Study Skills Tips – Revision and Examination Stretegies

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      Study Skills Tips – Revision and Examination Strategies

      Union of Secondary Students, Education Office

      The thought of examinations can cause students anxiety. If this is true for you, one of the best ways to cope is to feel in control, which can be achieved through preparation. Think about how you prepare for an exam. Look for areas where you think you can improve and reflect on the possible strategies you might try. Use the same process for how you take an examination. Make use of self-management, especially planning, and support strategies in conjunction with revision and exam-taking strategies.

      The first thing you need to check is the format of the exam, how many questions are there how many do you have to answer and what are the options on the paper. Make sure you are familiar with past exam papers, all of which are available online here.

      Revision strategies

      1. You will want to be prepared intellectually for an examination and the key is revision. If you have been studying regularly and effectively, your job will be easier. As your exam approaches make a revision timetable listing the topics to be revised, what aspects, and how long you think it will take. Schedule it! You will not be able to do the whole course so use goal setting and time-management skills to be selective. Avoid re-reading texts. You took good notes so use them. View your notes critically, try to condense them, using this as a means to restructure your knowledge, this aids recall at a later date. Try to become familiar with the exam’s purpose and format. If the purpose of revision is for understanding, try to process the information on a deep level by making it meaningful:

      • impose organisation via categories, diagrams, mind maps, etc.

      • make associations to information already known

      • identify relationships between material

      • develop imagery that links material together

      • try to find general rules, patterns, or principles

      • analyze past examination papers – understanding questions is a skill

      If the purpose of revision is for memory recall, use strategies that emphasize rote memorization of facts:

      • over learning – read same chapter several times, index cards, etc.

      • practice answers to possible questions and repeatedly review material

      • use past questions and plan answers in outline form – introduction, main points, summary

      1

      • practice doing past examination questions in full within time

      Work with other students – they might think of something you didn’t and vice versa and they may provide different perspectives on a topic. There are other ways to revise, ask friends, tutors etc. what they do.

      2. It is also important to be emotionally prepared for your examination. Develop a positive attitude. Think of them as a special event in which you are trying to do your “personal best”. Exams are useful because they let you measure your knowledge. Relax – too much anxiety interferes with performance, too little can also hinder. If you are very anxious, practice stress management techniques like deep breathing and positive self-talk. Use concentration and motivation strategies as necessary. Get plenty of exercise a good night’s sleep every night.

      Exam-Taking Strategies

      1. Read instructions carefully. Underline what you are to do. A common error for students under pressure is to answer more questions than required. Make sure your name and number are on all sheets. Read over whole examination before you start to answer.

      2. Use time wisely. Be aware of time limit. Plan your time accordingly, making sure to proportion time per question based on marks and that you allot time for all questions required. PLAN! Allow time for review.

      3. Start with the question you feel most comfortable with, it will give you confidence.

      4. If the examination is subjective give main points and important details clearly and precisely. Do not write everything you know on the topic (a common error). You want to show you understand. Display the “breadth and depth” of your knowledge.

      Provide structure and organisation to your answer and use headings. When you have decided on a question, jot down a brief outline. This provides you with a framework to keep you on track, it lets the reader know where you are going, it alleviates a little pressure as you can note down facts, quotes, examples etc. before you need them. Look for key words like discuss, compare, and define. Do only what you are asked. Remember, someone has to read your essay (and probably hundreds of others) so be legible and use good spelling. Answer all questions; even if the last one is not as elaborate, you will still get points.

      5. If the examination is problem-solving make sure you understand what is being asked. What is required, what is the unknown? Pay attention to key terms. Draw a sketch if appropriate. Identify a method to find what is unknown. Write down all known’s, use good and consistent notation, try to estimate the answer first if appropriate, do neat and careful calculations so the reader can follow, write down relevant formulae, try to recall other problems

      with a similar set up, actively check your answer – Does it make sense? Check for simple errors.

      6. Use Support Strategies if you experience distractions or anxiety.

      7. At some point after the exam (give yourself time), try to evaluate how effective your revision and examination strategies were. Learn from your exam.

