2Fear and loathing of exams How many of these do you agree with?I think I should have read everything on the course before sitting the examI don't understand a lot about this course so it isn't worth taking the examI'm going to be shown up as really stupid or a fraudIf I fail these exams it's going to ruin my lifeThe exams will show up all the holes in my educationExams are for people with good memoriesI don't understand what the exam questions are aboutPeople who can write quickly always do better in examsYou've got to revise to the point of collapse before exams
3Fear and loathing of exams The mythology of exams
4Mythology of exams I think I should have read everything on the course Most people devote a lot of their time to what interests them.How practical is it to read everything about everything?There's a limit to what you can write in, say, a three hour exam.Work out how best you can use what you have done
5Mythology of examsI don't understand a lot about this course so it isn't worth taking the exam.Being clear about what you don't understand is the first step to understanding.Use the revision period to systematically review your learning and toseek the guidance and help of your friends and/or your tutors.Try to be positive, nobody understands everything,Everybody feels unprepared and confused at some time -You are not necessarily unprepared and confused about the same thing as your friends. Help each other.
6Mythology of examsI'm going to be shown up as really stupid or a fraudTutors, by and large, don't want people to fail.They'll be looking for positive responses in the exams.Remember exams and other Sorts of assessments are partly there to help you and your tutor to identify areas where both you and others need extra help and guidance.
7Mythology of examsThe exams will show up all the holes in my education.Exams create an atmosphere of anxiety which it's difficult to pin down.University exams are usually testing something specific not looking to categorise your intellect in general sense.Concentrate on what you've learned during the course not before the course.Always ask yourself 'What is this exam seeking to assess’?
8Mythology of exams Exams are for people with good memories. University tutors are likely to be more interested in what you understand rather than in the the amount of facts that you know.A good memory for facts helps, but it does not replace understanding of principlesMemory can in any case be helped by appropriate revision techniques.
9Mythology of examsI don't understand what the exam questions are about.Try not to panic when you look at past exam papers.In many cases the examiners will want to indicate important topics without answering the question for you.They'll also want to give you space to make your own arguments and judgements.Work on making the links betweenthe exam questions andwhat's been signposted as significant during the course.
10Mythology of examsPeople who can write quickly always do better in exams.It's not quantity but quality that counts.Have your ideas and your exam Strategy planned.If you're particularly worried about your handwriting speed try practicing writing.If you've got a physical disability which may effect your handwriting speed, Seek help.
11Mythology of examsYou've got to revise to the point of collapse before exams.Most people spend some time revising before exams.It's important to manage revision time effectively by planning time, revision content etc and leaving some space for yourself.Don't turn your social and personal life off just because of exams.Giving yourself some personal, recreational reward can positively help your revision.
13When Should I start?There's no easy answer to this : It's all tied intoyour personal preferences for Study,your other commitments andwhy you're studying.You'd be well advised, however, not to leave everything to the last minute or not to give any thought to a revision plan.
14Should I use past exam papers? Yes, this is an excellent idea but don't panic at first Sight of them : look forThe instructions telling you what to doThe relationship between the questions and what you've studied on the courseWhat sort of questions are askedThe implications the structure of exam paper has for the way you approach the actual exam
15Should I revise the entire course? Only if the course objectives suggest that you should do so.Many exams are designed so as to allow you to be selective.If management of the course content is an issue be brutal in selecting those areas that you wish to revise for.
16Should I have an exam timetable? Yes, to fail to plan is to plan to fail.An exam timetable should identify time forStudying the last part of your courseThe parts of the course you have decided to revisePractice time for exam questionsRewards e.g. recreation time/'time off'.You'll probably be unable to stick to the timetablebut it will give some idea of the scale/nature of the tasks in front of you.
17Should I have an exam timetable? Part of this planning exercise Should also involve you in sorting out your course materials.This will;help you to make your material more accessibleGive some form and structure to the course,help you to identify themes, issues etc.
18Should I try to identify key questions, issues etc? This would be very, very helpful :Ask yourself what are the critical elements of the course?What's the point of Studying X or Y or Z?Refer to your notes and those topics identified in the study guides.
19Is it worth writing new notes during revision? Yes. In particular it's a good idea to reduce notes to simple summary sheets.The process could work like thisCondensed notes (from articles, textbooks, lectures etc) for a particular topicSummary sheet for a particular topicMind maps can be useful here for identifying linksThis process will also help you to memorise factual and other material.
20Should I try answering past exam questions? Very useful approach :You don't have to answer them in full, seek only to provide outline answers.Ask yourselfWhat is the question actually asking?What evidence do I need from the course to answer it? Which course topics does it relate to?How Should I present my answer/argument?
21Should I try answering past exam questions? This will also give you practice in using the intellectual processes valued by university examiners.You could also consider trying to formulate your questions as a way of gaining insights into how examiners minds work,but remember many students have come to grief trying to spot questions!
23Exam Technique Start to write fairly quickly Take your best question first - or secondPlan your answer to each questionDraw up a time plan - and stick to it!Attempt all questions asked forWrite legiblyDo not cross out rough workReview
24Examiners’ pet hates Failing to answer the question set Failing to follow instructionsPoor PresentationFailing to check for obvious errors
25Six helpful hintsRead the rubric on the front of the exam paper and make sure you understand what you have to doRead all the questions through carefully before startingAnswer the number of questions you were asked to; no more, no lessIf you are stuck on a question, move on to the next one. It is much easier to get 40% on a question than it is to improve your mark from 50% to 90%Write your plan in the answer book. If you run out of time, it is probably worth a few marks.It is much easier to get full marks for a calculation than for an essay
26Exams are a “game” Play by the rules and you will win! And Finally: RememberExams are a “game”Play by the rules and you will win!