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Author Topic: Exam Techniques, Tips and Tricks  (Read 1126 times)

September 18, 2013, 11:23:17 AM
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Here, then, are a few collected tips and tricks from, if I say so myself, quite a successful campaign to do well in every exam that was put in front of me, (given the limitations of my intelligence), and to try and understand the minds of students who have written thousands of exam scripts that I have read and marked.  You might find some of them useful.

If you’ve got anything yourself to add to this list, please let me know.  I’ll try to keep it up to date.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »

September 18, 2013, 11:24:23 AM
Reply #1
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Revise actively.
Just reading through your notes is the worst possible way to revise.  Well, OK, perhaps not the worst possible, but it’s really not very good.  The more of your brain you can engage in the revision, the more you will remember.  Memory is not a box in one part of your brain that things are either in or out.  Memory is spread out everywhere: there’s verbal memory, visual memory, audio memory, muscle memory, all sorts.  The more your brain does with the information, the more you will remember.  

So don’t just read.  Make up poems and mnemonics.  Summarise the notes.  Set them to music.  Extract key points and write them down yourself somewhere – even if you’re just copying them out, this is better than just reading, since more of your brain is involved.  Make up quizzes and do them.  Write limericks.  Above all – do problems.  Make up your own if you run out.  Get active!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »
September 18, 2013, 11:25:14 AM
Reply #2
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Plan revision.

Write a good revision plan, and stick to it.  Don’t do just one subject a day, you’ll get tired of it; then again swopping too often means you don’t get the chance to get deep into anything.  I used to do mornings on one subject, afternoons on another and evenings on a third.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »
September 18, 2013, 11:27:38 AM
Reply #3
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Do past papers – as many aThe internal web has (at least) the last three year's papers on it.  Papers from previous years are stored in the library (at least that used to be true - it's worth checking if they still have them).  Work through them.  If you can't do a question, check that it is still in the syllabus (the modules change every year, and it's always worth checking what is new).  With a good revision plan you should be doing nothing in the last week before the exams except working through exam papers and examples sheets making sure you can do them.

I can’t emphasise the importance of this enough.  Anyone who doesn’t work through past papers has very little chance of doing well in an exam.

Oh - and do the past papers, and the examples sheets, against the clock.  Time is short in an exam, you need to get used to thinking, and writing quickly.  Get your hand trained up so it can write fast s you can lay your hands on.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »
September 18, 2013, 11:28:54 AM
Reply #4
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This can be risky, but if you're playing the percentages it's worth a try.  Look for any topic that was in the exam two and three years ago, but not last year.  If you can get hold of papers from further back, try and spot patterns: does any topic come up every other year, for example?

Another good tip is to make a very careful note if the lecturer says at any point "this is new in the course this year".  If he does, there's an above average chance that this will be in the exam - it gets harder every year to come up with new questions about the same old subjects, and putting a new topic in the course is an easy "new question" for the examiner.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »
September 18, 2013, 11:31:20 AM
Reply #5
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If you can’t do the past papers – ask someone for help.

Study groups work well, provided you don’t think this will mean other people are doing your studying for you.  They can’t – that doesn’t work.  You have to go and study a subject, or attempt an exam paper by yourselves first, then meet together to discuss your answers.  Don’t work through the past papers in the group – the temptation to let other people do the work is too strong.  You need to learn to do it yourself.  Always remember, exams are not a team exercise.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »
September 18, 2013, 11:32:05 AM
Reply #6
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If you just can’t understand something, learn it parrot-fashion.

This really is a last-ditch solution.  But it gives you at least something to do with the questions on subjects you really don’t understand.  Even questions on these subjects usually start off by giving you a few marks for “describing XXX”.  Even if you don’t understand it, you can get a few marks by writing down the description straight from the notes.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 04:00:00 AM by Guest »

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