Why take 20 weeks for the PE test review?

24-06-2021

When I started teaching a mechanical engineering physical education exam revision course, sometime in the early 1990s, the course was taught in a classroom with PowerPoint slides and an overhead projector. I know, old school. But I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t by teaching variations of this course over the years. In the end, I found that 20 weeks of review time was optimal for a physical education exam review. And that’s why all of my online physical education test review courses are based on a 20 week time frame. I offer shortened or extended versions of these courses, but they are all based on this ideal of 20 weeks. So what are the 20 weeks that work so well? Let’s take a look at some of the experiences that led to this discovery.

In the 1990s, as now, the exam was offered twice a year in early or mid-April and in late October or early November. With the first classes that I taught, through the Industrial Extension Service of the North Carolina State University School of Engineering, the schedule was dictated by the semester calendar of the university. As a result, the courses started 10 weeks before the exam. Teaching with a partner, we conduct a 3 hour class per week. I remember taking the first part of my first night to provide an overview of the exam, an exam strategy, and other information on what to bring or not to bring to the exam. So it was more or less an information transfer bomb.

At some point, a former student asked us to conduct a ME PE review at his company. We decided to extend the course and slow things down. We went from 10 weeks to 15, which worked much better. We were asked to do the review the following year and pushed it further to 30 weeks, meeting for just 2 hours a night instead of 3, with time off for summer break. That period of time turned out to be too long. At some point around 20 weeks seemed to be optimal, and we also realized that we needed more than just presenting material. Spending more time solving problems was critical to success.

Twenty weeks became my standard for physical education test reviews, and it has been my model review course ever since. Over the years, as I refined my reviews, I became more convinced than ever that this is the optimal time frame for a successful review. To understand why, it helps to think about what you are really trying to do. You are trying to pass a very specific exam that tests you on the engineering concepts you learned in college. That’s. To do that, you need to relearn things that you knew at one point and be able to apply that knowledge quickly in an exam setting. That breaks down into two key factors: (1) understanding and (2) ability to apply that understanding. Physical education exams cover a lot of ground, with numerous topics and subtopics. Really absorbing the information necessary to understand these topics and practicing applying that knowledge takes time. This is not an exam where you can just improvise.

Fortunately, you are not learning everything from scratch. You are relearning; Otherwise, 20 weeks would not be enough. As you review, you should shake off the cobwebs of concepts and equations that you once knew well. Therefore, a certain amount of your review time should be devoted to that re-familiarization process, but only part of it. A good portion of those 20 weeks must be spent solving exam-type problems. In other words: practice, practice, practice. And finally, you should spend some time organizing your references and resources so that you can access all of this information quickly during the exam. That organizing process will take some of your valuable review time, but its effectiveness should not be overlooked or underestimated. When you sit down to take the test, you will be under a tremendous amount of stress. Without confidence in your knowledge, problem-solving skills, and ability to find the information you need, it’s easy to get bogged down or into a total panic. Building trust takes time.

Which brings me back after 20 weeks. That time frame takes into account that most people will review and at the same time have jobs, families, and lives that require most of their time. Therefore, they will include your review in an already crowded calendar. For my 20 week reviews today, I recommend 15-20 hours per week for review. 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week, most people can make that work. It’s about rebuilding your knowledge, your skill, and your confidence. Start too early and your familiarity with the material and solutions may fade before you get to the exam. Start too late and the information won’t sink in and you won’t have time to practice or get organized enough. So it’s 20 weeks.

Before closing, I want to offer some hope to those who have read this and are thinking, “I can’t spend 15-20 hours a week on my review, what am I supposed to do?” or “The exam is only 12 weeks away, is it useless for me?” While I strongly believe that 20 weeks is the optimal time frame, that doesn’t mean a shorter or longer review won’t work. In fact, I offer a compressed and extended version of my 20-week review, and I have many participants scoring well on the exam in both courses. The key to making these shorter and longer reviews work is realizing that you are pushing the limits a bit and working to make up for it. If your review is shorter, you will need to spend more time each week to be effective. If your review is longer, you should make sure you allow yourself time to revisit the material you previously learned in your review as you get closer to the exam. In fact, even in my 20 week reviews, we recommend that participants leave 3 weeks before the exam to review the above material and the final preparation for the exam.

Finally, I would like to leave you a few words of encouragement. You can pass this exam. Beyond relearning, practicing, and organizing, it’s about having a clear mind and calm spirit during the exam. If you take adequate time to learn what to learn, perfect the skills you need to master, and have all your resources at your fingertips, you will have that clear mind and calm spirit and you will pass. Experience has shown me, year after year.

Dr tom

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