Engage Students with Chapter Pretests

Teaching Medical TerminologyDuring my 25 years as a college educator, I taught many medical terminology courses. Each year I would try to add something new to my teaching tool-kit. One semester I introduced chapter pretests.  I found them to be simple, quick, and effective.

Using Chapter Pretests to Teach Medical Terminology


Chapter pretests are a method used to engage students in content at the beginning of a new chapter or unit of study


  • To actively and immediately engage students in the chapter content
  • To pique student interest in the content
  • To assist the student to evaluate where they stand in relation to the content


  • Have at least one question for each objective
  • Use between 10-15 questions
  • Use multiple choice, true and false, or fill-in-the-blank questions
  • Include one or two questions that are both common knowledge and chapter content (students may gain confidence by knowing the answer)
  • See a sample chapter pretest


  • Hand out the test before introducing the chapter
  • Allow the students 3-5 minutes to complete
  • As a group, with students sharing their choices, identify the correct answers
  • Allow the student to keep their pretests
  • The same pretest can be given at the completion of the chapter (most students will be impressed with how much they have learned)

The pretest method presented here can easily be modified to use as an introduction to many kinds of presentations outside the classroom.  Use it to actively and immediately engage your audience when teaching medical terminology.

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