Presentation on theme: "How to Pass Exams Dr Andy Wilson UK Staff Development Advisor to the BUE & Director of Capability Enhancement, Loughborough University, UK."— Presentation transcript:
How to Pass Exams Dr Andy Wilson UK Staff Development Advisor to the BUE & Director of Capability Enhancement, Loughborough University, UK
Purposes To explain what examiners are looking for To share advice on exam technique To help you to plan for your exams.
Mental Agility Test You will have three minutes to complete the following test Do not start until you are asked to do so.
Mental Agility Test 2 Read all the instructions before doing anything else. 1.Write your initials in the top right hand corner of this sheet. 2.Write the total of 3 + 12 + 15 + 30 here ______. 3.Underline instruction 1 above.
Mental Agility Test 3 18.Draw triangles around the holes you have punched in item 15. 19.Draw a circle around the number 10 where ever it appears. 20.Now that you have finished reading all the instructions, do only 1.
The Problem with Exams Lots of students disadvantage themselves with poor exam technique For example...
Examples They don’t follow the instructions They manage their time very badly They don’t write enough They don’t answer the question.
...don’t follow the instructions Exam papers have “rubrics” at the top –Answer four questions –Answer two from Section A and two from Section B If you are supposed to answer four questions and you answer three...
3 out of 4 Likely mark if you answer four questions, say... 60% Equivalent mark if you answer three questions... 45% 60% from three needs the equivalent of... 80%
...manage their time very badly Easy to get the first few marks Harder to get the next, and so on... Extremely hard to get the last few Don’t think that good answers on three questions will make up for not answering all four Allocate your time pretty evenly.
...don’t write enough Examiners can’t mark what isn’t there You’re probably not used to writing for several hours Practise!
What examiners want They want you to answer the question they asked! 13
Not... What do you know that might possibly have something remotely to do with the topic? Write everything you know or can make up about the topic. But... Show that you have knowledge and that you can bring it to bear on the question that was asked. What is the question asking for? 14
Our Question Compare and contrast the consequences of blindness and deafness for language development. (Thanks to Trevor Habeshaw.) 15
First Class Answers Identify the consequences of blindness and deafness for language development. Compare and contrast these consequences, drawing conclusions about the nature of language development. Comment on the adequacy of theories of language development in the light of your conclusions.
Upper Identify the consequences of blindness and deafness for language development. Compare and contrast these consequences. Lower List some of the features of blindness and deafness. List some consequences for development including a few for language development. Second Class Answers
Third Class Write down almost anything you can think of about blindness, deafness, child development and language develop- ment. Do not draw any justified conclusions. Fail Less than third class. Random thoughts and not many of those. Third Class or Fail Answers
Great Expectations With all that in mind please think about an essay whose title is… “Assess the Economic and Social Impact of the Railways on Victorian Britain.” What would you expect a good answer to provide? 19
Critical Stages 1.Read the question and don’t start writing! 2.Work out what the question is asking for 3.Jot down some ideas about this 4.Work out a structure; compare and contrast is quite complex 5.Use facts to support arguments 6.Keep 2 and 3 in mind. 21
Preparation for Exams Revision planning Past papers Question spotting Practising questions Practising writing.
Revision Planning Pace yourself Plan according to your exam timetable Little and often is best Build in rewards Build in contingency time Work in the way that is best for you.
Past Papers Get past papers or sample exam questions Familiarise yourself with the instructions, eg Answer four questions Work out what the questions want Imagine some other questions along the same lines.
Question Spotting Depending on the instructions... ...you may not need to revise the entire syllabus Some topics are almost certain to come up The danger is that you answer the question that you wanted and not the question that the examiner asked!
Practising Questions Using the past or sample exam papers... Quantitative questions –Work out the approach required Qualitative questions –Spend just a few minutes jotting down the structure of your answer –What key points will you want to make?