Revision for Exams

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All around the world students have examinations to test and assess their learning. How well you do will depend on your attitude as well as your knowledge and preparation. The following tips may assist you to succeed:

  • Top students study for between 2 and 5 hours on week nights and 3 to 6 hours a day on weekends.
  • Turn off your mobile phone and minimize other distractions (magazines, games, TV).
  • Make a list of deadlines and exam dates and plan your week ahead.
  • Try using earplugs and listen to music only when doing undemanding work.
  • Consider studying at the library where there are fewer distractions.
  • Find study-buddies for sharing notes and discussing ideas.
  • Get help from a teacher or consider a tutor – they can force you to work and change your attitude to a subject.
  • Get friends or family membrs to test you before exams.
  • Remember to take breaks, get at least eight hours of sleep each night and eat healthy food.
  • Get a copy of the course syllabus as a guide to write your study notes.
  • Write brief notes and review them again immediately. Review them again 24 hours later and then twice each week until the exam.
  • Use colour to highlight important headings – sub-headings act as memory triggers.
  • Do lots of practise papers – research shows top students do a lot more practise tests.
  • Read extra material, making notes of relevant material and then refer to it in your essay.
  • Look for a unique angle – demonstrate you understand opposing opinions and then explain why you believe one argument is more correct. Evaluation is one of the higher-order thinking skills.
  • Avoid stressed people and those who speculate about what is in the exam on the day. Aim to stay calm.

On exam day, after a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast:

  • It usually takes about 10 minutes to focus on the exam – start mentally rehearsing what you are going to do before the examiner says start.
  • Check how many marks are allocated to each part of the exam question.
  • Read and re-read the questions – look for negatives eg. “Which is NOT an example of …..
  • Stay calm and keep things in perspective. Each exam is worth only a portion of your final mark.

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