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The Expert Questions

As a teacher, I often observe students studying for a test by attempting to memorize every single bit of information listed on their notes. This is a waste of time. Students would save hours of sleep and perform better on tests if they asked and answered the expert questions. The expert questions focus on the important points of a subject. Here are some examples:

What is this made of?

How can this be identified?

What processes cause this?

Where is this usually found?

What can I tell about the history of this?

How To Use Them

Your teacher is likely to ask these or variations of these questions on a test. Let’s say you are taking an earth science class, and you are learning about different types of rocks: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Ask the expert questions for each rock. For example, here is how you would ask What is this made of?

What is an igneous rock made of?

What is a metamorphic rock made of?

What is a sedimentary rock made of?

Answering these questions will give you the knowledge you need to do well on a test.

Where You Can Find Them

You can find expert questions in your textbook by scanning the chapter summary questions. Certain forms of questions will appear over and over again. For example, a chapter summary about rocks might include the questions, How can limestone be identified? and What are the physical characteristics of a metamorphic rock? Both essentially ask How can this be identified?

For more information on expert questions, check out Adam Robinson’s book, What Smart Students Know (1993).


Ebony H.

Your Reading and Music Coach