The art of passing exams

Examinations alongside interviews can be two of the most daunting experiences one can go through. The ability to be able to handle pressure applying your knowledge of a particular subject, especially within a given time limit is vital. When this important factor isn’t taken into consideration, it can be the main reason for people not to do as well as they hoped for – alongside a lack of preparation. I will begin to share my personal top tips which I consistently used throughout my years of education.
 
Lecture notes/seminars

The key here is making sure you are fully prepared! Ensure you have gone through the lecture notes provided (more than once), and produce further detailed notes alongside this. The reason for this is because the lecture slides can be extremely vague and may only enable you to obtain a bare pass. However, the people that do well are the people that dig deeper into the topic at hand.  You want to be able to impress you’re teacher with your answers, and going past the bare minimum is a good way of starting. With this in mind, work through any seminar questions or case studies, not just focusing on the first ones on the sheet, but challenging yourself by working through the harder questions, as these are the ones that are more likely to appear in the exam.
 
Past exam papers

Put yourself under exam conditions when attempting these past exam papers, doing as many as possible. This will enable you to become familiar with the different types of questions that could potentially come up in the exam. This method is also a good benchmark which can show you how well you would do in the exam at that point in time, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses. At this point, you’ll be able to address your “problem areas” before the actual exam.

Always take your answers to your teacher/lecturer to ensure you are answering the question correctly, and also obtain tips from them on how to answer the question at a higher standard. Never be content with anything less than 100%
 
Exam rota

Having a detailed exam rota is essential, and if you stick to it, you’ll grasp the concept of effective time management. Effective time management will allow you to assign specific time slots to subjects as per their importance. Focusing your attention on modules which you aren’t as confident in, will eventually increase your ability to perform at a standard above which you thought wasn’t achievable. Once you maintain the discipline you will not shy away from the challenging modules, as you force yourself to revise the topics. A common misconception made by some of my colleagues is to just focus on your strengths to “beef up” your weaknesses. This technique is dangerous, the reason being that if you don’t do as well as you would have hoped in these modules, it may end up being a disappointing exam period.
 
Time your paper

This one is quite self explanatory. Weight the amount of time you spend in the exam in relation to the amount of marks available to the question. It’s easy to lose focus and spend half the time on a 10 mark question, leaving yourself rushed to pick up the rest of the 90 marks. Before starting the exam write any relevant notes/formulae and check the mark structure of the exam. This will help you build a mental plan of the best way to tackle the exam. One thing that helped me here was having a watch on my desk to help me keep track of the time.
 
Tutor

During my time at university, I had a part time job at Tesco. The income I received here primarily went on two things; my driving lessons and getting a tutor when it came to exam time. I felt that this was crucial to consolidate and re-enforce what I had been taught.

It’s also easier for a tutor with a greater wealth of experience to go that extra mile to give you more than just a standard answer to a question. The short term pain I had to endure doesn’t compare to the long term gain- achieving a 1st class degree that can’t be taken away from me.

Tutoring students from Key Stage 1 up to and including University level is something which my colleagues and I have enjoyed doing. Covering a range of subjects, we essentially get to witness outstanding results; hence this continues to encourage us all. We have been able to celebrate with our students, after intensive revision and exam preparation, so they can all achieve the results they deserve.
 
For any further advice on anything shared above, or would like to find out a bit more about the tutoring, feel free to send me an email; Joshua.bright@live.co.uk
 

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