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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 28

INVALUABLE TIPS WHEN WRITING THE EXAM

  1. Make sure that you have the correct exam paper.
  2. Read the whole exam paper carefully before you start writing the answers.
  3. Plan carefully so that you complete the required number of questions within the prescribed time.
  4. Study the instructions carefully so you know exactly how many questions you should choose. You may be required to choose between questions, but often also inside the questions themselves.
  5. Read the question carefully and underline the verbs. The verbs tell you exactly what is expected of you.
  6. Number the questions correctly and exactly as in the paper.
  7. Plan roughly the structure of your answer before you start writing.
  8. Read the instructions on the paper carefully and attentively.
  9. Leave rows open between questions and always start each new section on a new page.
  10. If time allows, read your answers to check whether they are correct.
  11. Write clearly and legibly.
  12. Do not panic, enjoy the challenge and the opportunity it offers you to test your knowledge.
  13. Always write as much as possible. In most cases, you will have to give more than one fact for one mark; you will have to write more.
  14. Remember that the quality of the answers be marked as a whole and not just the number of facts.
  15. In most of the questions you will be expected to apply your knowledge.
  16. Answer the questions in the required format, e.g. In the form of an essay, a program, a review, an interview, a letter, a calculation etc.
  17. Before submitting your paper, make sure you have crossed out all the rough work or questions you do not want to be marked. 
  18. Make sure all your answer books/addendums/appendices are submitted.

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Monday, 14 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 27

BE HONEST

Never resolve to dishonesty if you do not know the answer to a question. Parents and educators should teach students not to use any kind of malpractice in the exam hall, as the penalties may be detrimental to their future and even lead to expulsion if it becomes known.

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 26

WRITE NEATLY AND PRESENT WELL

Write down your answers neatly and legibly. It makes it easier for your teacher to mark your answer sheet if it is presented in such a way that your answers can be clearly distinguished from each other. Use the correct numbering scheme that corresponds to the questions, even if your answers do not follow chronologically. Remember, you have a better chance of securing your marks if presented clearly. If your handwriting is illegible and your work is presented in a chaotic fashion you might miss out on marks simply because no one can read whether your answer is correct or not. It might be very difficult to convince them otherwise.

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 25

DO THE QUESTIONS YOU KNOW FIRST

Time is limited during an exam so try to complete the questions that you do know the answers of first. You can always go back to complete the questions that you skipped over. When struggling with a question you don’t know the answer of you are only wasting time. You will be forced to rush through the questions that you do know the answers of, which can lead to negligent mistakes. 

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 24

ARRIVE ON TIME

It is best to arrive early for the exam than to run in at the last minute feeling anxious and flustered. Give yourself at least 10 minutes to gather your thoughts and settle down before you enter. You will feel much calmer knowing that you don’t need to rush against time and can choose a good place to sit- preferably away from distracting or anxious classmates.

Be relaxed right before you start writing. Do not try to cram work mere minutes before you write. 

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 23

TRUST IN GOD

If you are religious you can pray before an exam. Remember that God will not write the exam for you or give you answers supernaturally if you have not studied, but He can give you strength, peace and wisdom. He will guide you in this stressful period. 

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 22

BE ACTIVE

Do not get so caught up in studying that you neglect a healthy lifestyle. You will in fact benefit from being active during your exams. It has scientifically been proven that as little as 20 minutes of cardio can improve your memory retention. It will increase your levels of energy - which is important to concentrate. Exercise is also helpful to release stress. Any physical activity such as running, jogging, walking, biking, or dancing is good.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 21

EAT HEALTHY, NUTRITIOUS FOOD AND DRINK WATER

Often students make the mistake of falling into unhealthy eating habits during exams. What you put into your body just as essential for your mind as the material you study. Without the correct nutrition you won’t perform as well as you would like to. When your mind is active, your brain consumes glucose - so you need to take in healthy foods so that your brain can produce more fuel for you. 

Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast the morning of the exam. Eat a breakfast that contains lean protein, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. This can be spinach omelette with smoked salmon, whole wheat toast, and a banana. Do not eat cereal, because it won’t give you the energy that you need. If you really do not have enough time to make a big breakfast, rather eat something like oatmeal which is high in carbohydrates and fibre and slow-digesting.

