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    Competence Approaches

    Study Guidelines

    Periodic Table
    Competence Based Approach

    1Method of teachingThis is less participatoryThis is active participatory
    2The role of a teacher/tutorHe/She becomes source of knowledgeHe/She becomes a facilitator/supervisor
    3Recognition of a learnerHe/She is seen as empty headed or tabula rasaHe/She is endowed with pre determined set of skills and knowledge
    4Teaching/learning facilitiesIt is applicable even with limited teaching and learning facilititesIt needs enough teaching and learning  resources such as books,library and teachers

    1Teaching and learning approachThis approach is teacher centeredThis approach is learner centered
    2Assessment and evaluation systemThis approach is based on recalling pre knowledge being acquiredThe focus is on application of skills and knowledge acquired in real life situation
    3TimeLess time is consumed in teaching and learningIt consumes alot of time as learners have to practice effectively to understand

    1Means of teachingThis approach has dictatorial kind of teachingThis approach has a democratic kind of teaching
    2Learning approachThis approach has a rote learning (memorization technique)This approach has a meaningful learning
    3Development of individual learningDevelopment learning process is dominantStimulates self/independent learning


    •  Demonstrate classroom practices that are informed by current trends, researches and system initiatives.
    • Develop, analyse and apply a repotoire of repair and inclusive assessment and reporting strategies that are sensitive and responsive to individual learning needs.
    •  Provide a range of planned and meaningful opportunities for students to demonstrate progress autonomous and consitent  achievement of outcomes using valid and reliable assessment methodology. 
    •  Negotiate explicitly criteria with students for assessment based on intended learning outcomes and provide formative information to enhance students' reflection.
    • Provide comprehensive information on timely and ongoing basis using formal and informal methods to report to parents, students and other stakeholders on students' achievement and progress in relation to outcomes.


    • Know how to assess students performance in a classroom.
    •  Collaborate with other teachers to provided a well moderated and balanced judgement on evidence collected over time and in a range of contexts.
    • Assess your students' learning in multiple ways.
    • Use wide range of approaches for evaluating students progress.
    • Be aware of a lot of different approaches of solving students learning problems.
    • Adapt different classroom management approaches to different learners.
    •  Know how to manage the class when you teach.

    Study Guidelines

    Sitting for exams without prior preparation is like a fighter who goes to a battle without sufficient fighting materials or proper fighting techniques. He will end up being defeated! Similarly, students fail exams not only because they did not prepare themselves well but also because they did not answer the exam questions correctly and as required by the examiner. It should be remembered that understanding a question before attempting to answer it is one thing and answering the question correctly is quite another thing. 

    The following are some but most important of the keywords often used by examiners and what they actually mean. Make sure you read and understand them well so that they can guide you in answering exam questions correctly:

    • Explain – to make clear or intelligible with detail.
    • Outline – to summarise or give a general plan. Detail is not expected.
    • Describe – to give a detailed account in words.
    • Summarise – to give the chief points. This is expected to be short and therefore quickly done
    • Contrast/Compare – to put two or more items side by side so as to point out their similarities and differences.
    • Give an account of – to write an explanatory statement.
    • Concise – be brief and comprehensive i.e. giving a lot in few words without elaboration.
    • Comment on – to make observations on or to write critical notes on.
    • Brief – to give a summary or to give a short concise statement.
    • Define – to give the precise meaning or significance.
    • State – to set down in detail the particulars of the item in question.
    • Discuss – to examine the topic by reason or argument i.e. to debate the issue.
    • Enumerate/List – to enter in a record which consists only of a series of names, points etc, without detailed description or explanation.
    • Write an essay on – write your own appreciation of the subject.
    • Give an illustrated account of – to make clear or understandable by giving examples and with suitable labelled diagrams.
    • Write notes on – give a short summary.
    • Indicate – to point out, to show or to make understand.
    • Point out – to direct one’s attention to. 

    • Elaborate – to add more detail to.
    • Criticise – to discuss the limitations and good points or contributions of the plan or work in question.

