Are You Prepared for Exams? Preparing for exams involves three components: mental preparation, physical preparation, and emotional preparation.* Mental preparation means that you know the material.* - Set up a study schedule at least three weeks before exams start. - Ensure that you are giving each course an equal amount of study time, with a little more time for courses you are having difficulty in. Physical preparation means that you are eating and sleeping properly.* - Keep caffeine and sugar intake at regular levels. - Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time each day. - Keep your life as balanced as possible, especially during exam time. Emotional preparation means that you have strategies to deal with anxiety.* - Often, exam anxiety is caused by lack of preparation. Have a plan in place to deal with problems encountered on the exam. - Use positive self-talk and focus on what you’ll do next on the exam. - Staying up all night to study can cause anxiety that can lead to poor exam performance. Exam Writing Tip 1: Read & Understand the Instructions ALWAYS read the instructions carefully. Many students do not take the time to do this and then discover that they did the exam incorrectly. Are you required to select a certain number of questions to answer or do you have to answer all of them? Is there a penalty for guessing (i.e., right minus wrong)? Ask for clarification if you are unsure. Exam Writing Tip 2: Preview the Exam & Budget Your Time Accordingly Note the number of questions and what they’re worth. Quickly reading over the questions will assist in activating your memory. Decide which questions will be easier to do and which ones will take more time, and budget your time. Allot time to review the exam and make corrections. If you think of something as you preview, write it down immediately. Exam Writing Tip 3: Attack Each Question Systematically Read each question carefully, underlining key words. Is it a one-part or two-part question? What are you being asked to do? Identify what you have and what you need. Decide how you plan to get to the answer and make a few notes on the steps you will take. This will provide you and the person marking the exam with an idea of how you attempted the question. This will also assist you with finding and correcting mistakes. Exam Writing Tip 4: Write Something Down for Every Question If all you can do is provide a definition, then do so. If you run out of time, answer in point form instead of complete sentences. Write down anything you know that is related to the question. Guess if there are no penalties for guessing. Exam Writing Tip 5: If You “Draw a Blank” First, don’t panic and allow anxiety to take control of how you are going to do on the exam. Ask yourself, “What do I need to know to answer this question?” and start writing down your thoughts. Avoid negative self-talk – focus on the task instead of yourself. Exam Writing Tip 6: Review & Make Corrections Take the time to go over the exam and check your answers. Do not change anything unless you are 100% sure it is wrong. Check mathematical answers by performing reverse calculations. Look at the processes you used. Make sure you’ve answered everything that was asked for. Exam Writing Tip 7: Stay Until the End Don’t leave until the exam proctors throw you out! Sometimes, it takes a little more time for information in your memory to “surface” so use all the time you are given.