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The Art Of Memory: Study Tips For Written Exams.

Date : 06/04/2021

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Uploaded by : Bethany
Uploaded on : 06/04/2021
Subject : Biology

We ve all been there you ve prepared for months to take the exam, only to feel like everything is forgotten when you enter the testing room. This moment of not being able to recall revision sets in panic, which risks knocking your performance. It`s possible to begin to worry and catastrophize, thinking how this will affect your overall grade and a self-fulfilling prophecy begins to set into motion. But one of the best ways to overcome this fear is to face it head-on read some tips to help get over exam nerves

1. You have time. Know how long your exam is and apportion the questions appropriately. Working yourself into a worry will only waste precious time, so if your mind goes blank, focus on questions you know you can address and think you have answers for. It helps to prioritise where your strengths are, maximising the likelihood of getting marks. If you neglect these areas whilst you re panicking, it can reduce your grade overall, so focus on what you remember, rather than worrying about what has been forgotten. Often, memories come back during the exam, so stay calm and concentrate on getting your other answers written down in the meantime.

2. Briefly write down the things you can remember which are relevant to the question. Obviously, don t take up precious writing space if this is limited on the exam paper, but it helps to note things down to jog your memory. For example, in a Biology exam, you may have many multiple choice/short-answer questions followed by one or two long essay questions to finish off. This can appear daunting at first, so it s best not to panic. A good technique is to glance at the essay questions when you first open the paper, jot down a couple of bullet points that you want to build upon, then continue with the shorter-mark questions to warm up your memory. That way, you re optimising your ability to score well on these earlier questions, and you can always add to the bullet points if other questions trigger your memory to form an essay structure.

3. Have a plan. Talking of essays, examiners are often looking for a good structure with key points backed up by evidence. We ve all been told of the basic essay structure of Introduction, Middle and End, but what do these really mean? The Introduction could establish the background of the topic you re discussing, and why you re talking about it. For example, you may write an essay about novel treatments for the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite. Why? Because malaria is a disease endemic in many regions, and the disease affects millions of people across the globe. The main body of the essay would discuss new treatments, giving you opportunity to develop your examples (Point, Evidence, Explain ) to show the examiner you ve really thought about and understood the topic. The End should summarise (but not repeat) the key areas of the main Middle sections. In an exam, following a good structure helps if you re struggling to remember certain aspects of your revision, as this can prompt factual recall.

4. Glance through the whole paper first. Don t take too long doing this but it s good to have an idea about the layout of an exam paper. There are horror stories of students who don t check the back page and miss out on vital marks because they assumed they had answered all of the questions only to panic when they realise their error, often too late. You want to be as comfortable and as confident as possible when you re sitting an exam, and to give yourself the best chance at scoring well. Try to minimise any opportunities for exam stress and briefly glance over the questions so you don t miss anything.

5. Practice makes prepared. We would all love to score perfectly on exams, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. No matter how prepared we are, nerves can get the better of us and may affect our performance. The best way to counteract this is to mimic the exam setting when preparing, and be strict with yourself. No mobile phones, no social media during a practice session. If you re running through an exam past paper, follow the timings exactly as the exam would be. Don t have distractions like the radio in the background make sure you are comfortable and fully able to focus. If you don t have the time to practice a full 2 hour exam, try setting yourself small questions with the allocated time. For example, if it takes an hour to sit a 60 mark exam, a 6 mark short answer question should take 10 minutes to practice. Preparing in short chunks of time can also really help you focus and test your factual recall, and help prepare for smaller questions which can build up to big marks.

6. Be objective. Following on from the last point, if practicing past papers or setting your own mock questions, be strict and firm if marking your own work. It`s best not to look at the mark scheme and think that s what I meant to say I ll give myself that mark because I knew what I was talking about - because Examiners have to strictly follow the marking scheme and won`t be able to make allowances. You need to view your answers objectively and always think how to improve.

7. Building study maps. At the start of a revision session, write down everything you know about the topic before looking at your notes/textbooks. This way, you can compare how much you ve learnt at the end of the session, and know what to look out for if you missed key points when you initially recalled them. Keep hold of the paper (it s a goo idea to write in a notepad to keep everything together), and in the next session, add more notes in a different colour pen. Over your revision sessions for one topic, you ll be able to see a colourful map of your memory recall, reinforcing how much you ve learnt and improved upon. This will help build your confidence for entering the exam room.

I hope this article has helped give you some hints and motivation for studying, and I wish you the best of luck in your exams, whatever your subject!

This resource was uploaded by: Bethany

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