      • Interpret – to translate, exemplify, solve, or comment upon the subject and usually give your judgement or reaction to the problem.
      • Evaluate – to present a careful appraisal (assessment) of the problem stressing both advantages and limitations.
      • Justify – to prove or show grounds (reasons) for decisions. In such an answer, evidence should be presented in a convincing form.
      • Prove – to confirm or verify with logical reasons by evaluating and indicating experimental evidence (if/where possible).
      • Relate – to show the relationship with emphasis on connections and associations in a descriptive form.
      • Review – to give critical examination of a fact, problem, etc.
      • Trace – to give a description of progress, historical sequence, or development from the point of origin. Such narratives may need questioning or deduction.
      • Illustrate/Give an illustrated account of/With the help of a diagram……....-to explain or clarify the answer by presenting a figure, picture, diagram, or concrete example.

      For science subjects, try to avoid long paragraphs and essay-type answering. Give your information in short clearly-distinct points. Leave a gap of one line between points so that you can add in extra points in their correct position. For arts subjects, answer the questions as directed by the examiner.


      What is done is done. Discussing your answers with others leaves you depressed as you discover mistakes you were not aware of. Therefore, talk about anything else but not yours or any other person’s answers.

      Worrying about your exams is a waste of time and energy as it has no effect on your result. It only makes you and your friends less happy. Get on with enjoying life.

      Examination Techniques

      The following techniques use associations with letters, images, maps, etc. to help you remember. As you proceed through this list of techniques, try to think of strategies that would be useful to you! Some people use letters, some images, some songs, etc. Each depends on how comfortable you are with, or how useful they are to your way of thinking! There are several techniques but the following are the most popular and important techniques very often applied by pupils and students at all levels of study.

      There are several techniques but the following are the most popular and important techniques very often applied by pupils and students at all levels of study.

      1. Acronyms

      An acronym is an invented combination of letters. Each letter is a cue to, or suggests, an item you need to remember.

      BODMAS, a sequence in solving or evaluating maths equations. This acronym standing for:

      • Brackets (parts of a calculation inside brackets always come first).
      • Orders (i.e. powers and square roots, cube roots, etc).
      • Division.
      • Multiplication.
      • Addition.
      • Subtraction.

       Also PEMDAS, an acronym standing for:

      • Parenthesis (brackets).
      • Exponents (orders).
      • Multiplication.
      • Division.
      • Addition.
      • Subtraction.

       ROY G. BIV, the colours of a visible spectrum:

      Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

      IPMAT, stages of mitotic cell division:

      Interphase Prophase Metaphase Anaphase Telophase

      2. Rhyme keys: (for ordered or unordered keys)

      First, memorise keywords that can be associated with numbers.

      Example: bun=one; shoe=two; tree=three; door=four; hive=five; etc. Create an image you need to remember with key words.

      Four basic food groups – dairy product; meat, fish, and poultry; grains; and fruit and vegetables.

      Think of cheese on a bun (one), livestock with shoes on (two), a sack of grain suspended on a tree (three), and a door to a room stocked with fruits and vegetables (four).

      3. Chaining :( for ordered or unordered lists)

      Create a story where each word or idea you have to remember cues the next idea you need to recall. If you had to remember the words Napoleon, ear, door, and Germany, you could invent a story of Napoleon with his ear to a door listening to people speak in German.

      4. An acrostic

      An acrostic is an invented sentence or poem with a first letter cue. The first letter of each word is a cue to an idea you need to remember:

      • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS).

       Also we have:

      • Hamis Hemed Lile Beberu Bora Chinja Na Ondoa Figo Nene Nani Mgogo Aliyeiba Simba Pale Senrengeti Club Arudi Kwao Cairo

       This is an acrostic for remembering a sequence of the first twenty (20) elements in the periodic table. These are Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon, Sodium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Phosphorus, Sulphur, and Chlorine, Argon, Potassium and Calcium.

      Use Of Memory

      Here is a method of studying that gives you an accurate perception of how well you know the material, and forces you to think about it.

