Examination Preparation Skills

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The Purpose of Exams. The purpose of an exam is twofold and it is for the lecturers to check:That you have understood the work covered That the work that demonstrates this is entirely your ownPreparing for exams involves a high release of energy and an unusual degree of focus, which produces a v

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Examination Preparation Skills

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1. Examination Preparation Skills COM188 – Study Skills & Professional Issues

2. The Purpose of Exams The purpose of an exam is twofold and it is for the lecturers to check: That you have understood the work covered That the work that demonstrates this is entirely your own Preparing for exams involves a high release of energy and an unusual degree of focus, which produces a very intense kind of learning.

3. Advantages of Exams You cannot be expected to give very long or detailed answers in exams ? less in-depth research and reading may be needed (compared to coursework) You don’t have to write references or bibliography in full at the end Compared with CW, there is less pressure on you through the year

4. Preparing for Exams The pressure of exams stimulates you to draw together the strands of your learning, and to acknowledge areas that need more work: This pressure can be viewed: Negatively: As Stress and the likelihood of failing Positively: As a challenge encouraging you to heighten your own expertise.

5. Preparation Steps Timetable your Study Organise your Notes Select What to Revise Practice Using Past Exam Papers

6. Timetable your Study Timetabling study periods is a vital part of exam preparation as it is a good way to get “down to business” BE POSITIVE – Think about when is the best time for you to study. It needs to be a set period when there are no distractions or interruptions 30 Minutes good study is far more beneficial than 2 hours spent pretending

7. Organise your Notes It is impossible to study from disorganised, disjointed material. Begin the task of systematically structuring your notes (this may involve re-writing them so that they are easier to read and more accessible) While you are re-writing and re-structuring your material you are ACTIVELY LEARNING

8. Revision Revision must be a regular part of your study routine, right from day 1 of your course. Important Reasons for Revising NOW: You would never be able to revise everything you have learned on your course, if you leave it to the last minute Early revision makes it easier to learn later material as you will already have a firm understanding of what precedes it

9. Select What to Revise The Revision Process is one of Selection Select which topics you are going to revise If you will need to answer three exam questions, revise at least five topics Try to attend revision classes as these will help greatly in narrowing down the material that needs revising

10. Select What to Revise Work our answers to a range of possible exam questions for each topic Select the most important theories, references and evidence for each topic Organise the selected information so that it is easier to remember.

11. Practice In order to revise effectively, it is essential to know what is expected of you: Obtain a copy of the syllabus (module description) – check the topics Look at past examination papers (available from the library) How long is the exam? (time per question/time to plan answers)

12. Practice Look at the following words and ensure that you understand EXACTLY what is expected of you: Analyse, Assess, Comment, Compare, Contrast, Criticise, Comment, Define, Describe, Discuss, Evaluate, Enumerate, Illustrate, Interpret, Justify, List, Outline, Prove, Reconcile, Relate, Review, State, Summarise, Trace If you are in doubt of the meaning of any of the listed words, go to a good dictionary If you “describe” when you are asked to “define” you will fail to answer the question

13. Past Exam Papers Past papers are your best resource; they are found on the library website (use portal). At first the wording of exam papers can be off putting: Questions may seem vague as they cannot ‘give away the answer’ It is important to get used to this style well in advance of the exam

14. Past Exam Papers On an exam paper, each question links to an area of the module; you need to find that link and consider which issues the question id directing you towards Look for the following on past papers: What type of questions are asked? Are there optional and compulsory questions? Do some questions reappear each year? What is the minimum number of topics you can revise to answer the paper?

15. Advanced Preparation for exams

16. Advanced Preparation Find out basic Information How many exams will you have? When and Where are the exams? Find out and read the exam instructions before hand. University of Ulster Answer Booklets Plan out your exam time in advance Work out how much time you will dedicate to each question – when you get into the room, write your timings on a piece of paper

17. Advanced Preparation Practice: Exam performance improves with practice Attend any mock exams if provided (even if you feel you are not ready) or arrange your own (with friends or by yourself): Pick and old exam paper Arrange your seating so that you cannot see each other’s papers Write the answers within a set time limit, work alone and in silence Afterwards, discuss your answers with each other

18. Advanced Preparation The Week Before: Drink plenty of water in the week before the exam so that you are not dehydrated Build in movement and exercise so that you work off excess adrenalin Work daily on relaxation so that your thinking remains clear and focused Avoid people who may make you feel unsure of yourself – those who are super confident and those who panic. If possible, visit the exam room and get the feel of it.

19. Advanced Preparation The Night Before Prepare what you will need (pens, rulers, water, a snack, the exam room number, your student ID card, a jumper, etc. Avoid people who panic Relax, and leave plenty of time to sleep

20. Exam Day Eat well before the exam (slow-releasing carbohydrates, such as bread and cereals, are best). Leave plenty of time for the journey in case of delays Plan to arrive at the exam room as it opens: it may (will) take time to find your seat. While you wait for the exam to start, fill in your details on the answer booklet provided.

21. Exam Day Listen to the examiners instructions carefully, then read the exam requirements carefully How many questions to be answered altogether? How many on part 1, 2, etc. Read through the question paper, put a tick against possibles, choose your best ones, Eat a sweet. Start your action plan – which question you are going to answer first? Re-read the question, plan your answer, start writing.

22. Exam Day DO NOT PANIC!!! NO ONE WANTS YOU TO FAIL!!! Remember: The exam is not designed to catch you out, ruin your future or psychologically destroy you. It is simply a means of assessing whether you have worked wel throught your module and are therefore able to meet specific criteria to a reasonable standard.

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