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:
Criticise – to discuss the limitations and good points or contributions of the plan or work in question.
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.
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.
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:
Also PEMDAS, an acronym standing for:
ROY G. BIV, the colours of a visible spectrum:
Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet
IPMAT, stages of
mitotic cell division:
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
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
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:
Also we have:
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.
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.
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.
Third: Write the paraphrased ideas as your own notes
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.
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:
Begin reviewing early.
This will give your brain ample time to get comfortable with the information.
You can undertake a more intense review session prior to major exams.
-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.
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.
questions in a strategic order
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.
The following suggestions may help you avoid careless errors:
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
questions usually include a phrase or a stem followed by three to five options:
Read the directions carefully: Note if each question has one or more correct options. Know how much time is allowed (this governs your strategy).
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:
Example: Study the
following question carefully:
Q. How many stars are there in
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.
Before writing out the exam….
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
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!