      1. Review your notes and readings frequently so that the material remains “fresh” in your mind. You must have noticed that the material you ‘store’ in your head gradually and slowly “drops” from your head bit by bit until it is almost “empty” of what you have learned. The only solution to this problem is to revise constantly. There is no any other miracle whatsoever!
      2. As you are reading your text or reviewing your notes, generate and write down questions about the material. Imagine you are teaching the topic, what questions would you ask on the exam
      3. Mark any terms you need to know. Put down the terms and try to memorise them at the end of study. If you can remember most of the terms, that is fine!
      4. If you think you know any answer but cannot put it into your own words, you probably do not know it well enough. Being able to explain the information is the only way to be sure that you know it. It is also the best way to prevent test or exam anxiety (sometimes referred to as “examination fever”); a state where a student cannot explain what he/she thinks he/she knows well during exam/test.
      5. Consider testing yourself some place where no body can see you (and think that you are crazy), and reciting (saying what you have learned from memory) the answers out aloud. That is the only way to be sure that you can explain them.
      6. Study with a friend or a colleague from your class. You can share ideas and help each other to uplift your knowledge. Likewise, you can ask questions each other to ensure you are explaining your answers perfectly.

      First: Read a section of your textbook chapter

      Read just enough to keep an understanding of the material. Do not take notes, but rather focus on understanding the material. It is tempting to take notes as you are reading the first time, but this is not an efficient technique. You are likely to take down too much information and simply copy without understanding.

      Second: Review the material

      • Locate the main ideas, as well as important sub-points (small ideas);
      • Set the book aside; and
      • Paraphrase this information. Putting the textbook information in your own words forces you to become actively involved with the material.

       Third: Write the paraphrased ideas as your own notes

      •  Do not copy information directly form the textbook;
      •  Add only enough detail to understand; and
      •  Finally, review and compare your notes with that in the textbook, and ask yourself if you really understand 

      Testing Your Understanding

      This excellent process can be applied to books, chapters in books, articles and all manner of reading. The first thing to note when reading a text is the title and the author of the same. Then find out what the title tells you about the essay and what you already know about the subject.

      • Suppose the title is about “Water treatment”. You could direct your descriptions towards how water is treated, pointing out the various methods employed in treating water. This is obviously, what any reader can think about the title even before going through the text.
      • Read the essay, marking the information that is crucial (important) to you. As you read, when you come across crucial information in the text, mark and note it. If the text is very difficult to read and understand, mark the difficult words so that you can later look them up in the dictionary. It is better to take sometime to read the essay rather than jumping to the questions at the end (if any) before grasping the points in the essay.
      • For the toughest essays, read one paragraph after the other, and make sure you understand the first paragraph properly before moving on to the next. Soon, you will become acquainted with the whole essay and be able to answer questions on it effectively and correctly. However, in exams try also to consider time as an important factor. Do not take too long time to answer just one question. You may run shot of time and fail to tackle other questions correctly. 

      How to Read An Essay

      To perform better on tests or exams, you must first read and understand the material, and then review it before the test. The following techniques will help you a great deal:


      • Take good notes in your class and from textbooks.
      • Review your notes soon after class.
      • Review the notes briefly before the next class/lesson.
      • Schedule some time at the end of the week for a longer review.


      • Take good notes so that it may be easy and convenient for you to review.
      • Organize your notes and assignments according to what will be on the test.
      • Estimate the hours you will need to review materials.
      • Draw up a schedule that divides units of time and material.
      • Test yourself on the material.
      • Finish your studying the day before the exam. Do not study till the last hour before the exam to let your brain relax.

      Begin reviewing early.

      This will give your brain ample time to get comfortable with the information.

      • Conduct short daily review sessions.

      You can undertake a more intense review session prior to major exams.

      • Read text assignments before classes. This will help you identify concepts that the teacher considers important and that are already somewhat familiar.
      • Review notes immediately after classes. This will help you identify information that you do not understand while the material is still fresh in your memory. When you review immediately, you will have time to clarify information with other students.
      • Review with a group (group discussion). This will enable you to cover important material that you may overlook on your own.
      • Conduct major review early enough. This will enable you consult your subject teacher during his/her office hours if necessary.
      • Break up the study tasks into manageable chunks (pieces) especially during major review prior to exams. Studying three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening will be more effective than studying at a six-hour stretch.
      • Study the most difficult material when you are alert (as it has already been described in the previous sections).
      • Cramming is useful in emergencies; it is not good for long-term leaning. Strategies for cramming include the following:

      -preview the material to be covered;

      -be active: skim chapters for main points;

      -concentrate on reviewing and learning main points; and

      -do not read more information/details.

