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Exam tips you can’t do without

Exam tips you can’t do without

AFTER months of studying and weeks of preparations, the final hour is here – for some of you who begin your exams later than those who are already in their new academic year.

Giving an exam is the most dreadful and torturous experience of student life, which also gives you the sweet fruit of your labour by promoting you to the next class, and the same merciless cycle of studies, tests and exams all over again. The harder you work, the sweeter is the reward.

And besides hard work, how you prepare for your exams, how you manage your exam stress and perform on the examination day are some factors that influence your result.

So while it is a bit late to plan how you will do your exam preparation, as you should have started on it by now, let us look at what you should pay attention to during exams and how to attempt the papers to make sure you secure good marks.

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And as you really don’t have the time to spend on reading a lengthy article, we have tried to give you some exam tips in a simple way so that you can quickly go through our tips and be all set for the exams.

Before the exam

SLEEP WELL: Get enough sleep the night before. You will be tempted to stay up longer than usual, which is fine with some people if they are otherwise not too tired, but if you are too stressed and don’t get enough sleep too, you will be totally blank the next morning.

Do eat something: Most people are too stressed before an exam to eat, but if you don’t eat, you will lack energy and will not be able to perform well. Eat a light, health meal/snack for optimum performance. Avoid heavy foods which can make you groggy.

And with the weather so hot, do keep yourself hydrated. Keep a water bottle nearby — but not on the desk as it might spill and spoil your answer sheet! And don’t have so much liquid that you need to run to the restroom during the examination either.

Visit the washroom: Go to the washroom before the exam if you think you will need to do so in a while. This way you will not waste your time or be distracted.

BE ON TIME: Start early for school and settle down on your desk well before the exam.

TAKE SPARES: Take spare pens and pencils and whatever stationary you will be mostly using. Sharpen you pencils and set your stationary items in the bag the night before.

No borrowing during exams — it’s too distracting and time-wasting!

WEAR A WATCH: Always have a watch handy and keep track of the time during the paper so that you don’t run out of time.

During the exam

READ DIRECTIONS: Do read the instructions at the beginning of the question paper carefully to make sure you know what you have to do.

READ EACH QUESTION: You need to do this to know what you are being asked to do. Don’t presume anything. Reread the question while writing the answer to make sure you are on track.

FOCUS ON YOURSELF: Don’t look around to see how your friends are doing. It can be taken as cheating and it will be distracting.

BUDGET YOUR TIME: Check how many marks each question carries and spend time on each answer accordingly. You will obviously need more time with questions that require lengthy answers.

DO THE EASY ONES FIRST: If you are allowed to attempt questions in any order, do the easy ones first. It will build up your confidence and leave you with enough time to pounder over the difficult ones. If there is a question you don’t know the answer to, leave it for the end rather than spend too much time on it without getting anywhere. But if it carries a lot of marks, make sure you save enough time in the end to come back to it and try and jolt your memory to find the answer.

Try not to leave any question unanswered.

Ask, when unsure: If you are unsure or confused, try and ask the invigilator for clarification, but do it without distrubing others.

WRITE LEGIBLY: An untidy answer sheet and unclear handwriting will make it difficult for the teacher to understand your answer and there are chances that you will not get the marks you deserve.

And mind your spellings even if it is not a language paper because it will affect the overall marks.

SPACE PLEASE: Always leave some lines after each answer, particularly those with different parts and which require detailed answers. This way not only your presentation will be clearer but in case you want to add more to the answer later on, you will also have the space to write on.

Write on alternate lines (leaving every second line blank), if you are allowed to do so. This way making changes when checking through your work will be easy and the answer sheet will be neater.

TAKE YOUR TIME: Don’t try to be the first to finish a test or exam. There are no extra marks for this. And don’t worry if others finish before you. If you have time left, go over your answers. By relaxing or waiting this way, information and details might come to mind which you can add and it will enable you to score additional marks.

RECHECK: Recheck, recalculate and proofread your answer if you have time. Check for careless mistakes, you will be surprised with how many silly mistakes you will be able to correct this way. But don’t change an answer at the last moment if you are unsure, it is likely that you are just getting confused at this time.

Mind games

IN multiple choice comprehension questions based on a text, often the obvious and prominent words from the text are taken and put in an incorrect option. This is to trick the students. Read each answer carefully, seeing a word or phrase from the text is not enough as the questions are designed to test your understanding and comprehension, not recognition of a word from the passage. So the right answer may not carry the key words of the passage at all!

Another trick that examiners sometimes use in multiple choice questions if to use the same letter for the correct answer several times in succession (a, a, a, a, a, etc).

This can make students think that their answers must be wrong as so many consecutive questions can’t carry the correct answer with the same letter (i.e. a, a, a, a, a). This is a psychological tick to make students doubt themselves.

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