Exam Tips- Preparing for an Exam
- Complete high practice revision
Exam Tips should start with revision. Avoid just coping out notes you’ve already made in your lessons, or even making pretty flashcards and mind maps. Resources like this can be purchased on Amazon.
You need to complete high practice work so that your brain is actively engaged in the revision. Using memory techniques, making up songs and poems and mnemonics can by more effective than just reading. Mostly get hold of as many past paper questions as possible and keep looking for the questions you can’t do and learn from them. Do whole past papers under timed conditions as you improve and practice writing quickly and accurately!
- Have a revision plan.
Write a good revision plan, and ensure you are regimented in following it. Plan the subjects and topics you are going to cover each day – aim for three different ones.
- Use the support of others
Ask your teachers for support with any parts of the revision you are struggling. Members of your family can be useful in testing you on your the material as a change to revising on your own. You can also find a tutor; some of these are available online.
- If you just can’t understand something, rote learn it.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just don’t understand it. Learn it off by heart and just write the information down word for word.
- Look at Marking Schemes
Note down the key points from marking schemes of questions that recur frequently. Learn them!
Exam Tips – The day before
- Get a Good night’s sleep
Do not stay up late revising. Make sure you finish revision early the night before the examination and get some rest. If you go in to the exam too tired you will not be able to work effectively and solve any problems.
- Eat healthily
Eat a balanced healthy meal with protein and carbohydrates as if you were preparing yourself for physical exercise such as a race. Keep well hydrated and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Try a meal based on chicken, rice and fresh vegetables or salad.
Avoid unhealthy foods such as fried food, sweets, chocolate or energy drinks. These will make you feel sluggish and lethargic.
- Get the important facts into short-term memory.
Ensure you’ve complied an important facts sheet and look over this the day before and cram it into your short-term memory. If not read the keypoints summary in a text book.
Read through the worked solutions for the last three years papers.
- Get some exercise
Before the exam, get some exercise. Go to the gym, for a run or for a walk and get some fresh air into your lungs. Exercise is not only for your body but your brain too.
Exam Tips – The Exam Itself
- Read the Question
Reading the whole of every question and highlight or make notes of any key information that is in the text or hidden in diagrams is also important. Many questions lead you through a problem.
- Time it right
Work out how many minutes you have for each mark and plan ea`ch question to stick to this time scale. If it’s a 105 minute exam, and it’s marked out of 100, then on average you’ve got just under a minute for each mark. If you spend too long on one question try and speed up on the next.
- Do the questions you find easy first
Try and do these quickly and get the marks secure in the topic areas you can do. This will mean you’ve definitely completed questions you should get correct if time becomes tight and will give you a good confidence boost.
- Questions you can’t do
If you get to a question that has you stuck, move on. But do make sure you come back at the end of the paper and write something in the gap. Never leave a blank!
- Drink water slowly.
Take a bottle of water in and sip this slowly thoughouyt the exam.
- Check it makes sense with mathematical questions.
When you have your final answer, double check it is not too big or too small and makes sense.
- Write out explanations of each step in mathematical questions.
If you explain what you are doing in each step you can still get marks for these parts even if the final answer is wrong.
Don’t just write numbers in various places all over the page. This will make it very difficult for the examiner to give you any marks.
- If you’re running out of time.
Do the first half of each question in bulletin points with juss the key ideas and words.
- Never leave an exam early.
Hardly anyone, ever gets 100% on a paper so there is always something you can do to improve it.
- Check through everything and add more detail.
- Check calculations and that you pressed the right buttons and copied down the number correctly.
- Check any units.
- Check spellings.
- Check you’ve not missed any useful information in the text, images or diagrams.