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Essay-Type Exams Presented by: Dr Derek Richards Adapated from Mark Mathews workshop.

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Presentation on theme: "Essay-Type Exams Presented by: Dr Derek Richards Adapated from Mark Mathews workshop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Essay-Type Exams Presented by: Dr Derek Richards Adapated from Mark Mathews workshop

2 Today’s Workshop 1.How to do well 2.Structure of essay type question 3.Where marks are lost 4.Practice 5.Exam writing Sources: Exam Guide, SU & Student Learning How to Do Badly in Examinations, Dr. Frank Bannister How to Succeed in Exams.., McMillan & Weyers

3 Grading

4 I Thorough, deep understanding Critical thinking, insight, creativity Well written Nearly all points II.I Good grasp of subject Critical & Analytical thinking Logical Clear Presentation Nearly all key points

5 Grading II.II Solid Answer Knowledge beyond lectures Good on facts Writing good, some structure III Knowledge Facts, but little insight Narrow/ No critical thought Poorly written / incoherent F Little Factual Content & Errors

6 How to Do Well

7 Answer the Question Demonstrate that you understand the question The structure is as important as what you know More is not necessarily better

8 Understand what is being asked Only answer the QUESTION Do not include irrelevant material Underline keywords: “Cause & Effect” “Explain & Discuss” “Compare & Contrast”

9 How to do well 1.Provide Analytical Answer (not descriptive) 2.Describe the context & situation 3.Discuss the implications (theoretical & practical) 4.Display evidence of reading/ thinking around debate 5.Do not just assert something is true, prove it. What facts, figures, examples, tests, etc. prove your point? 6.Cover all sides

10 Essay Structure

11 Step-by-Step Method 1.Read Question 2.Capture your ideas 3.Do quick outline 4.Start writing 5.Add new ideas to outline

12 Structure for essay writing Introduction Main body – divided into paragraphs (make one point, expand and give evidence) Conclusion Adapted from: Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically. 3 rd ed. Boston: Heinle/Thompson Learning. Inc, Seattle University Writing Centre. For more information: Hacker, Diana. A Writers Reference. 5 th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

13 Develop an Outline Discuss the different services a junior college offers a community. Outline: Introduction Body »Vocational education »Continuing education »Personal development Conclusion

14 Introduction The introduction is about the question – not the answer Restate question in your own words Find and use the key words Show you understand the question define the key words/concepts/theories etc (see handout on key verbs).

15 Restate Question as Statement "Discuss the different services a junior college offers a community.“ A junior college offers the community at least three main types of educational services: vocational education for young people, continuing education for older people, and personal development for all individuals. From

16 Main Body Develop points from outline Paragraphs – One point per paragraph – Explain point – Evidence to support point

17 Conclusion Conclude the essay by emphasising how each part you have described makes up the whole, summarise the points made,to answer the question. From

18 Where marks are lost

19 How you lose marks Re-interpreting the Question Writing out the question Pointless Definitions / Quotes Poor English Bullet Points Lack of structure (aka Brain Dumping)

20 How you lose marks Taking a long time to get to the point Irrelevance Repetition 1.Present what you know 2.Add Value 3.Get to the point

21 Over-complication What is meant by each of the following data mining terms? In each case, include a simple example to illustrate your answer. Decision trees; Clustering; Accuracy; Coverage. (8 Marks)

22 Over-complication Decision trees are used in data mining as a way of progressively breaking down data into groups. As this happens, the number in each classification may be noted. A customer database may break down as 70% male, 30% female. The males may be divided into those that spend over €1,000 a year with us (90%) and those that do not (10%). The same subdivision for female shows that only 2% of females spend over €1,000 with us. The high spending males break-down into 77% under 30 and 23% over 30 years of age. When females are divided into high and low spending, it might be found that 80% of high spenders are repeat customers and 20% are not. Low spending females, on the other hand, might be 90% non repeating customers. A parallel analysis of high spending male customers might show that…