      Test Preparations

      Read the directions carefully. This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors. If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Note the key terms and jot down brief notes.

      Answer questions in a strategic order

      1. First, answer easy questions to build confidence, score points, and orient yourself mentally to vocabulary concepts, and your studies (which may help you make associations with more difficult questions).
      2. Second, answer difficult questions or those with the most point value/marks. With objective tests, first eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong. Likewise, eliminate those answers or options which do not seem to fit, and where two points are so similar as to be both incorrect. With essay or subjective questions, broadly outline your answer and sequence the order of your points.


      1. Do not leave the examination room as soon as you have completed all the items. Review your work to make sure that you have answered all questions, not mismarked the answer sheet, or made some other simple mistakes. Proofread your answers for spelling, grammar, punctuation, decimal points, etc.
      2. Change answers to questions if you originally misread them or if you have encountered information elsewhere in the test which indicates that your first choice is incorrect
      3. Decide on and adopt study strategies that worked best for you. Identify those that did not work well and replace them.


      When you take a test, you are demonstrating your ability to understand course material or perform certain tasks. For successful test taking, always avoid carelessness.

      • Examples of objective tests are true-false, multiple choice, or fill-in-the blank tests.
      • Examples of subjective tests are short-answer or essay tests.

      The following suggestions may help you avoid careless errors:

      1. Analyse your past test results
        Each test can further prepare you for the next test. Use your tests to review when studying for final exams.
      2. Arrive early for exams
        Bring all the materials you need such as pencils and pens, a calculator, an eraser, a watch, ruler, a string (for measuring distances on the map), a divider, etc. This helps you focus on the task at hand.
      3. Be comfortable but alert
        Choose a good place to sit and make sure you have enough room to work, move and maintain comfortable posture.
      4. Stay relaxed and confident
        Remind yourself that you are well prepared and are going to do well. If you find yourself anxious, take several slow, deep breaths to relax.

      Test/Exam Taking


      • If any one part of the sentence is false, the whole sentence is false despite many other true statements. 
      • Pay close attention to negatives, qualifiers, absolutes, and long strings of statements.
      • Negatives can be confusing. If the question contains negatives such as” no, not, cannot” etc, drop the negative and read what remains. Decide whether that sentence is true or false. If it is true, then its opposite or negative is usually false.
      • Qualifiers are words that restrict or open up general statements. Words like “sometimes, often, frequently, ordinarily, generally”, open up the possibilities of making accurate statements. They make claims that are more acceptable, are more likely to reflect reality, and usually indicate “true” answers.
      • Absolute words restrict possibilities. Words like “no, never, none, always, every, entirely, only” imply the statement must be true 100% and usually indicate “false” answers.
      • Long sentences often include groups of words set off by punctuation. Pay attention to the “truth” of each of these phrases. If one is false, it usually indicates a “false” answer.


      Multiple-choice questions usually include a phrase or a stem followed by three to five options:

      Test strategies

      Read the directions carefully: Note if each question has one or more correct options. Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy).

      Preview the test: Read through the test quickly and answer the easiest questions first. Read through the test the second time and answer questions that are more difficult. You may get some clues for the answers from the first reading. If time allows, review both questions and answers. It is possible you misread some the first time.

      • Improve your odds, think critically: Select the option that most closely matched your answer.

      Strategies to answer difficult questions

      Eliminate options you know to be incorrect. Mark words or alternatives in questions that eliminate the option. These include options that:

      • Grammatically do not fit with the stem;
      • are totally unfamiliar to you; or
      • contain negative or absolute words.

