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1 Exams Surviving the exam Go to to download the slides for this session.

2 What to take in with you Six steps to surviving the exam Strategies for answering different questions

3 What to take in with you In a clear plastic bag or ziplock bag – Student ID Card (or other photo ID if you do not have a student ID card) – Several pens that work for exams – Highlighter – Calculator and other permitted equipment Clear plastic water bottle No food If open book, text and permitted notes

4 What to take in with you Sense of calm Sense of confidence Think positive Remind yourself of what you do know Avoid panic Find the exam room ahead of time, check the time If you are feeling stressed, try breathing in and out slowly – it works!

5 What to Expect: The Exam Room You will be allowed in 15 minutes before the start Time to get settled Listen to the instructions 10 minutes reading time Desks are allocated according to papers, not people Likely to be several different papers being examined at the same time Clock clearly visible On the desk Exam paper/s Answer booklet

6 What if... What if I go blank? What if I get writer’s cramp? Distract yourself: take a sip of water, change position Relax: take some deep breaths Free writing: brainstorm ideas on a blank piece of paper If these techniques don’t help, move on to the next question Practice writing before the exam Try gripping your pen loosely (or using a fatter pen) Put your pen down and flex your hand in between questions

7 Six steps to surviving the exam During the ten minute reading time Step 1:Check the exam paper Step 2:Read and re-read the instructions Step 3:Allocate your time Step 4:Choose your question order At the start of the exam Step 5:Memory dump Step 6:Start writing

8 During the 10 minute reading time Check the exam paper Are you in the right room? Does your exam have all the pages it should have? Can ask the invigilator for a blank piece of paper

9 During the 10 minute reading time Read the instructions How many questions do you have to answer? –are all sections compulsory or do you get to choose from different options? –check for words that indicate options (“either”, choose two”) Check for other specific instructions (“all working calculations must be shown, etc.)

10 During the 10 minute reading time Allocate your time You want to complete all the compulsory questions You don’t want to run out of time Allocate your time for each question based on: –how much it is worth –the type of question –whether the section is compulsory

11 During the 10 minute reading time Allocate your time One way is to turn the marks the section is worth, into the percentage of time you’ll spend (e.g, a section worth 60 marks, spend 60% of your time) But remember that multiple choice often take less time (another option is to allocate 1 minute for each question). Remember too, that you might: plan, write, and check. (If you have 45 minutes to write an essay, you might: brainstorm points for five minutes, write for 35 minutes, and spend 5 minutes at the end checking what you’ve written). Allocate your time is so that you can move from question to question and get through the entire exam

12 During the 10 minute reading time Choose your question order If you can, consider deciding what order you are going to complete your questions It’s a good idea to attempt the questions you feel most confident about first Can also choose which sections to answer first – do you want to write your essays first or last?

13 At the start of the exam Memory dump Write down all the information you can remember for the questions you are answering Start writing Don’t leave until you have checked your answers and attempted the right number of questions

14 Strategies for answering questions 1.Essays 2.Multiple-choice 3.Short answer questions

15 Essays Choose the questions you will answer during reading time During the first 5 minutes write down the relevant points you can remember (if you haven’t done this during the memory dump) No need to provide references do acknowledge theory and research using relevant names

16 Essays Understand the question examine keywords and command words understand what aspect of the topic you’ve been asked to write about For the structure of the essay, follow the structure of the question develop a thesis statement from the question and include it in your introduction As a general rule: one paragraph = one point supported by an example, explanation, evidence

17 Essays Example Question: In this essay, identify and describe both the institutional and the personal bases of the power of the New Zealand Prime Minister. “New Zealand’s Westminster system of government means there are core institutional bases of power for the Prime Minister, however, there are also crucial personal bases of power”.

18 Multiple choice 2. According to Cantor and Harlow, successful problem solving requires: 1. self-regulation. 2. clearly defined behavioural plans. 3. a personal value system. 4. constant feedback.

19 Multiple choice Do not read through the test during reading time If the correct answer looks obvious, still check to make sure Read the questions carefully and highlight key words Go through and answer the easier questions first – come back to the tougher ones later

20 Multiple choice Try and choose the most correct answer - Sometimes they all mostly right, but there is no “all of the above” choice Top two tips: 1.Cover the answers and try answer the question yourself o Look at the options and choose the one which most closely matches your answer 2.Try eliminating answers you know are definitely wrong

21 Short answer questions Keep your answers short –Usually a paragraph –Sometimes only 2 or 3 sentences (7 lines max) Answer the question given –Think of what points, key words, phrases and ideas the examiner will be looking for –Don’t fall into the trap of writing everything you know Be aware that short answer questions are sometimes allocated different marks –marks ranging from 2 to 6, for example

22 Short answer questions Sometimes can fit this pattern: –Statement:answer to the question/definition/ description –Support: evidence/explanation, the why, the because –Apply: provide examples or case studies Example: Name the three countries that are said to have ‘unwritten’ constitutions. The three countries that are said to have unwritten constitutions are ***. This is because… For example…..

23 Short answer questions Top three tips Leave 1 or 2 lines after each answer in case you remember something else important later on Stick to the time you have allocated Keep your answers short, sharp and to the point

24 Open book and seen exams For open book: check what information you can take in with you make sure you are familiar with the book and the material before the exam –you’ll need to be able to retrieve information quickly and efficiently. don’t just copy from the textbook For seen exams: don’t try to memorise entire essays practice writing a intro and conclusion, and leave the rest in plan form

25 As the exam proceeds… Check you are keeping to time If one question is taking too long – leave a gap and move on –You are likely to get more marks by starting another question than adding to one that you have already written some information on If time is very short – write an answer in brief notes.

26 Mini quiz What sort of question is it? How would you go about answering it?

27 You would not expect covered in an exam seminar how to: A)Answer essay questions B) Prepare for the exam C) Cook dinner D) Be strategic in your response to multiple choice questions

28 Define the terms exam and panic, explaining how they can be differentiated (5 marks). The term exam can be defined as a method for assessing the level of knowledge a student has about a paper or course. The term panic can be defined as feelings of extreme anxiety often eliciting a “fight or flight” response. Exam and panic can be differentiated in that while sometimes people experience them together, with careful preparation and good study habits, “panic” can be reduced to “productive stress”.

29 Why is calmness considered to be such a valuable commodity during an exam? Calmness is considered to be a valuable commodity during exams for four main reasons: it aids memory, helps with the writing process, being relatively calm helps get you through if you’ve got more than one exam, and it increases your overall enjoyment of life.

30 Good luck with your exams!


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