Strategies for Leading Review Sections

(1) Break section into groups of 3-4 students to generate answers to practice questions

  • For example, if you have 15 practice questions and 20 students, break the students into 5 groups of 4 students each, and give each group of students 3 practice questions to work on

  • In addition to writing their answers, ask students to write down questions they have as they try to solve their practice problems. (These questions can motivate group discussions or their studying before the exam.)

  • After giving everyone time (10-20 min) to work in groups to answer their assigned practice questions, ask each group to share their answers. After the group shares their answers, ask the rest of the class if they have any follow up questions or if there is anything they’d like to add or tweak to each answer.

  • You can also ask each group to write their approach to answering each type of question in one Google doc, or in separate Google docs that you can compile later, so that everyone has a compiled copy by the end.

  • Go over the logistics of the exam to make sure everyone knows what to do (and doesn’t get tripped up on the easy logistical stuff during the test).


(2) Instead of asking students to answer practice questions in groups, ask them to evaluate example answers that you provide. You can provide them with a mix of good, bad, and great example answers for each practice question. Working in groups, the students are asked to identify which answers are fully correct and which need to be improved and then they work together to improve them.

  • Asking students to evaluate example answers, rather than generating their own answers, requires a bit more prep as you’d need to draft the good, bad, and great example answers for them to work on.

  • This approach comes with the added benefit of students developing the metacognitive skill of characterizing good and bad aspects of answers.


(3) Gamify review sessions


(4) Create a multiple-choice question set based on the material covered in the exam.

  • Students can answer individually (using Poll Everywhere or Echo360 or by raising 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to represent multiple choice options A, B, C, or D) or they can work in teams and they have to record their answer on a piece of paper collectively.


(5) “Graffiti board” review session:

  • Put big white sticky-pads all over the walls of the room, and put 1 or 2 practice questions on each. Then ask students to pair up and rotate through all the sticky pads and spend 3-5 minutes at each and to bullet point the main points that would need to be included for a full credit answer.

  • As the activity progresses, students can respond in writing to what prior students wrote on the sticky pads.


(6) Spend some time explicitly discussing effective ways to study for the test.

  • Share your favorite approaches to studying for a course like this.

    • How would you study alone?

    • How would you study in groups or with peers?

    • How would you use office hours or TAs?

    • What resources should students use as they prepare?

    • When should students prepare? (E.g., should they set aside 1-2 hrs every day to study a particular topic each day for a week leading up to the test?)

    • Should students post questions on Piazza, Ask Forum, or email you questions as they come up?