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Final Exams

I have been trying to get ready for final exams to begin next week.  Not terribly traumatic for me, just time consuming.  Anyway, I had to take a quiz tonight – and I had studied, dutifully prepared.  I even spent 45 minutes reviewing the material before I took the quiz and told myself I understood the material on every slide.  Yet, 20 questions later I found myself wondering how many I actually got right.

I am not a fan of test anxiety, so sorry if you experience that.  But I am a fan of testing yourself – using the information you have learned in a different way to ensure you really understand it.  Because the truth is my recognition of the information in my notes was great–as soon as I read it I remembered it all and could explain it.  But my recall of the information was not as good, without the notes for prompts I found myself working hard to remember which secretions are hormones and which are not.

The same thing happens with birth.  When you watch a video or read a book what you see makes sense, it is natural to think you understand how to manage birth.  But when you are given a test – the scenario without the answer, you begin to realize just how much you do (or do not) really understand about managing birth. This is the reason my classes are full of labor rehearsals – both “act it out” and “what would you do?” types.  This is why I give my doula clients homework.  I want them to work through the problems and build not just their confidence that they are prepared, but also their ability to use the new labor tools they are learning.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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