Hone exam techniques

Exams don’t tell us how smart or knowledgeable a student is, only how good he or she is at taking exams. Unfortunately, it is what teachers, institutions, and your future employers use to evaluate you.

Spot. Know what groups of questions are likely to come out. Put more effort into the high-probability ones, less effort into the others. It is almost impossible to cover every part of the syllabus thoroughly. Caveat: Don’t narrow down too much.

Select the kind of questions that will give you good marks. Scan the whole list of questions to determine the ones that you know you can do well. Example: give priority to numerical questions in subjects that have a verbal and numerical component, such as science subjects and economics. Generally, it takes less time to complete numerical questions and you are more likely to score higher marks. Use the time saved to do really well in the verbal questions.

Connect the concepts – often a question about one concept gives you the opportunity to bring in other concepts. Give more effort to refreshing advanced concepts and less to basic concepts. Although understanding the latter is important, examinations give more weight to the former. Many students in the semester system find to their surprise that exams tend to focus on the more difficult concepts taught in the last few weeks than the easy stuff in the beginning of the term.

Practice past exam papers. This will focus you on questions that surface in exams rather than areas of the syllabus that don’t need to be tested. It helps you with practicing for the real exam. Do this from the beginning of your course.

Clear your mind the day before the exam. Rest thoroughly and deeply.

Related skills:
Relax deeply
Manage your environment

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