      Example: Study the following question carefully:

      Q. How many stars are there in the sky?

      A. as many as particles of sand in the sea

      B. as many as birds in air

      C. thousands of stars

      D.hundreds of stars

      Options C and D are totally incorrect because, though the exact number of stars is unknown, its range cannot fall within thousands or hundreds.  The number is greater than that! Options A and B are both logical but B cannot be the correct choice since birds of air can be counted easily, contrary to stars which cannot. Therefore, it is obvious that A is the correct option. It is more logical to compare the number of stars in the sky with the number of particles of sand in the sea for they are both uncountable in the sense that no one can count all of them. You cannot count all the stars as you cannot also count all particles of sand in the sea.

      Therefore, this is how the most incorrect options are eliminated until you eventually remain with the options from which you can choose the most correct answer.

      • “All of the above”. If you find out that three of four options seem correct, then ‘all the above’ is a strong possibility.
      • For options that “look alike”, probably one is correct, so choose the best(as for options A and B in the example above) but eliminate those that basically mean the same thing (like C and D above), and thus cancel each other out.     
      • If two options are opposite each other, chances are that one of them is correct.
      • If two alternatives seem correct, compare them for differences, and then refer to the stem to find your best answer. Always guess when you cannot find the correct answer rather than leaving some questions unanswered but do not always rely on guessing!

       Change your first answers when you are sure of corrections as you go through your exam.

      Before writing out the exam….

      • Set up a time schedule to answer each question and review all questions. 
      • If six questions are to be answered in sixty minutes, allocate ten minutes for each question.-If questions are “weighted”, prioritize that into your time allocation for each question. Weighted questions are those for which marks carried by each of them are indicated on the question paper. Needless to say, those questions that carry more marks are allocated much time. However, you may find yourself in a position of answering several questions with low marks rather than concentrating on a single question that carries more marks but which you cannot answer correctly. So, think before you decide which strategy suits you most. If you find the reverse to be true, try it! Manage your time accordingly.
      • Read the question once and note if you have any choice in answering questions.-Pay attention to how the question is phrased, or to the “directives”, or words such as compare, contrast, criticize, etc.-Answers will come to mind immediately for some questions. Write down the answers in summary somewhere, as they are fresh in mind. Otherwise, you may have forgotten the ideas when the time comes to write them down later. This will help reduce panic or anxiety which disrupts thoughts.
      • Before attempting to answer a question, put it in your own words. Now compare your version with the original.
      • Think before you write: Make a brief outline for each question. Number the items in the order you will discuss them.

      Get right to the point: State your main points in the first sentence/paragraph. Use the first paragraph to provide an overview of your essay. Use the rest of the essay to discuss these points in more detail. Support your points with specific information, examples, or quotations from your readings and notes. Examiners are influenced by firmness, completeness and clarity of an organised answer. Writing in the hope that the right answer will somehow turn up is time consuming and usually futile (useless). To know a little and to present that little well is superior to knowing much and presenting it poorly.

       Writing and answering

      • Begin with a strong first sentence that states the main idea of your essay. Continue this first paragraph by presenting key points.
      • Develop your argument. Begin each paragraph with a key from the introduction.
      • Develop each point in a complete paragraph. This means that each point should carry its own paragraph 
      • Use transitions to connect your points. That is, there must be a clear flow of ideas from one point to another and between points.
      • Hold to your time allocation and organization, i.e., answer your questions according to the time allocated for each question (if any).
      • Avoid very definite statements when possible; a qualified statement indicates a philosophic attitude, the mark of an educated person.  
      • Qualify answers in doubt: It is better to say “toward the end of the 19th century” than to say “in 1894” when you cannot exactly remember whether it is 1884 or 1894. In many cases, the approximate time is all that is wanted; unfortunately, 1894, though approximate, may be incorrect, and that statement will be marked wrong.
      • Summarize in your last paragraph. Restate your central idea and indicate why it is important.
      • Complete questions left incomplete, but allow time to review all questions.
      • Review, edit, and correct misspellings, incomplete words and sentences, miswritten dates and numbers, etc. 

      Note: If you do not have enough time, outline your answers to those questions that you did not have enough time to answer fully rather than leaving blank spaces. This often happens at the end of exam when you find yourself running out of time. In this way, you can at least earn some marks to uplift your grade. Remember that it is always better to write something rather than nothing at all!

      Test/Exam Questions Approach