The Six Facets of Understanding: A Great Way to Prep for Tests

Hooray! Midterms are on their way out with Halloween on its way in. Maybe you didn’t necessarily get the exams scores you wanted. If that’s your case, take a bit of advice from the maker of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, Mary Shelley, and realize that “the beginning is always today.” There will be more tests to come this semester. You can succeed on those. To help you prepare, you may want to use what educators call the six facets of understanding. These six facets check to see if you really comprehend what’s being taught—the same purpose as tests! They are as follows:

  1. Explanation: Can you explain the material to someone else? If you were to have a written response question on what it is you’re learning, could you do a good job with it? 
  2. Interpretation: What does the material mean? For example, what does the symbolism in that poem stand for? What is the data saying? 
  3. Application: Can you put the material you’re using into a real-life context? Conversions apply not only to math and science but most definitely to cooking, and color psychology applies to not only to designers but to anyone making paint choices for a living room! Even something as obscure as learning about performances in Ancient Rome can help you understand where modern sitcoms come from.
  4. Perspective: Who’s point of view is the information you’re learning coming from? For international relations majors, what countries are creating the arguments? What are their biases and alliances? For civil engineers, could the road be better designed? Why? 
  5. Empathy: Can you feel how others would? For marketing majors, can you tell how the consumer might react? Why might the professor feel like this topic is important? If they have value for something, chances are it could be on the test. 
  6. Self-Awareness: How well are you absorbing the information? What can you improve? Are your experiment-conducting skills up to par? After watching yourself in a mirror, are you really mastering those dance steps you learned in Ballroom? How could you edit your essays to be more structurally sound? This facet takes a great amount of honesty and really pays off in the end.

Remember that your understanding may come bit by bit over time. Just keep growing and don’t give up. Who knows? Maybe your next exam will be terrifyingly successful!

1 comment:

  1. This is really good advice! Thank you for this:-)