|Examination Techniques – Update as on 30-05-2013
Presentation on Examination Techniques
HOW TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS IN EXAMINATIONS 1. Planning Course Material
- Select the book which adequately covers the topic you are studying. You may also select different books for different topics
- The key to selecting the right text book is consulting your teachers / senior students. You may also refer the list of recommended reading available on the website
The All Essential Plan
- Panic makes you think less clearly, so avoid it by starting work early.
- Lecturers/tutors assume that you will decide for yourself what and when to revise and may give little direction.
A Good Plan Helps You:
- Identify if you are spending too much time on a topic
- Know what you have already done.
- Know what still needs to be done
- Prioritize things for effective studying.
Factors be Considered When Planning
- Study Sessions should be from one to three hours
- Have a definite break every hour
- Avoid late hours
- Revision for other papers at the same time
- Family commitments, relationships, friendships
- Contingencies such as illness
- How much sleep you need
- Plan recreation and relaxation into your time table
Monitoring Your Plan Check your plan regularly to see how well you are doing. You may need to amend your plan, e.g. if something unexpected happens or if some revision takes longer than expected. Sample Plan The Sample Plan should contain the following columns:
- Name of Topic
- Source of coverage
- Time required
- Completion status
- Revision 1
- Revision 2
2. Preparation Where to Study
- Always in the same place
- Choose a warm, light, well ventilated room
- Away from other distractions
- Properly furnished
Summarising Key Points
- Don’t make long notes in the form of paragraphs, which you may find difficult to learn and retain
- Your notes should ideally be in the form of pointers which are easier to remember and quicker to revise
- Underline important points
- Even if a paper involves mathematical calculation it is still very important that you study the theory also to learn the concepts and logic behind the mathematical workings and formulae.
Principles of Understanding
- Always aim for understanding
- Look for examples to illustrate the topic
- Promote understanding by rearranging material, questioning the ideas and looking for links with old ideas
- Consider your topic from all possible angles
Principles of Memorizing
- Never memorize something that you don’t understand
- Always try to link new material with what you have previously learnt
- Select the important items to remember
- Organize the material into a meaningful system
- The sequence of memorizing should be the same as the logical sequence of the material
- Long pieces should be memorized in shorter chunks
- Go over notes, reading etc. within 12 hours of writing, reading etc.
- Try to master each topic before leaving it but do not spend so much time that other areas or subjects are ignored
- Over learn. Don’t stop when you have only just learnt something
- Start each session with a review of the previous session
- Atleast 10-15 days before the end of the leave conduct real time mock examinations
- Self assessment
Make an assessment of your answers by responding to the following questions related to the marks gained: – What were your total marks? – How many marks were lost because you did not understand the theory? – How many marks did you lose as a result of simple errors in your responses? – How many marks were lost because you could not interpret a question or you answered a different question from the one you were asked? – How many marks were lost because you ran out of time?
- Identify weak areas
- Work on weak areas
- Go through the examiner comments
- Actually attempt the questions and do not just go through the solutions
3. Attempting the Paper Examination Techniques
- Controlling the anxiety is the key
- Arrive early at the exam to avoid panic. Be on your seat atleast 10 minutes before the examinations. This will reduce your anxiety and allow you to sort out issues which may consume your time during the examinations.
- In the exam, spend the first 5 minutes glancing through the paper to make sure you understand the instructions and to decide which questions to answer first.
- Read the question very carefully until you know exactly what is required
- Note any special requirements e.g. list, detail, advise, explain, report etc.
- Budget your time for each question in proportion to the marks given. Stop working on it when that time is up, return to it if you have time to spare.
- Spending too much time on favorite topic at the expense of others may cost you the exam
- Repetition of the same point using different descriptions does not fool the examiner & only wastes time
- The first 50% of the marks of a particular question are the easiest to get; the next 25% are harder; the last 25% are the hardest. If you run out of time: two half answers may get more marks than one full one; jot down the main points to include while they are in your mind and return later.
- Write clearly so the examiner can read your work. Number answers correctly.
Questions…How to Answer Them Possibilities for organizing your information in an exam include:
- First plan your answer as to how you want to go ahead with your answer
- Give a clear opening paragraph, present information in a clear order, a final paragraph drawing conclusions/summarizing. The opening paragraph should be linked with final conclusions through one of the following ways:
– step by step points where there is a sequence or stage – a main initial point to make an impact which you then develop – Putting different sides of an argument – Grouping theories/concepts through a theme
- Present your work well. Headings and a good layout make your work easier to read
- Tables and graphs need to be clear with correct labeling
- Use practical examples to illustrate the points made subject to the availability of time and requirements of the question. It may not be practical to give examples where only brief answers are required
- As far as possible give answers in pointers showing the main heading and then describing it in appropriate details as per the requirements of the question. Just by giving pointers you can atleast secure some marks and convey your knowledge to the examiner.
Scenario Type Questions … How to Answer Them
- It has been noted that most students only give the conclusions in such type of questions
- The most important aspect of giving such questions is to test if you have understood the concepts
- Therefore the key to such questions is the reasoning and not the conclusion
- The examiner is interested in the thought process that went into the conclusion.
- You can conclude correctly without any reasoning, by sheer guessing you have a fifty percent chance of getting it right. The examiner knows this and therefore no marks are allowed for guessing the conclusion – you must support it.
- If you have proper reasoning that forms the basis for your conclusions you can atleast get pass marks even if your conclusion does not match with that of the examiner.
How to Improve the Presentation of Your Scripts
- Marks that you will obtain for your answers depends on two factors:
– what you answered – how you answered
- Start each new answer on a new page
- The arrangement should be pleasing to the eyes
- Write a fairly large and legible handwriting. But you should not try to change your style just for the examinations. You will have to practice it before the examinations
- Write your headings boldly
- Use a dark ink and medium pointed nib
- Leave space between subsections of answers
- The subject matter should be broken up into small paragraphs
- Use Apt sub-headings as it attracts the attention to the main divisions of the chapter
- The sentences should be short and crisp
- Make cancellations and corrections neatly
- Insert new words or sentences legibly and in an orderly way
- Watch your spelling and punctuation as it helps quick reading & prevent misunderstanding
Most Commonly Made Mistakes
- Not resting adequately before the paper
- General instructions given on the answer scripts and sent with the admit card are often ignored
- Questions are not read carefully
- Not planning before attempting the question
- Getting stuck over a single question
- Not clearly stating the assumptions used
- Not being quick enough
- Presentation and workings not clearly shown
- Students do not complete the paper more due to selective studies and not because of the length of the paper
- Students tend to repeat points
- Irrelevant points are given
Coping with Nerves
- Stress can be good – it can make you mentally alert. You will do better if you see stress as positive, and exams as a chance to show what you can do, not as a way of tripping you up.
- Work out what to do if you panic…. Take deep breaths
- Do good revision/preparation.
- Find out in advance as much as possible about the examination centre or the exam room.
- Identify what to do in the first 5 minutes of the exam in what order and stick to it.
- Make yourself comfortable for the exam (eg warm/cool clothes, handkerchiefs etc)
- Calm yourself beforehand (e.g. visualize a pleasant scene, distract yourself)
- Avoid being overtired (is it worth staying up late to cram in extras?).
- Avoid last minute revision. Trying to remember facts then may block out ‘deep learning’ (i.e. of concepts and principles).