Skills You Need To Plan, Prepare and Win Exams.
An effective approach to examination technique enables students to enter the examination room with a clear idea of the skills they wish to demonstrate, with a realistic expectation of what the questions will be like, and with the intention of using the questions to demonstrate as much knowledge as possible. This active approach to examination technique enables students to be in control of the situation. However, some students approach examinations with a fatalistic attitude, rather like helpless victims facing torment. They respond passively to the questions and then hope for the best. The first approach is more likely to succeed.
2. Strategies To Tackle Examination :-
1. Make A Mental Plan, Use Mnemonics & Spider Diagrams
Students could plan to jot down, some of your mnemonics or spider diagrams before you start answering any question. In that way, you can refer back to your plan when writing your answer, without fear of forgetting what you were going to write next.
2. Express Your Knowledge & Learn To Link Concepts
It can be quite frustrating to do a lot of revision and then find that you are not asked questions that reflect what you have learned. However it sometimes happens that examination questions give you the opportunity to express your knowledge. For example, if you have learned a lot about the psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches for unit 1 (Introduction To Psychology) but a ten-mark question asks you to evaluate the biological approach you can still use base of other supporting approaches to criticise or contrast the idea of biological approach.
3. Prepare A Skeleton Plan Before You Write Long Answer
For long answers, it is useful to jot down a skeleton plan of the answer before you start. That way you can empty your head of detail in one go so you don’t have to think of things as you go along. The plan should be in very brief note form and should list only main points you want to include in your answer. This will also help you to order the points logically and spot gaps if any.
4. Learn To Cope With Exam Stress
In examinations, people tend to be fairly highly aroused, and this often has positive effects. They think more clearly and quickly, and write more fluently. If you feel a little anxious before an examination, do not worry about it. Remember, it may improve your performance. However, a few people become so anxious about examinations that their high arousal level leads to a worsening of performance. It is quite important for such people to find ways of coping with their anxiety.
However, one way is to try to control the way you think about the exams. If you find yourself thinking or saying things, which reflect negative thoughts, you should try to stop yourself as it is no good saying to yourself (or to others) ‘I am no good at exams.’ That can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you really believe you are no good at exams, you may not bother to revise properly, because you assume it will not lead to success, Because of this, you may perform poorly.
Someone who is overanxious about exams should try to think of some positive thoughts, such as ‘I have done enough revision for my exam’ and exams never hurt anyone’. Of course, it is essential that you really have done enough revision and prepared well for the examinations. A useful plan is to think through or visualize what will happen during the examination so as to gain control over the situation.
3. Writing Practice & Revision – Must Before Exams
Students must read throughly their study notes several times to possess an adequate grasp on theories, principles and applications of a subject. Practice in writing essays is essential, especially for students who have not written essays for a considerable time. Examiners recognize that essays written under hurried circumstances and stress need not be grammatically perfect, but they do demand certain minimum standards and will penalize students whose written presentation is not up to a scratch. Accordingly, the students should avoid using vague, meaningless statements, should try to spell correctly, and seek to cultivate a direct and forthright style using short clear sentences. Analysis helps in prediction and if you’re too lucky predictions can hit jackpot. So keep analyzing past exams’ question papers.
4. Analysis Of Past Exams Question Papers Helps
Analysis of past examination papers provides a valuable insight into how the examiners feel about the subject. Often, the same questions reappear year after year, albeit written slightly differently. While it is obviously useful to predict questions, students should always remember that no question could ever be guaranteed to come up. Also, syllabuses and examiners change, each examiner has personal preferences regarding the content and style of questions that need to be asked.
5. On Exam Day Inside Examination Hall
Students must read the questions carefully and ensure they fully understand what each question is asking, It is good idea to underline keywords and to break the question down into separate component parts. A question might ask the student to describe things (questions beginning ‘What do you understand by …? ‘Or list and explain… ‘are usually of this type), or it could require the student to ‘compare and contrast ‘ various concepts. In the latter case, simple description is not sufficient. Rather, the students must highlight the similarities and differences between the items discussed.
For questions starting with words ‘explain’ or ‘examine’, description of a topic should be supplemented with examples, counter examples, alternatives (where appropriate) and a list of advantages and disadvantages. Similarly, questions, involving quotations followed by the word discuss’ invite candidates to identify crucial issues and to interpret and comment on various aspects of the topic.
