Exam Preparation Journals

Brief Description: John Bean's Engaging Ideas has a tremendous wealth of materials that integrate exploratory and formal writing activities. This particular activity allows students to prepare for an exam through informal writing throughout the semester.

Contributed by John Bean, Seattle University

This method provides strong intrinsic motivation for exploratory writing and uses course exams to drive a maximum amount of learning.  To use the method, the teacher, early in the course, gives out a list of essay questions from which midterm and final exam questions will be drawn.  Students are instructed to devote a section of their journals to each question.  Then students gradually work out answers to the questions as course material builds and develops.  Some teachers allow students to use their preparation journals during the exams.
                         -- John Bean, Engaging Ideas:  The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2001), 109.