Preparation for geology tests might involve making study guides, writing and answering practice questions, practicing illustrations, reviewing lab assignments, and working with study groups (D. Applegate, C. Smith, CAL).
Study guides provide a concise summary of the information to be learned for the exam. The material may be arranged by topic or chapter, as the first example below. Or, the material may be grouped by the type of information, as the second example illustrates.
An excellent way to prepare for geology exams is to make up and answer practice questions. Find out what types of questions will be asked and make up your own sample questions. For additional ideas, refer to review questions at the end of each chapter in the book, or turn the section headings in the text into questions. Ask if there are old exams on reserve that may be studied.
Sample Multiple Choice Questions
Well-developed meanders, oxbow lakes, and u-shaped stream channels characterize which stage of stream development?
Most of the world's deserts are located at what latitude?
a. 30 degrees [correct]
Basalt and rhyolite are similar in that:
a. they have the same chemical composition
Sample True-False Questions
Creep is a rapid mass wasting process while slump is relatively slow. [false]
About 55% of the waste in U.S. landfills is paper and paper products. [true]
Quartz has a hardness of 7 according to the Mercalli scale. [false]
Sample Fill In Questions
The mineral _____ has a hardness of 3. [calcite]
Limonite belongs to the ____ group of minerals. [oxide]
_____ is the chemical weathering process by which water is added to a mineral. [Hydration]
Sample Essay Questions
Compare and contrast shield and composite volcanoes in terms of shape, eruption, magma, and location. Be sure to give examples of each.
What features delineate youthful, mature, and old age stream systems?
Using illustrations, explain the process of magmatic differentiation.
Draw, label, and explain the significance of Bowen's reaction series. How does it relate to Goldich's weathering series?
Practice reproducing, labeling, and explaining the important figures, graphs, and charts presented in class or in the text. For instance, students in an introductory geology course can almost count on being asked to draw, label, and explain the three types of plate boundaries, the four types of mountains, the difference between foliated and nonfoliated metamorphic rocks, and the distribution of deserts on the earth. Preparing to draw illustrations becomes even more important in upper level geology courses.
If separate lab tests are not given, and perhaps even if they are, expect to see information presented in labs on the lecture tests. Be sure you understand the lab material and can remember it for the test.
Work with other students when preparing for tests. Assign each member of the study group a chapter to summarize or to write practice questions. Quiz each other on the material. Take turns teaching the other members of the study group or drawing illustrations on the board.