      For more information contact uss.education@gmail.com

    • #367

      :Study Skills Tips – Revision and Examination Strategies

      Union of Secondary Students, Education Office

      The thought of examinations can cause students anxiety. If this is true for you, one of the best ways to cope is to feel in control, which can be achieved through preparation. Think about how you prepare for an exam. Look for areas where you think you can improve and reflect on the possible strategies you might try. Use the same process for how you take an examination. Make use of self-management, especially planning, and support strategies in conjunction with revision and exam-taking strategies.

      The first thing you need to check is the format of the exam, how many questions are there how many do you have to answer and what are the options on the paper. Make sure you are familiar with past exam papers, all of which are available online here.

      Revision strategies

      1. You will want to be prepared intellectually for an examination and the key is revision. If you have been studying regularly and effectively, your job will be easier. As your exam approaches make a revision timetable listing the topics to be revised, what aspects, and how long you think it will take. Schedule it! You will not be able to do the whole course so use goal setting and time-management skills to be selective. Avoid re-reading texts. You took good notes so use them. View your notes critically, try to condense them, using this as a means to restructure your knowledge, this aids recall at a later date. Try to become familiar with the exam’s purpose and format. If the purpose of revision is for understanding, try to process the information on a deep level by making it meaningful:

      • impose organisation via categories, diagrams, mind maps, etc.

      • make associations to information already known

      • identify relationships between material

      • develop imagery that links material together

      • try to find general rules, patterns, or principles

      • analyze past examination papers – understanding questions is a skill

      If the purpose of revision is for memory recall, use strategies that emphasize rote memorization of facts:

      • over learning – read same chapter several times, index cards, etc.

      • practice answers to possible questions and repeatedly review material

      • use past questions and plan answers in outline form – introduction, main points, summary

      1

      • practice doing past examination questions in full within time

      Work with other students – they might think of something you didn’t and vice versa and they may provide different perspectives on a topic. There are other ways to revise, ask friends, tutors etc. what they do.

      2. It is also important to be emotionally prepared for your examination. Develop a positive attitude. Think of them as a special event in which you are trying to do your “personal best”. Exams are useful because they let you measure your knowledge. Relax – too much anxiety interferes with performance, too little can also hinder. If you are very anxious, practice stress management techniques like deep breathing and positive self-talk. Use concentration and motivation strategies as necessary. Get plenty of exercise a good night’s sleep every night.

      Exam-Taking Strategies

      1. Read instructions carefully. Underline what you are to do. A common error for students under pressure is to answer more questions than required. Make sure your name and number are on all sheets. Read over whole examination before you start to answer.

      2. Use time wisely. Be aware of time limit. Plan your time accordingly, making sure to proportion time per question based on marks and that you allot time for all questions required. PLAN! Allow time for review.

      3. Start with the question you feel most comfortable with, it will give you confidence.

      4. If the examination is subjective give main points and important details clearly and precisely. Do not write everything you know on the topic (a common error). You want to show you understand. Display the “breadth and depth” of your knowledge.

      Provide structure and organisation to your answer and use headings. When you have decided on a question, jot down a brief outline. This provides you with a framework to keep you on track, it lets the reader know where you are going, it alleviates a little pressure as you can note down facts, quotes, examples etc. before you need them. Look for key words like discuss, compare, and define. Do only what you are asked. Remember, someone has to read your essay (and probably hundreds of others) so be legible and use good spelling. Answer all questions; even if the last one is not as elaborate, you will still get points.

      5. If the examination is problem-solving make sure you understand what is being asked. What is required, what is the unknown? Pay attention to key terms. Draw a sketch if appropriate. Identify a method to find what is unknown. Write down all known’s, use good and consistent notation, try to estimate the answer first if appropriate, do neat and careful calculations so the reader can follow, write down relevant formulae, try to recall other problems

      with a similar set up, actively check your answer – Does it make sense? Check for simple errors.

      6. Use Support Strategies if you experience distractions or anxiety.

      7. At some point after the exam (give yourself time), try to evaluate how effective your revision and examination strategies were. Learn from your exam.

      For more information contact uss.education@gmail.com

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