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First Year Theology Students after a hard day in the Exam Hall.

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Presentation on theme: "First Year Theology Students after a hard day in the Exam Hall."— Presentation transcript:

1 First Year Theology Students after a hard day in the Exam Hall

2 Preparing for Examinations in Theology Workshop 21 November, 2008

3 Before we begin … Take two minutes to jot down a few thoughts for yourself (not for sharing) so be honest –What most worries me about the exams is ….

4 Outline of the Session 1. A general overview –Why examinations? –Revision –what and how –On the day –An examiner’s view of examinations 2. Subject by Subject Systematic Theology Moral Theology Scripture 3. Questions and Comment

5 Why examinations? Examinations are part of the learning process –An element in assessment The assessment has already started – Continuous Assessment –Stimulus to order your thoughts –Help you to think under pressure –Satisfaction of knowing that you have studied –Step on the way to your degree and future career

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7 Revision –what and how Revision: a. The action of revising or looking over again; esp. critical or careful examination or perusal with a view to correcting or improving. Also spec., the action of going over a subject that has already been learnt, esp. in preparation for an examination. (Oxford English Dictionary)

8 “going over a subject that has already been learnt” –You are (well, should not be) not seeing it for the first time! –Reviewing – putting into order all the material at your disposal e.g. Course outline Lecture Notes – lecturer’s handouts and your own Text Book MOODLE Notes of your reading and study

9 Get a framework! –What was the aim of this course? –If in doubt, look at the aim in Course Module in Kalendarium –What were the main sections – how do they relate to one and other? Test yourself! –Try to write outline answers to possible questions without consulting the textbook or notes

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11 How to Revise What works for you We are all different and work to different rhythms Spread it out – don’t leave it to the end Revise actively Note-taking Learning – e.g. definitions Synthesizing – making connections Test yourself e.g. questions in text-book Half hour of active revision better than two just turning over the pages If you get stuck, take a break – walk, coffee etc

12 Practical Tips Time of Day We are all different and work to different rhythms Alone or with others? What works for you If working with others, need discipline! –e.g. time, place, how long will we work, what method will we use … A Balanced Life Don’t let the other bits of your life disappear –Socialising, sport, family –Fresh air helps the brain –Adequate sleep –Drink and study don’t mix

13 A Word to Mature Students Your first exams are another adventure – enjoy it! Your fears are reasonable e.g. ‘I’ve never done a written exam before’ –You’ve done lots of new things since September! ‘The old memory lets me down’ –but it is not just memory work How will I get through so much? –Take it in stages and pace yourself Talk about them to your mentor or lecturers

14 At the Examination Read the instructions you will get before the examination carefully Check the time-table for –exam dates –Times –Place – Ist Theology exams usually in Top Loftus –First day check your seat on the plan Arrive on time but not too early Comparing notes with others can make you nervous

15 Fill out all the details at top of the script, and each subsequent one fully and correctly Follow the instructions of the invigilators Follow instructions on the question paper If it says ‘two questions’ do two, not three Take some time to plan the answer – rough work Keep an eye on the clock Read the final product before the end

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17 What do I do if I get a blank? –Pause for breath and relax –Look at your rough work –Try writing a couple of sentences at the end of your rough work –Continue –only in very extreme cases should you start all over again

18 What are they looking for? An examiner’s view of examinations

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20 Examiner’s View of Exams 1. We are on your side! –An exam not an attempt to trip you up –We love to see you thinking! –We do not have to meet a ‘failure quota!’ –Failing you means more work for us! –We DO like you and want you to do well

21 I need to be able to read your paper, so write clearly I need to be able to read your paper, so write clearly keep your handwriting neat keep your handwriting neat use space intelligently use space intelligently skip a few lines between answers skip a few lines between answers number answers as on exam paper number answers as on exam paper you are not illuminating the Book of Kells, so no colours please you are not illuminating the Book of Kells, so no colours please

22 Answer the question as it is set, not as you wish it had been set Answer the question as it is set, not as you wish it had been set Exam questions are never set in the ‘tell everything you know about …’ format Exam questions are never set in the ‘tell everything you know about …’ format Make sure you understand what the question means – note words like Make sure you understand what the question means – note words like  ‘ Outline …’  ‘Discuss..’  ‘Compare …’  ‘Give examples …’

23 Three examples from past papers –Comment on the two versions of the Covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 and 17, highlighting any important points of theological interest. (Scripture) –Outline the teaching of Dei Verbum on the transmission of divine revelation. (Systematic) Underlining in the original paper. –Write a short note on each of the following (a) principle of double effect, (b) intrinsically evil acts (c) formal and material norms. Give examples of each. (Moral)

24 It helps to have a beginning, a middle and an end! It helps to have a beginning, a middle and an end! A logical order to your presentation – spend some time marshalling your ideas A logical order to your presentation – spend some time marshalling your ideas A good introductory paragraph is essential A good introductory paragraph is essential It should be an advance summary of what you intend doing in the answer Round off with a brief conclusion Round off with a brief conclusion

25 Be sure you understand the technical terms of your subject Be sure you understand the technical terms of your subject Do not write out long biblical quotations (they are easier to read in the bible). Just give the reference (Chapter and verse) and enough to make your point Do not write out long biblical quotations (they are easier to read in the bible). Just give the reference (Chapter and verse) and enough to make your point Please re-read your paper for spelling and writing mistakes Please re-read your paper for spelling and writing mistakes

26 Common errors in exam scripts over-use of apostrophe over-use of apostrophe Apostrophe is a sign of possession, not plural. Apostrophe is a sign of possession, not plural. But ‘it’s’ means ‘it is,’ not ‘of it’ But ‘it’s’ means ‘it is,’ not ‘of it’ confusion of ‘where’ and ‘were’, ‘there’ and ‘their’ confusion of ‘where’ and ‘were’, ‘there’ and ‘their’ using past participle for past tense – e.g. ‘she done’ for ‘she did,’ ‘he rung’ for ‘he rang’ using past participle for past tense – e.g. ‘she done’ for ‘she did,’ ‘he rung’ for ‘he rang’ do not use ‘textese’ do not use ‘textese’

27 Do your own work! Plagiarism is against the rules

28 After the Exams … Take a rest! We look forward to seeing you back for second semester – begins 2 February Interim results (letter grade A, B, C etc) will be posted on the notice board according to numbers ‘interim’ because all results need to be passed by Examination Board – in your interests If you have a query, there is a Consultation Day

29 What it is all about – roll on November 2011!

30 A student’s prayer O wise God, I pray that my mind might be rested, my body energized, and my spirit inspired for the exam I must write. Grant me peace and assurance so that I might do the best I am able, regardless of what that might be. Be with my fellow students and may I be a good example to them, offering reassurance and confidence regardless of how I feel. May I be honest and insightful, and able to give a true record of what I have learned. In the end, may any disappointment be borne with grace, and any joy accompanied with humility. I write this exam with you, O Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


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