6. Time Management Is Crucial While Writing Exam
The first few minutes of the time allocated to each answer should be used for jotting down the main points of the answer in an essay plan. Thereafter the following rules should be observed:
- The time allowed for each answer (a three-hour paper demanding five answers permits 36 minutes per question) must be adhered to rigidly. As soon as period is up the student should move on to the next question.
- Students should leave a space at the end of the question in order to be able to come back to the question if they have any spare time at the end of he examination.
- Easy questions should be answered first. This increases the student’s confidence, assists concentration and establishes rhythm for tackling the rest of the paper. However, students should not spend too much time on easy questions and objective type questions. Time is crucial and answers should be accurate to avoid negative marking. Each answer needs to be of approximately equal length.
- It is well established fact that the bulk of a candidate’s marks obtained on a specific question are achieved in the first 10 or 15 minutes of writing; extra marks then become progressively harder to obtain. By spending too long on a question the student only gets a fraction of the marks available for the first couple of paragraphs of the next answer.
7. A Good Essay Plan Is Very Important
These should include not only the major points to be emphasized, but also particular topics. Preparation of a good essay plan saves time in the long run and the examiner can see at once how much the student knows about the subject. Examiners usually want to mark script in the shortest possible time, and are pleased to give marks to the candidates who openly exhibit their knowledge in a rough essay plan. The plan guides the students (and the examiner) through the essay. Supplementary information can be added and chosen themes expanded as the essay is developed.
Situation-Based Questions and Mini Cases:
To answer questions of this type the student should proceed as follows:
- State the essential nature of the issues and problems raised by he case.
- Define the objectives, which the people or organisations mentioned in the case need to achieve in order to improve their position.
- List the difficulties involved in attaining objectives, plus alternatives options and their implications.
- Finally, most importantly, answer all questions as far as possible. Leave no question unanswered. It is most unwise to leave an examination before the end, as there is nearly always something useful that can be added to answered.
8. Tackling Descriptive Type Exam Questions
In the present age of cut-throat competition, the planning and preparation for Descriptive Type Papers have changed a lot. Previously, the area of topics were limited and the level of questions asked used to be of lower standards in comparison to the present day’s mind-boggling questions.
So it would be better if a candidate follows the text books first supported by guides. But he/she will have to do exhaustive studies and should have extensive understanding of each topic whether it is Descriptive General Studies or Descriptive General English. For this, study and analyze the topics time and again.
Besides, the proficiency and command over one’s language help develop getting good results. It would be better if one keep on doing regular studies with proper understanding of the subject since there is word limit in every type of Descriptive Paper especially in the case of General Studies/Knowledge. Keep on doing regular practice that will help develop your confidence.
9. How To Study ? Tips To Prepare For Exams
Each student is different. You may find some study techniques effective which other people find unhelpful. An important part of learning to study is to try out different techniques, adapt them and so find out what works best for you. The key guidelines can be summarized as follows:
- Build up a set of clear condensed revision notes, right from the start.
- Practice expressing psychological ideas.
- Use memory aids.
- Self-test regularly.
- Plan your revision ahead.
- Know what to expect on exam day.
10. Final Conclusion – Summary
Success and failure are two aspects of our life. Why do some people get success and why some people fail, the reason for this is the manner in which examinations strategies are planned.
There are three vital steps involved in making a sound strategy. They are explained below:
- Planning: The first and the most important thing that is required for success is planning. Planning is the determination of ends and formulation of means. Under this step we decide the goal and the manner in which it can be achieved. Your planning should be flexible so that it can be changed in undesirable circumstances or whenever required.
- Implementation: Planning is just the predetermination of the manner in which the work is going to be performed. Thus, the next step after the formulation of the plan is its implementation. Your goal will be achieved only when the plan is properly implemented.
- Control: Under this step we should compare the existing situation and desired situation and if we find any deviation then we must improve upon it as soon as possible.
Thus above are the steps that contribute greatly for preparing the strategy for examination.
Finally, being sincere is not enough, it is also important to do smart hard work as well.
Original Article By: Prof. Dr. P. K. Dutta ; Few Addons By: Gaurav Akrani