Calibration is the act of aligning your judgments of what you know and don’t know with objective feedback.

Objective feedback is obtained from tests. These should be low-stakes tests designed to determine mastery and to diagnose difficulties. Frequently these tests are learner constructed and self-administered. The purpose of these tests is to which items have been mastered and which items have not been mastered.

Calibration is not a study technique as much as it is a device for insuring study techniques are applied in an effective manner. My experience both as a student and as a teacher convince me that calibration is a very important part of any study plan. Almost daily I hear students say I thought I knew this material until I took the test.

Flashcards provide a ready quiz. Read side one and then WRITE (without looking) precisely what is on side two.

In mathematics if you cannot WRITE a definition, property, rule, or procedure precisely, then you do not know it. That is just the nature of stipulative definitions and the logical precision required in mathematics.

Use quizzes and practice tests to see whether you know as much as you think you do.

It is very important that you write the answers to questions in a self-quiz. It is natural to look at a question on a practice test and say: Yup, I know that, and move on to the next question without making the effort to write the answer.

If you don’t write the answer, you may be giving in to the illusion of knowing, when in fact you would have difficulty rendering an accurate or complete response. This is extremely important in mathematics because mathematics demands precision and completeness.

Treat practice tests as tests, check your answers. Be a harsh grader.

Focus your studying effort on the areas where you are not up to snuff.

# Calibration

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