December 7, 2009, 03:00PM PT in Exam Preparation Blog |
Vocabulary is an often overlooked study tool. You read through the manual, struggling to understand concepts and principles and as long as you get the basics of what is written you keep moving. Maybe you see the bolded words and say ‘oh! Important’ but never go any further with trying to understand them.
The thing to remember is that vocabulary is essential to understanding the questions on the exam. If you don’t know what the question is asking, it’s hard to choose the right answer.
So how do you make sure you have your vocab down? The first step is to recognize the bolded words as you go through your text. Take a moment to ask yourself - do I know what this means? If the answer is no, you’ve got a couple options. You can continue reading and hope the word is defined further in the text. Or, you can put a bookmark on that page and flip to the glossary in the back of your book. (Hint, it’s after the appendices.)
But just like everything else, vocabulary requires more than a memorize and regurgitate study technique. Can you use the word in a sentence? Sure, some of the more technical terms from chapter 1 – 4 may not be casual conversation friendly, but could you use them in discussion with another professional?
I’m big on proper terminology – whether it’s troubleshooting computers or helping someone figure out what muscle they are trying to use. We talk about ballistic movements and static movements, rather than ‘those bouncy movements’ and ‘the ones where you don’t move at all’. You move your leg laterally, rather than ‘move your leg away from your body’.
Depending on your audience you may need to do some vocabulary explanations. When talking with another professional I might say, ‘yeah, that client is working towards her 1RM, so we’ve started a hypertrophy program with her weights.’ But if I was working with my mother, I would say ‘next we’ll move your arm laterally – this would mean away from your body’. This is a good explanation of how knowledge, and understanding, of vocabulary go together. This togetherness is key to preparing for your exam.
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