There are no hard
and fast rules to preparing for exams: everyone has their own methods. Some
people do little preparation and achieve good results whilst others struggle to
achieve. Although many GSCE/S-level and AS-level/A-level/Higher courses have
course-assessed elements these days, most are still made up of a proportion of
exam assessment as well, so here are a few points to bear in mind.
BEFORE YOU START Make sure that you obtain a copy of the syllabus for
every subject that you are taking before you start revising. Find a quiet and
comfortable, well-light place and read through your notes, comparing them with
the syllabus. Do this about six to eight weeks before the exams (definitely
before study-leave) so that you have time to fill in any gaps in your notes.
LEAVE AND PLANNING REVISION You will suddenly find that you have lots of
time to revise. How do you manage it?
Even if you don't
normally plan things, try to devote a certain amount of each day to revision.
Most people can
concentrate better in the mornings - try not to revise late at night.
Plan breaks from
revision (such as a full day off every other weekend). A full day off can be
worth a great deal more than several periods of 3-hour stints. Certainly don't
sacrifice your social life completely - but don't go out every night either!
When revising, some
experts recommend a 10-minute break for every 20 minutes revision. Some people,
however, feel more comfortable with a break every half and hour or forty
minutes. Whatever your strategy, don't overwork yourself.
Make a revision
plan. Prioritise your subjects, concentrating on those subjects that you find
most difficult. Use pencil, so that you can make changes, and cross out tasks as
you complete them. Make the plan realistic: don't forget to take account of days
Don't just read through your notes…
Make short outlines
of topics, making notes of all the important topics.
Ensure that you have
plenty of past exam papers and practise answers to them.
Ask people to test
you, record your own voice, do what ever you feel comfortable with provided that
it is not just reading through notes, which is passive revision - you cannot
hope remember as much by just reading.
ON THE DAY
Get early so that you have plenty of time to prepare. Have a good breakfast (and
lunch if it's a p.m. exam) and arrive at the exam hall early. Once you're in the
exam, relax. If you feel nervous, look at the ceiling and suck a mint. Then get
down to the test!
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