23 Padding Work breakdown structures are important. They are used in all projects including civil, mechanical and electrical engineering projects as well as software projects. Work breakdown structures decompose the work to be done in a project into successively smaller components. The result is a hierarchical structure. This is usually done by the project manager, but may be done by sub managers or engineers. Being able to prepare a work breakdown is an important project management skill and needs experience. Specialist engineers may be required to complete a WBS where specialised work is involved. The work breakdown structure enables the project manager to estimate more accurately and later on helps in controlling the project. A typical breakdown may start with a project being divided into phases, stages, activities and tasks. The lowest level in the breakdown is usually a task though occasionally task may be further subdivided into sub-task or even steps. The number of tasks in a project can be very large. The absence of a work breakdown structure can cause problems in a project as it may not be possible to estimate accurately or assign work effectively. If the work breakdown structure is not complete in some way, then the project is almost certain to overrun. One project manager was quoted as saying that a good work breakdown structure is of ‘monumental importance’. A proper work breakdown structure is normally coded with a simple numeric coding system. The work breakdown structure may also be reflected in a Gantt chart. A Gantt chart is a sort of horizontal bar chart used for showing the timing and duration of the various stages of a project.

24 How to get from here to there

25 Practice

26 Would you sit your driving test without ever driving a car?

27 Practice makes perfect…

28 Practice Exam Skills 50% how well you know your material 50% performance in exams Knowing something is not the same as being able to do it when the situation demands it. You need to practice in a simulated environment.

29 Steps to Practice 1.Get sample exam questions 2.Practice your starting procedures 3.Practice analysing questions (5 mins) 4.Practice generating ideas (5 mins) 5.Practice developing a structure (5 mins) 6.Practice writing Introduction (5 mins) 7.Practice past exam questions (timed and un timed) 8.Mark your own answers as critically as possibly

30 mer_nonTSM.html mer_nonTSM.html

31 Study preparation 1.Generate a list of major topics using your notes and past exam papers. 2.Create a chart or summary sheet of the main topics. 3.Generate ideas and plan an outline for each question 4.Follow a structure and review your essays (time spent and quality of your answers)

32 Not practicing leads to.. Poor Handwriting Brain Dumping Irrelevant Material Poor Structure Running out of time Anxiety

33 Exam Writing

34 Equal time for equal marks Leave time at beginning (to plan) and end (to check) paper. Question 2 40 minutes Question 3 40 minutes Question 4 40 minutes Question 1 40 minutes

35 Maximum gains for time are in the early stages of your answer Plan your time in advance Rehearse producing quality work in time available Equal Time for Equal Marks

36 Writing Keep your writing simple Short sentences Practice writing Avoid unsupported value judgements - “World War II was really important.”

37 Think about your examiner

38 Make your writing legible!!

39 Tour Guide Use signpost words to develop your argument “This is the broad area, but these are the key issues because…” Headings to delineate sections

40 A good answer is: Well Focused Answers the question completely, Avoids "padding." Well Organized Plan - outline Introduction which restate the question, states the point(s) you are going to make and also, if possible, how you are going to proceed. Body that makes clear, well supported, relevant points Conclusion which summarizes the material covered and emphasizes your main points. Well Supported Use facts, figures, examples, tests, etc. prove your point. Well Packaged Use conventions of language in your field. Adapted from

41 Remember!

42 Main Points to remember! REVISION BEFORE THE EXAM Rehearse– look at old exam papers Practice producing quality work in time available e.g. If questions are 20 mins long, practice writing answers for 20 mins

43 Main Points to remember! IN THE EXAM Answer the question asked – key words Equal time for equal points – plan time in advance if possible Do an outline as a guideline Write clearly, simply and legibly

44 learning/undergraduate/topics/exams/

45 Watch out for upcoming workshops Science Exam Skills – Wednesday 27 March Exam Taking Strategies – Tuesday 2 nd, Thursday 4 th, Wed 10 th April Exam Nerves – how to overcome them – Tuesday 9 th April

46 Student Learning Development Phone us Visit our website at: Twitter: Facebook:

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