the instructor when you logged on and how long you were on the site. You can mark questions and the computer will usually tell you if you have skipped something. Other than reading off the screen, there actually isn't much difference. As a professor, I can monitor my student's progress individually and communicate individually. It's also nice not to have tons of exams floating around too. The computer grades the exams and logs the grades which in a class of 100 or more, is quite helpful and more accurate.

The same test-taking strategies that work on paper, work for the computer. Things like:
  • Read every question on the exam before you begin.
  • Work efficiently, that is, not spending too much time on any one question.
  • Answer the questions that you know first and come back to the ones that you don't know.
  • Read every answer choice and choose the BEST answer.
  • Beware of the "every","all" and "never" adjectives as they frequently make True-False questions False.

It is 2007 and the computer plays a huge part in your medical education and future practice. It's a pretty seamless transition and certainly more efficient than pencil and paper.
 

Law2Doc

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To those who have taken computer exams,

The medical school I will be attending will administer all exams on a computer. This will be something new for me, as my previous exams (undergrad, MCAT) were all on Scantron or written out on paper.

I understand that the conveniences of paper exams will be lost (circling questions I want to double check, marking out answer choices, etc). For those of you who have transitioned to computer exams, would you please share strategies that have worked for you? Any tips would be appreciated.

Thank you.

It's a pain to make the transition for some, but the board exams are computer based too so you might as well get used to it. In some ways it's better -- most programs let you flag things you want to come back to, keep good track of time left, and your grade can be back to you quicker. But reading on computer is harder on the eyes in my opinion. The only tip is relax -- after an exam or two you get used to it.
 

Husky85

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I know this will probably be system-specific...but for the computer tests can you go back and change an answer once you've entered it and moved on in the test or do finished questions lock as soon as you select an answer and move to the next question?

I ask this because often while testing I read a question later in the test that reminds me of something I did earlier and indicates that I should change an answer I made.
 

Law2Doc

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I know this will probably be system-specific...but for the computer tests can you go back and change an answer once you've entered it and moved on in the test or do finished questions lock as soon as you select an answer and move to the next question?

I ask this because often while testing I read a question later in the test that reminds me of something I did earlier and indicates that I should change an answer I made.

Certainly at some schools you can go back and even flag things to go back to at the end. But test taking gurus will tell you to always go with your first instinct unless you are really really sure it's wrong.
 

Husky85

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Certainly at some schools you can go back and even flag things to go back to at the end. But test taking gurus will tell you to always go with your first instinct unless you are really really sure it's wrong.

Yea...I know the first thought is usually the best...I just wanted to make sure that the software would allow you the option of revising your answers before closing the test.
 

MSKalltheway

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As L2D pointed out you'll have to get used to it because all of your boards (and shelf exams too?) are on the computer. Maryland gives all their exams on computer and its really not as bad as I thought it would be. During every exam I get up a couple times to go to the bathroom or just to get my eyes off the screen...it is difficult to stare at a computer for 3-4 hours. You'll be used to it probably halfway through your first exam, the stress will force you to adjust almost immediately :laugh:
 

MSKalltheway

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Yea...I know the first thought is usually the best...I just wanted to make sure that the software would allow you the option of revising your answers before closing the test.

Our software does allow us to do this. If yours won't, I'm sure that you and many of your classmates will soon want it that way! We actually get an approximate score right away too (cause they usually throw out a question or two), so it can be a great day or terrible one:eek:
 

SoCuteMD

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As L2D pointed out you'll have to get used to it because all of your boards (and shelf exams too?) are on the computer.

All my tests were paper and pencil, including my shelf exams. Step 1 was my first computerized testing experience. I got used to using the computerized testing system during my Step 1 prep and did just fine :)D) on Step 1.
 
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