I think it demends on the type of film you are shooting, color or BW. I meter different with each.
On my dad's N90 (I have all manual cameras with no meters cuz I'm cheap) you put the camera in spot mode point at a subject and then depress the release half way. This focuses and holds the meter reading. When I use his camera I tend to put it in manual mode and meter the deepest shadows I want detail in, and then swing the camera around and repeat for the lightest area to get an idea of the SBR. If you are shooting Aperature priority or shutter priority then your reading will not be in EV's They will represent either the aperature and shutter speed appropriate for that metered area to print at around zone 5. If I use the auto modes then I usually stick with aperature prioity because I am more worried about DOF than shutter speed. That is what tripods were made for. Then I adjust accordingly depending on how dark I am wanting the shadows.
This is all just conjecture though. What does your readout say?