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Exam Technique Neil Robbie IFCELS/LTU nr2. Trouble shooting What are your main fears? Do task one on the handout. What ideas do you have to prepare for.

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Presentation on theme: "Exam Technique Neil Robbie IFCELS/LTU nr2. Trouble shooting What are your main fears? Do task one on the handout. What ideas do you have to prepare for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exam Technique Neil Robbie IFCELS/LTU nr2

2 Trouble shooting What are your main fears? Do task one on the handout. What ideas do you have to prepare for exams? Do task two on the handout. What are the differences between writing a timed essay and writing an essay for course work? Do task three on the handout.

3 Dos part one-before the exam Start your revision in time! Eg 4 weeks in advance at a minimum. Make sure you are able to cover enough topics to be able to answer (3?) questions. Prepare summaries of topics which you can adapt to a number of different questions. Use postcards. Review repeatedly e.g. on the bus. Practise timed writing from past papers. Use an egg-timer or stop watch to make sure you do not go over time. For humanities: memorise pithy quotes which you can use in many different situations (depending on your subject area). For social sciences: memorise useful statistical data. Consider using digital recorder or tape to help remember key facts. Write up a revision timetable (even if you dont keep it, at least it will make you aware of how much you still have to do!) Make sure you can spell the names of key thinkers correctly.

4 Dos-part two- before the exam Go to bed reasonably early Make sure you know where your exam is Arrive 10 minutes or so before exam Dont eat too much before exam Make sure your pen etc is working Bring a spare pen

5 Dos part three-in the exam Choose questions that you actuallv know something about. Analyse the question focusing on key words. Who are the key thinkers related to the question? Include them. Plan the content and organisation before starting to write. Refer to your plan to remind yourself of the staging of your answer. Decide on the examples/ evidence you plan to include. Mentally plan each paragraph before you write it. Have a clear introduction and conclusion. Have a clear thesis statement in the introduction. Know where your essay is going. Ensure that you are making logical connections between ideas. Be explicit about how things are related. Give clear definitions. Make your points relevant- say what you are going to say, say why you are saying it and then say it. Make sure that names and specific terms are correctly spelled.

6 Donts part one Leave your revision to too late in the day. Drink too much alcohol the night before. Stay up till 4.00 am revising the night before. Spend too much time on one question leaving not enough for the next two. Answer a question just because you like the look of it-you have to know something about it! Digress from the tasks/ arguments required by the question. Forget to write a conclusion.

7 Donts cont. Make unsupported assertions (eg: smoking kills). Instead provide some kind of backup to such assertions (eg: Smoking kills. A recent WHO study (2001) has shown that, on average, smokers are more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease than non-smokers.)

8 FAQs Should I reference? Yes where possible. Does it matter if I dont have a year for the reference? Not so much. Do I have to write a bibliography? No. Can I write numbers as numbers? Yes. Can the introduction be quite short? Yes. Does spelling matter? Yes (depending on the marker…)

9 Markers comments This gets pretty repetitive towards the end Manages to avoid contact with the question altogether. Wanders around -gets the point here and there but then veers off it. Not clear what the point is. The essay has no structure or organisation. No relevant literature is cited nor is the question addressed. Has very slight acquaintance with the subject, but completely fails to address the question or develop an argument. Too general. No readings are mentioned. Doesn't really examine the views of the different schools of thought on this, but has some ideas. Specific names should have been mentioned. Very simplistic Repetitive, fractured answer. -Largely missed the point. This makes some good points about [...] but really does not attempt to answer the question. Not being able to copy Verba's name correctly doesn't inspire confidence.

10 Mark scheme (may vary between departments) 70+ distinction-shows originality of argument and mastery of evidential support. May involve risk taking merit-strong well-supported argument pass-enough information to support an argument which however is lacking in coherence in places. 49 and below-fail-argument exists but lacking in coherence and evidence.

11 Exam questions Look at the exam questions which come up. What are the key words? What must you include in your answer? What are the possible angles to approach your answer from? Where is it possible to include counter arguments? Make a short plan for three questions.

12 Exam questions How do ethical and practical considerations influence both the quality of data gathered, and the design of poverty and alleviation projects?

13 Analytical Methods and Techniques in Development Undergrad. May/June 2004 What are the strengths and weaknesses of participatory techniques for generating accurate socio-economic profiles of grassroots communities in developing countries?

14 Critical theory and the study of religions Undergrad. May/June 2004 The fundamental discursive structuring of Western subjectivity operates on a paternal/patriarchal model that is incapable of representing the feminine as anything other than the negative counterpart of the masculine [OGrady]. Evaluate the alternative formulations of female subjectivity offered by at least TWO of the following theorists: Helen Cixous, Luce Irigeray, Julia Kristeva.

15 History BA May/June 2005 Undergrad. Why was British India partitioned in 1947? Was the CCP essentially a peasant party either before or after 1949? Africans and Asians increased their production for the market in order to improve their material circumstances. Discuss.

16 Theory and Method in the study of religions May/June 2003 Postgraduate Exams Discuss and assess the challenges of and new prospects posited by the postmodern condition to the Study of Religions.

17 Example question

18 Critically assess the contribution of the new institutional economics to the study of political economy.

19 Theory and Method in the study of religions. May/June2003 Postgrad. Assess Marsha A Hewitts statement within the framework of feminist studies of religion: A feminist critical theory of religion must seek ways of preserving the utopian hope of an absolute justice that is uncompromising in its sustained indictment of those forces that drive into further misery and oppression not only women but all humanity and nonhuman nature.

20 Making a plan-type A Introduction Counter argument Refutation Main argument Conclusion

21 Making a plan-type B Introduction Main argument Qualification Counter argument Refutation Conclusion

22 Making a plan-type C Introduction Counter argument-refutation-main argument Conclusion

23 Democracy in Ancient Greece was by and large an illusion. Discuss. It might be argued that the city state of Athens was the first to introduce democracy into the world. It is certainly true that there were representative elections. It is true that these elections were fairly administered. However, on closer analysis, if we compare the forms of democracy today and those in ancient Greece, we can see that the Athenian variety was premised on gross inequality. Women, slaves and metics were all disenfranchised. Of 250,000 inhabitants, only 30,000 were citizens. In other words the democracy was founded on the kind of inequalities that must make us question any idealisation of the Athenian polis.

24 Your voice What is your voice? Why is it necessary? How do you express it?

25 ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!! Go straight in. Dont spend too long on elaborate introductions. Your argument should run consistently through the whole essay.

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