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Tips for Oral Exams To Help You Survive At University!

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    Some Differences Between Written and Oral Exams:

    Written Exams

    • Information that will be tested on is decided in advance.*
    • Exams can range from 15 minutes (quiz) to a few hours.
    • Each question has a known correct answer.*
    • Feedback is received when the grade is provided and/or when the exam is returned to the student.
    Oral Exams

    • Usually, the scope of the exam is given in advance.* These can be in the form of questions, suggestions or topic areas.
    • Exams are usually 15 to 30 minutes in length.
    • Questions may be chosen dynamically, depending on how a student answers previous questions.*
    • Questions are often open-ended, asking for opinions or ideas.*
    • Questions may be designed to test the limits of a student’s knowledge. Often, the examiner will continue to ask questions in a particular area until the student no longer responds correctly.
    • Marks may be awarded for problem solving, analysis and method, as well as interpersonal communication and presentation.

    Oral Exam Tip 1: Know the Process, Your Professor & Your Ability to Speak
    Understand the rules for the exam* and sign up early for dates and times. Confirm these and the location prior to the exam.* Get to know your professor beforehand so that you are more comfortable speaking to him/her during the exam. If you have never done a presentation or engaged in a debate, it may be worth your time to take a workshop or course.
    Oral Exam Tip 2: Know What & How You Need to Study
    Make an outline of all the topic areas that you are required to know for the exam. Pay attention to terminology, theories and why they work/don’t work, relationships among information, comparison of approaches, and examples. Write out, on index cards, some questions that you think may be asked during the exam.

    Oral Exam Tip 3: Practice, Practice, Practice
    The most common error students make is not being prepared to talk about the topic. Students expect to go into the exam and be asked questions by the professor. Practice alone in front of a mirror and with a partner. Ask each other questions and analyze the responses. Get feedback about your tone of voice and volume.

    Oral Exam Tip 4: Start Off Right
    Look and act professional – turn off cell phones and pagers. Get there early to have time for relaxed focus. Smile! You are not there to be executed – introduce yourself and give your professor all of your attention. Keep good posture and maintain eye contact. Listen carefully to the questions and make sure you understand exactly what is being asked – paraphrase if you need to. Never interrupt.

    Oral Exam Tip 5: Organize Your Responses° & Have a “Pat Lead” Rehearsed
    Take a minute to compose your thoughts & organize your answers.° Answer general questions with a two-part “pat lead” answer – outline your answer and develop each element.ª A pat lead will help you frame your answers and give you focus if you are anxious.

    Oral Exam Tip 6: Answer the Question
    Be direct and to the point.n Use two or three key points or examples to demonstrate your knowledge. State what you know and stop. If the professor does not respond and time drags on, ask if there is any element you should elaborate on.

    Oral Exam Tip 7: Exit with Grace
    Rise and shake your professor’s hand. Say something pleasant and be sure to maintain good eye contact. Smile as you leave – the key is to exit on a positive note. Do NOT ask for an evaluation of your performance.

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