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Value of Examinations

Exams value your memories and your skills and ability to understand what you are studying. They make you prepare before hand and, if they are unseen, they make you cover a lot of topics as you do not know the questions. They also force you to be specific and focused, as time is limited in most exams.

Examinations test a student’s knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. They bring questions from an entire module together in a challenging environment.

It is wise to remember that exams are not there as punishment. Instead, they are a good way of testing to see how much information you have learnt.

I am always scared of exams, and I have exams coming up shortly. I always feel that in exams there is always not enough time. That actually sends me panicking. Also, I always feel that I am not answering the question the way the examiner wants it answered. Despite this I still I have some tips which I think are useful.

  1. Start studying early.
  2. Use your class notes and textbooks
  3. Make a timetable for the period you are studying
  4. Work together. For example, form a small group
  5. Review all the materials at least once after your main study session
  6. Think up a few questions you might be asked on you exam, and try answering them
  7. Keep cool and calculated

I hate exams, but I have realised that you cannot run away from them as there is always another one waiting around the corner

Examinations are not really something to fear because, usually, if you attend to revising your subject you should not have to much of a problem when you get into the exam.

Examinations are stressful to some people while others like them as they consider them a challenge. Exams were the norm throughout school life and this may be why I have no problems with them. Other people may find they are more relaxed about exams when they get used to them.

General Advice

Examinations are not required on all modules: some are assessed by essays, reports, presentations and so on. If you are taking a module that has an exam, it is essential that you take notes in lectures. There is always required reading but if there is an exam the more information you have the better. Make sure you know names and dates and some quotes: a certain amount are essential to pass. Do not sit up the night before, cramming all your information in. On the other hand, do not revise too far in advance because it will be forgotten. Set a time plan so that you include everything.

Different kinds of assessment may require different styles of study. For example, a module with an essay at the end will probably require careful, in depth work on the essay over the course of the module. Different skills may be called for by a module with an exam at the end. My tips are:

  1. Make sure you have covered all sections of your syllabus
  2. Organise all your notes in an orderly fashion for fast referencing during revision
  3. Set up a revision timetable that covers revision on all your exams
  4. Find a study aid that helps you to remember facts. Mine is putting four A4 sheets of paper together and drawing large root maps [or spider-grams] with key phrases and quotes
  5. Have an efficient amount of sleep before the exam day
  6. Allow enough time to organize any equipment you need and to travel comfortably to where the examination is to take place

Value of Past-papers

It is a good idea to look for past papers and have group discussions in order to answer the questions. In most cases, examiners only make slight changes from year to year. Quite often questions are just reworded. By comparing questions from year to year you can get a good idea about the substance the examiners are looking for and prepare yourself to recognize the questions you have revised for when you sit the exam.

Copies of past exam papers are often kept in University libraries. You may find it helps to group questions from different years by topic rather working through the papers year by year. You might, for example identify all questions on one topic from the past five years. Then move on to another subject.

 

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