Bring a snack to the exam location if you are permitted. A snack such as a whole-wheat peanut butter sandwich or a granola bar which is complex in carbohydrates and protein is good as it will boost your concentration. Almonds, fruit, and yogurt are also good choices.

Not only on the day that you write your exam is it important to eat healthy, but also the week before. Maintain a healthy diet filled with fruit and vegetables, and foods that will supply you with plenty of energy. Avoid eating junk food that will make you feel fatigued. 

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 20

DO NOT MISS OUT ON SLEEP

Children in primary school require 10 – 11 hours of sleep at night, while adolescents require a minimum of 6 but preferably 8 – 10 hours of sleep. If a person sleeps for too few hours a night for a prolonged time period, it accumulates to what is known as sleep debt. To restore this several weeks of optimal sleep is required. 

Sleeping patterns are very important during exam periods and often neglected and underestimated. Sleep holds many benefits for us including the processing of information during REM and non-REM sleep. 

Many students believe that they need more time to study and end up pushing on until the early morning hours. Your sleeping pattern, and more specifically rapid-eye movement (REM) (which aids memory) is disturbed when you have to wake up only after a short period of sleep. One cannot sustain it for an entire exam period. It may cause many problems which can prevent you from performing your best. 

Avoid the “all-nighter”. This is not a good idea since you will not only feel extremely fatigued the next day, but your memory and reason will be impaired. This will reflect poorly on your grades. 

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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 19

CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE REGARDING EXAMINATIONS

Change the way you think about examinations. An exam is very important and good results are important as well, but a single test or exam cannot determine your future or success in life. It is the accumulation of years of dedication and hard work that can bring you success. 

Do not become discouraged or overwhelmed if you do not receive the score you worked for. It simply means that there are areas which you can improve on. 

Remind yourself that it is only an exam and there will be others to prove yourself. When you have improved, but aren’t quite there yet, remind yourself of all the progress you have made so far. Reward yourself after the exam if you have studied hard. Stay motivated and plan ahead.

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 18

AVOID NEGATIVE ENERGY AROUND YOU

Try to stay away from peers that have a negative attitude regarding exams. This will influence you negatively as well and demotivate you to study. Also do not talk about the work with people that are very stressed before the exam. They might make you anxious about the exam or work that you do not know very well, which may cause you to stress even about the work that you do know well.

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Monday, 7 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 17

HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR OWN ABILITIES

During the stressful exam period one should have a positive attitude and mind-set regarding studying. It is important to believe in yourself and your own abilities. You should study and write exams with confidence. Lack of self-confidence can lead to unnecessary stress which will affect your performance negatively. Do not focus on how little you think you know, or how poorly your previous test or exam went. You should not let this distract you from being successful. Certain things are beyond your control, and parents should also understand this. To rather encourage and motivate students than to dishearten them if they do not receive the desired marks. 

This does not mean that you do not need to work on getting good grades, even if you are confident in yourself you should always strive to do your best. Success builds on success, and the more successful you are the more confident you will become in yourself and challenges that are out of your comfort zone will also be approached with much more ease than before.

If you do suffer from anxiety due to a number of possible reasons, it might be best to first determine the source of your anxiety. Is it rational? If you did not study for a test or exam, the fear of failure will be a logical response. If you have studied a few weeks in advance for the test/exam and have done everything you could to prepare for it, you do not need to fear it. You can try various methods to relieve stress such as meditation, breathing exercises or even seeing a psychologist if it is necessary.

Do not overreact. It is just a test or exam. Don’t forget that you are a human being and can only do so much in one day. Do not forget to look after your human needs such as eating or sleeping when stressed for the exams.

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 16

SEEK HELP FROM OTHERS

If you struggle with a section of the material or the entire subject in general, seek help from people that do understand it. You will benefit greatly by learning from others. Do not be afraid to ask questions and make sure that they explain it clearly so that you grasp it. If you still struggle to understand it, ask them to elaborate or to explain it in a different way if possible. Do not fear them or worry about what they might think of you if you ask questions. There are no stupid questions, and by keeping quiet you will only cause yourself to become more distressed in the end, since most of the work builds on previous knowledge. If we just accept the world as it is and never ask questions, no great discoveries or inventions would ever see the light of day. As William Arthur Ward put it: “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

It might be a good idea to organise a study group and arrange study dates where you can all come together and discuss the work that you have first studied individually. That way you can ask questions and learn from each other. Don’t be afraid of explaining the work to someone else, because that way you can test yourself to find out how well you know the material. It is good to have conversations about the topic, to share tips and study methods. Remember not to get distracted and start conversations that are irrelevant to the work, otherwise you will be wasting your and your study partners’ valuable time.

