Preparation for the Exams
Article by Joyce Sim (26 March 2008)
Making adequate preparation for your examinations can help you feel confident and positive, thus leading to higher success.
Below are some study hints, tips and techniques to help you get prepared:
- Adjust your mind to the learning mode. Accept that examinations are part and parcel of school life, so stop complaining and stop escaping from study.
- Do not procrastinate. Create a revision timetable approximately two months before your exams.
- Have all your learning materials in one place to save you the time and frustrations of having to look around for them.
- Reread your notes, completed works and textbooks. If you can’t understand something, make a note of it and ask your teacher the next day.
- Concentrate when studying. Let your thoughts connect with what you are doing and you will soon be concentrating. (Note: If there is something bothering you, settle it before you study. Stay away from TV shows, phones, toys, games and all such distractions. Also, notify family members and friends of your study time to avoid interruptions.)
- Learn from past mistakes. Pay attention to your teachers’ comments on poor / wrong answers and improve on them.
- List and write in point form the important learning areas. Read the key points aloud. Make sure you understand your work before having to memorize it.
- Develop memory techniques that work for you e.g. teaching others, applying what you’ve learnt constantly, etc. (For more learning techniques, visit Steps2Learning page)
- Test yourself. Cover your notes or book, say or write out the answers, then look back at the notes to check how well you have done.
- Everyone has a limited concentration span. Take short breaks every hour or so. Start studying again when refreshed.
- Towards end of revision, give yourself mock tests in the same format and procedure as your school’s to familiarise yourself with the aspects of the examinations and to develop timing techniques.
- Skim through your notes just before you go to bed on the night before your exams. This allows information to ‘settle on’ your sub-conscious mind while you sleep. However, do not attempt to learn anything you don’t understand or study intensely at this late stage.
Ways to Overcome Exam Anxiety
- Set realistic and achievable goals, and work at them. It helps you feel prepared and confident.
- Don't panic or blame yourself if you do not know something you have learnt before. Just learn it again.
- Believe in your ability and build up positive thoughts. Visualise yourself doing well in the exams. When you believe you can, YOU CAN.
- Understand that stress can be worked up deliberately and can be ‘contagious’. Do not moan constantly how much you have not learnt and do not listen to friends who complain that they are sick with worry about the exams. Instead, encourage one another.
- Take a couple of long, deep breadths whenever you feel anxious or stressful. This technique helps you feel calm and relaxed and ready for challenges.
- Sleep well every night. Unwind before going to bed by listening to some soothing music, practising simple yoga techniques, or by visualising yourself in a peaceful, natural surrounding.
- Reward yourself with leisure activities after your study sessions.
- Be confident that whatever you have learnt is in your mind, just like files that are saved in the computer. Don’t worry that you won’t recall the information in the examinations. YOU WILL. (Remember, just stay calm during your exams, click on and open the file. All the information will come to you.)
“A great fear of examinations seems to be built into us from an early age. You have to bear in mind that there is nothing you cannot achieve, that you need only ordinary intelligence levels to pass most exams, and that if you build up confidence through adequate preparation, there is simply nothing to fear.”
- - Dr David Lewis, a clinical psychologist.
Guide for parents to provide support for their children during the examination period:Physical Support
Provide a conducive learning environment, adequate learning tools and good, healthy meals for your children.
Offer advice, feedback and problem analysis when and where necessary.
Acknowledge, encourage and reward efforts and tries by your children in improving themselves, even if the improvement is insignificant. Empower them to make decisions on their learning schedules to help them build confidence and self-esteem.
Listen to, understand, communicate and empathise with your children when they feel troubled and stressful. Assure them you are always there to help and support them.
The Pyramid of Parents’ Support shown below classify the four types of parents’ support in terms of the degree of importance to children, with the most important aspect at the base of the pyramid.