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Ideal Exam Preparation

The traditional exam season seems to be a thing of the past these days. With year round courses, re-takes and summer semesters, there’s barely a time when someone, somewhere isn’t cramming for a test of some kind or another.

If it’s been a while since you entered that dreaded examination room here are a ten handy hints and tips to make sure you haven’t forgotten how to prepare for the big day.

1. Plan well

Come up with a revision plan that works for you. If you are a night owl, arrange to give yourself plenty of time each evening. If you are an early bird, make sure you stick to your regular morning routine. Consistency is key when it comes to preparation and training your brain to retain information.

2. Prepare yourself

The better you feel, the better you will perform when it comes to the day of the exam. Try to eat healthily, drink plenty of fluids and avoid late nights and alcohol – until after the exam of course. The fresher and more energetic you feel, the more it will support your ability to tackle the paper.

3. Be sure of all the details

Make sure you are fully aware of details and clear on things like start times, the venue, equipment and material you can or cannot bring into the room. If you are on top of all this it can make a big difference in your performance and will help avoid unnecessary last-minute stress.

4. Do your homework

So that you have a good idea what to expect when you turn over that paper, it’s sometimes worth trying to get hold of a past paper. This is quite a routine revision process and past papers are available by request from the examination boards.

5. Answer the questions according to the marks available

It’s an obvious one, but take a good look at each question and how many marks are on offer. If one question is worth 5 marks and another is worth 15, then it’s common sense to spend more time on the one worth more.

6. Understand the question

Make sure you break the questions down so that you really understand what you’re being asked to do. If you don’t answer the question properly you won’t get full marks for it. For example, for the question, “Explain the difference between socialism and fascism,” has four major parts to address:

Explain – give reasons to show how or why something is what it is

The difference – what are the distinguishing factors between the two?

Socialism – explain socialism

Fascism– explain fascism

7. Create the right study environment

Select a place where you feel comfortable when you are studying. To some, the TV and radio can be distracting when they are working. If this is you, make sure you are in a place that has no such disturbances during your study period. Also, keep books and notes on other subjects well out of your eye-site so that you don’t overload your brain with too much information in one go.

8. Try to get into the head of your examiner

Although most boards use an external examiner, there is a chance that your tutor has set exams in the past. Get a sense of what questions might come up in the exam and what they’ll be looking for when you talk to them in the lessons leading up to the big day.

9. Don’t dwell on it

Try not to talk to other students about the exam before you go in. It could confuse you or make you lose confidence in yourself. The same goes for when you come out. Don’t hang around talking about what was on it or you’ll start to doubt yourself and stress out if you think you made a mistake.

10. Be positive

It might sound cheesy, but if you’re in the right frame of mind, there’s a better chance that you will perform to your full potential. If you have done all the required revision, made all the right notes and prepared yourself correctly, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do well.