FINAL EXAM PREPARATION When you are at the stage of preparing for the exam paper itself, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure you’re ready. These include checking in detail the exam paper and marking schemes, managing your time during the exam and practicing.
RECAP ON PREVIOUS TOPICS - EXAM PAPERS & MARKING SCHEMES In previous sessions we covered the importance of knowing what’s on the exam papers. This helps you prioritise what to study and keep a focus at all times on the end exam. We also spoke about the exam marking schemes, and how these can provide you with an insight into what the examiners and looking for in your answers. It is important however not just to use the exam papers and marking schemes for knowing what to study initially, but also to test yourself on the material before the exam. Knowing the exam layout by heart will also help in your time management during the exam.
FINAL EXAM PREPARATION - TIME MANAGEMENT During the exam itself it is vital to know exactly how long to spend on each question. You should spend no longer than this amount of time writing your answer. When your allocated time for the question is up you have to move on to the next question even if you’re not finished – you will still be marked for everything that you did complete up to that point. So, for example, take leaving cert honours level English, paper 2. For this exam you have 200 minutes and its worth 200 marks. So that means you have exactly one minute per mark. Section 1, The Single Text, is worth 60 marks – so you spend 60 minutes on it. If you’re not finished after 60 minutes you just move on to the next question.
FINAL EXAM PREPARATION- PRACTICE So, in completing your final preparations for the exam you’ve gone through the past papers for the exam structure and you’ve allocated the time per question. You’ve read the marking scheme so you know what the examiner is looking for in your answer. The final piece of the puzzle is to practice the exam!
FINAL EXAM PREPARATION- PRACTICE For a moment, think about someone who is taking their driving test. Before taking the test most people will spend weeks driving around practicing. A lot of people even try to drive the exact test route before the test. This means that on the actual test day itself they will be familiar with the route and be able to perform to the best of their ability despite the increased pressure.
FINAL EXAM PREPARATION - PRACTICE As a student taking a leaving cert exam, you should prepare in the same way – you must practice the exam several times before completing it. Your mocks are a great way to get you used to the exam situation. But likewise, you can give yourself a mock exam in any subject at any time. So you should do this! Try to recreate what the real exam environment will be like – give yourself the exact time for the exam. Use just the pens and paper you’ll have during the exam. Do it at a small desk, maybe in a quiet location such as the library. The general rule of thumb is simple – practice makes perfect!