Exams are a dreaded time in anyone’s life, and worrying about them can actually make it more difficult to learn the essential facts. If you are taking your exams soon, or are trying to support your child who has important exams on the horizon, here are some helpful exam preparation tips to make the process easier.
Taking Care Of Yourself
The first tip for preparing for any exam is nothing at all to do with work and instead is about looking after yourself. You can’t do well if you’re exhausted and poorly nourished, so make sure you get plenty of sleep before an exam. Drink lots of water, and make sure that you’ve eaten a healthy, nutritious breakfast as this will help to improve your cognitive function ready to face the challenge to come.
Make A Plan
If you have no set plan for how to tackle your revision, you are unlikely to have a coordinated approach, which is essential to making sure that you’ve covered all of the essential topics thoroughly. Make a plan for a revision schedule, and plan it around your own personal preferences. For example, if you prefer to work in the evening, plan your schedule around those hours, whereas if you prefer to get up early, a morning revision schedule would work better for you. Whichever you prefer, having a consistent pattern will help your body and mind to adjust, but remember to plan in breaks too.
Don’t Forget The Basics
In all of the panic about revising for the exam and making sure you know all of the facts, it’s all too easy to forget the really important details. Make sure you’re on top of everything you need to know. It’s no good knowing everything about the topic but missing the exam because you got the wrong time. Be aware of the start and end times of the exam itself, where it’s being held, the equipment you need to take and anything you are not allowed to bring into the room. These small details can make all of the difference in your state of mind and will help to guard against last minute panics.
Check Out Past Papers
One of the key things to do when studying for an exam is to take a look at some of the recent papers. This is really helpful for getting an idea about the types of questions which may well crop up this year. Although the exact questions will not be the same, there is likely to be a similar style and you will get a feel for the way in which the questions are asked and the topic areas which are covered.
Consider The Mark Scheme
Remember to keep the mark scheme in mind while working out your answers. Although it would be oversimplifying matters to assume if a question is worth 5 marks there will be 5 distinct points to make, however it gives you a frame of reference to work around. For example, it tells you how long you should spend on each question. There’s no point in spending 30 minutes on a 1 mark question and then not having enough time to complete the 10 mark one at the end.
Don’t Give Up
Even if you feel like you just aren’t taking anything in, you should never give up. There’s plenty that can be done with even a short revision time. By looking through your notes on the evening before the exam and then again just before you go into the exam room, you will find that you will probably have managed to capture, condense and summarise quite a lot of the material.
Practice Your Essay Writing Technique
One of the greatest problems in exams is expressing yourself clearly. You may know everything about the topic, but if you can’t explain properly what you mean, you won’t do as well as you deserve to. It’s important to practice your essay writing technique before you sit your exam. Remember that essays ought to begin with a brief introduction to state the position followed by several paragraphs each making a separate point, and then finally a conclusion which supports the argument you outlined in your introduction.
Keep An Eye On The Clock
There’s only so much that can be accomplished in the time allotted for the exam, so use your time wisely. If there is 1 hour for each question, for example, allow no more than 10 minutes for reading the question and making notes, and this will allow you 50 minutes to write the essay. However, avoid lavishing time on one essay as this will cause you to lose time on another.
Don’t Dwell On The Last Exam
Even if you feel you didn’t do well, there’s no point in dwelling on it, and if you do so, you could lose your confidence and do badly in your next one too. Stay positive and calm, and this will give you the best chance of success.