Some Exam Technique Advice


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Few, if any, people enjoy exams or the buildup towards them. Perhaps the only good aspect of exams is the relief when they are over. And even then we worry that we might have done poorly. But exams are an inevitable part of life, at least in our teens. So we should aim to do as well in exams as humanly possible, because the results are permanent, and good results open up more education possibilities latter on.
So how can we perform to our potential in exams?

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If we have formed the habit of constantly writing, particularly about the subjects we are presently studying, we find that writing becomes second nature. Some people make the mistake of thinking that that will be able to write about a subject if they understand it in their head. But understanding something and being able to explain it to someone else, let alone write about it, are different things. Try writing about a subject as if you were writing the definitive textbook. And then try doing some old exam questions.
Find some solid, pithy quotes on the subject you are studying, and memorize these for the exams. One or two good relevant quotes appeal to authority on the subject, make you look well read, and can often be worth a few extra marks.

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Part of the problem of exams is the stress of the situation. Everybody has heard of performance anxiety and stage fright, and it is hard end up in a vicious circle here, with worry about performance making the performance worse.
One simple but effective habit here is to constantly experience the same situation as the actual exam. If we write under exam conditions every other week we find the exam situation loses it scary edge. So the actual exam feels like a final performance rather than a first attempt.

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– Do whatever it takes to get a good night’s sleep, but avoid any medication – this often had a bad effect the next day.
– Avoid junk food for a few days before the exam. Eat healthy foods with protein and plenty of vegetables.
– Read exam questions carefully. Almost every exam loses a few marks because of carelessness, and a misread question can be a disaster.

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Exams are our chance to show just what we can do. Coaching help us to really reach our potential under exam conditions.

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