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Friday, 4 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 15

THINK OF YOUR TEACHER

When studying, keep in the back of your mind your teacher. This is to say that you should frequently ask yourself what your teacher did discuss regarding a certain topic in class. Did the teacher emphasise certain parts of the work? What will most likely be asked in the exam? What are reasonable expectations of you in the exam? What might be a trick question that you should look out for? Do not waste time studying less important information that will most likely not be asked in an exam. Did your teacher say in class that this might or might not be asked as possible questions? Work through past exam papers and previous assignments during the year.

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 14

ACTIVELY WORK ON YOUR OWN STUDY MATERIAL

You need to take an active role when studying, you should not just read through the work or rewrite your notes repeatedly. Textbooks, teachers and classmates can explain the work to you, but you need to understand what you are studying. This means that you should be able to put what you have studied into your own words. This is essentially what tests and exams are about – to determine whether you have knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and the theory behind it. Get into the habit of explaining the work to yourself, before you enter into the exam location. You will be prepared to answer questions regarding the work since you have thought about it already.

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 13

ADAPT YOUR STUDY TECHNIQUE TO THE STYLE OF THE SUBJECT

We are all unique and should thus study according to our own personal preferences. Some students are visual learners, while others might be auditory or physical. Use study techniques that are appropriate for you, but also remember to adjust your study techniques to fit the subject. Some subjects like history or biology lend them self to make well use of images, diagrams and memorization games. Other subjects like mathematics and physical sciences require a lot of practise to understand.

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Exam Preparation Tip No. 12

TEST YOURSELF

Research has shown that the best way to study is to work through past or practice exam papers. It is therefore extremely important to test yourself. This might be in the form of quizzes, or better yet to work through practise exam papers and to revise past exam questions and assignments. Try to simulate exam conditions if possible - to get into the habit of answering the questions within a specific time. This will put your mind at ease when the actual exam takes place. You will gain insight as to where you stand in relation to your study material.

It will give you self-confidence when you know that you have mastered the study material.

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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 11

USE CREATIVE STUDY TECHNIQUES

Learn the main topics so that you have a good overview of the scope of the work before moving on to the intricate details. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work.

It is also valuable to make brief notes during the study sessions which will help you remember the work when revising it. Make notes of possible questions and try to integrate information from various sources such as text books, personal class notes and slides or appendices from your teacher. Ask yourself what the most important aspect of the material is. What could be possible exam questions?

Rewrite your study material in many different formats. Do not just copy the exact same words as in your notes or text book. The reason behind rewriting is that it will refresh your memory and you will most likely think about the words you write. It will be in your own words so that you understand it. You will be able to remember it better.

Do not try to rush through your work as quickly as possible. Study each section properly, making sure that you understand each section before moving on to the next.

Re-reading, highlighting words and summation is found not to be the most effective way to study. 

Writing the material into different formats is effective and can vary greatly from student to student as each thinks and study differently. Be creative about it and try out as many methods as possible to find what works best for you.  

Mind maps are an excellent method as it is a diagram which is based on a key concept, with more information and related concepts branching out from it. Mind maps are considered as a type of spider diagram. 

Flashcards with key words are also an effective way to study theoretic material such as terminology, definitions or dates. It may contain single words or phrases on small cards that you can easily flip through. You may also choose to write a question on one side of the card and the answer on the other side.

Repeat the work out loud as if you would explain it to your peers. You may use hand gestures and pretend that you are the teacher. Your mind will relate the event with the correct information.

Rewrite long paragraphs into bullet point format as it will be much easier to remember. 

If you find the work to be uninteresting or difficult to memorize, then you can turn it into games. These might include mnemonics, acronyms, rhymes, poems and quizzes, or online educational programs and video and audio resources.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Exam Preparation Tip No. 10

COMPILE A STUDY GUIDE

It is a good idea if there is ample time to write your own study guide, that contains the most important information from your text books and class notes. This will allow you to focus more clearly on core concepts and it is also a different study method, in addition to other techniques you can employ. Do not fall into the trap of spending too much time on creating the study guide, as you will need time to go over it again.

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