A USER'S GUIDE TO THE EXAM ROOM...
(From "STUDY SKILLS, A MULTISENSORY GUIDE")
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As the exam term progresses certain basics should be checked out:
If you are entitled to ‘extra time’ or ‘special provision’ check with the teacher or tutor in charge of Sp.L.D. students that this has been applied for from the examination board or university ‘registry’. You may also be entitled to use a word processor or have other help, check with your adviser as to what is available.
The exam. time tables and seating are posted early, check where and when the exams are, check that you are not timetabled for two exams at the same time and check that if you receive ‘extra time’ you are seated with the other Sp.L.D. students.
>Countdown to the Exam
In the last few days prior to an exam, the main part of the revision should be completed, and it is time to take things more easily. Eat, sleep and relax and do just enough ‘looking over’ to keep the key points fresh in the mind. Too much revision is as counter productive as too little.
Now is the time to learn the memory techniques prepared beforehand if you are using them.
Check that you have spare pens, batteries for calculators, boiled sweets, whatever helps in an exam, except a ‘crib sheet’!!!
Check if you need an identity card to enter the exam. room. Make an answering timetable, your tutor will know how many questions have to be answered in the given time. Allow time to think, to plan, to write and to check.
>In The Examination Room
Remember this is the moment when all that hard work comes to fruition, it is a scary experience but it can also be a very fulfilling one.
Please try and memorise the following procedure, automaticity cuts down on stress
1. As soon as allowable write down all mnemonics etc., and do not attempt to keep them in the short term memory. Once committed to paper the memory techniques can be forgotten so the working memory can be used for other things.
2. Read the complete paper, instructions and text.
3. Relax, take some deep breaths, even stretch.
4. Read the paper again, by this time your brain should be beginning to function, if not don’t panic, read until it makes sense, and there will be something that ‘rings a bell’.
5. Choose the questions to answer.
6. Make sure that you have understood the instructions and are answering the correct number of questions.
1. Read for meaning. It is so simple to misread a word, e.g.: developed countries, or developing countries, was a recent misreading in a geography exam.
2. Read for content.
3. Brainstorm all the information that comes to mind about the question into a plan. DO NOT attempt to answer the question, just ‘down load’ the facts.
4. Re-read the question, look at the plan, and cross out anything that does not answer the question. Then number the points in the order they are to be written and write the answer. The plan may be added to later as ideas are remembered and checked so that all the material is included, cross out as points are written.
5. Mind mapping: a diagrammatic form is easy to add to and can be seen at a glance.
6. All the plans can be made together or before answering each question.
7. Leave plenty of space between each answer, so that odd bits of information may be added to answers later if necessary.
8. Do not check answers until the end of the exam.
9. Proof read at the end of the exam. Starting with the first question answered not the last.
10. If there appears to be nothing on the exam paper you have ever seen before, you are either in the wrong exam, or more likely your stress level is very high. Somewhere in the paper there will be words that will trigger ideas, so don’t ever give up.
>Other Useful Tips
The adjudicators are probably the people who taught you, look at them, they will bring back memories.
If you revised on coloured paper think of the subject colour.
Do the same with the music you played, and think of the tune.
If you completely seize up write down anything, your mother’s name, your birthday, keep writing and you will thaw out
Use all of the time, as there will always be something else to write if you give yourself a chance.
Always answer the correct number of questions.
If the time is running out, answer the last question in note form, or use a mind map with arrows to show the flow of the argument.
>Proof Reading (checking)
Remember to leave plenty of space between each answer, so that odd bits of information may be added to answers later if necessary.
Proof read for obvious errors; don’t forget homophones.
Add missed capital letters.
Cross out errors, it is difficult to try and correct them at this late stage.
Check that the numbers of the questions answered are written on the front of the answer booklet, if this is required.
Sp.L.D. students are allowed extra time because they process information more slowly than other students, they make reading and spelling errors when under stress, and they may write more slowly.
>Use the extra time wisely.
>Allow a few minutes to overcome anxiety.
>Read the questions very carefully several times.
At the end of the exam, forget it, no post-mortems; it’s too late to worry.
May it go well for you!