Exam Preparation: The JLC Guide to Revision Planning:
Here are our 5 tips from our tutor Debbie Davies, to help you achieve success in your exams
- Be prepared– sounds obvious we know but it is the required level of preparation that needs to be pointed out. Preparation takes ages and can feel like a bit of a chore but good preparation is an absolute must.
- Know what the exam is testing – of course this includes knowledge of the topic being examined but the examiner is testing other skills as well:
i. Your writing skills – written communication skills will be important throughout your life. It is important to develop a concise writing style
ii. Your cognitive skills – exams are more than just a memory game. Examiners are checking your ability to use your knowledge within given situations
iii. Your time management skills – examiners set time limits for a reason. How well can you perform under time pressure? Will you remain focused and specific to the task in hand?
- Revision strategy – you only want to sit that exam once don’t you? To make sure of that you need to complete effective revision. Schedule your study periods. Take time to plan what you intend to study in these periods. Make sure you include activities which will check your progress – there is no point spending hours revising if you cannot use your knowledge as required in the actual exam. Find past exam papers and use them as practice.
- Exam practice – and this is where all your hard work will be put to the test. For some, exams can produce anxiety. It’s all that uncertainty isn’t it? What questions will the examiner ask, will I remember anything? Will I pass? Wouldn’t it be great if you could answer at least some of those questions in advance of the exam…it would reduce that anxiety for a start.The key is to prepare and practice for your exams. There are 3 stages to an exam answer – practice each one:
i. Close reading at speed – you will always be nervous at the start of your exam yet this when you need to work out what the questions are asking of you. Nerves can lead to mistakes. Reduce that risk by making sure you can accurately read at speed
ii. Planning your answer – knowing that you have an answer will certainly help quell your nerves but for some types of written answers you need to learn to complete a short plan and quickly.
iii. Writing up your answer – this is often thought to be the most neglected part of exam preparation which is a shame after all that time spent revising. You need to make sure you can perform on the day – practice writing up your answers to past exam questions, in timed conditions.
- Be prepared and find the fun in revision – so we have gone full circle. It is all in the preparation. Now think how much easier revision would be if you were having fun with it. Find out when/how you like to study and tailor your revision to suit. Do not worry if it is different to others – all that matters is that your revision is effective!Take charge of your revision period and work for the prize of exam success