This article is based on student work published in the wnyrails.org student newspaper, News in a Click.
If discussion-based assessments make you nervous, these tips from wnyrails.org students may help!
DBAs are verbal assessments and are often the most dreaded assignments for wnyrails.org students. Instead of comfortably typing essays and worksheets on their laptops, students communicate with an instructor one-on-one over the phone.
But why is this so terrifying? Surely the verbal component of the DBA is not intimidating, especially when the assignments are approached by the instructor as a conversation instead of an oral exam.
TIP: Did you know that DBAs can be completed in a live lesson setting or over a video call? Ask your teacher about this option! Learn more in this post about mastering the DBA.
However, if you compare talking on the phone for twenty minutes to being the only student called on to answer random questions for 20 minutes in a classroom, you can see why students are reluctant to dial their instructors’ numbers.
Fortunately, garnering the courage to call an instructor is not an impossible feat.
First, tailor your view of the assignment and focus on the positive aspects: DBAs are meant to test your knowledge, not scare you. After all, your teacher values your education, not necessarily your ability to recall memorized facts. He or she will help you through certain questions – not make you struggle through them. Also, teachers use DBAs as a way of gauging your knowledge so they can help you “fill in the cracks” of your education. Don’t look at it as a terrifying phone call that is meant to make you feel incompetent; picture it as a learning experience!
Also, keep in mind that DBAs are not one-sided conversations. They aren’t the equivalent of a multiple choice test. This means that you can use this time to ask your teachers questions as well. If you are ever unsure about something, a few minutes on the phone can save you hours of recorded lessons. Use this one-on-one time to your advantage and ask as many questions about the material as you want of your instructor.
If you dread DBAs, never knowing what questions may be asked, and not knowing what to study for, here are our top pointers.
These tips should help you survive your DBA – and hopefully improve your score as well.
Look through your module and decide what topics are most important.Review the entire module carefully.Study the topics in the module which you struggled with most.Brace yourself when your teacher answers the phone. Who wants to talk with butterflies in their stomach?Make a mini study guide from your notes to study, and highlight the major themes of the module.Never be afraid to ask your teacher questions beforehand – they want to see you succeed!
Remember that DBAs are no different from regular activities – in fact, after an entire module, DBAs simply act as a review. Hopefully you are now better prepared to tackle those pesky DBAs, and perhaps see them as a little less troublesome.
Remember, your personalized, quality learning experience is just a phone call away. Know your stuff and you’ll do great!
Post adapted from articles in the wnyrails.org student newspaper, News in a Click: “The DBA Debacle” by students Dylan Sexton, Kelsey Gulick, Hannah Fishbough, and Emily Smith “Getting Past the Fear of DBAs” by Samantha Morris