Preparing for exams and end-of-unit-assessments
To prepare well for exams or end-of-unit assessments , you’ll need to organise your time and develop clear study goals. We hope the following strategies and tips can help you better prepare for your assessments and reduce stress!
Try and keep up with weekly content throughout the trimester because when you get to exam revision you should be truly revising, not trying to catch up on content that you didn’t do during the trimester.
Gypsy O'Dea, Maths Mentor
|First few weeks of trimester|
Revision is a learning strategy where you review materials that you are already familiar with and understand to some degree. Therefore, revision is part of process that needs to begin from Week 1.
I do a lot of practice exams, just because the more questions you expose yourself to, the less likely you will get caught by surprise when you get into the actual exam.
Storm Logan, Maths Mentor
Tips to revise effectively:
- Maintain a regular revision schedule throughout the trimester, e.g. after each class / seminar.
- Take class notes and create your own summaries to help you revise later on.
- Study more challenging content at a time of day when you are more alert.
- Set up a study group and revise with classmates. Online students can meet via Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
- Use mind maps to explore processes and connections between key concepts.
- Use flip-cards to test yourself or others.
- Revise unit content, unit learning outcomes and marking rubrics, and past exam papers, if available.
- Talk to friends and family about what you’re learning.
- Eat a healthy well-balanced diet and exercise regularly to fuel your brain and body. Do this throughout the trimester, but especially during assessments.
- Reward yourself when you have achieved a small goal, e.g. studied for an hour with a friend or completed a practice exam.
I like to review some of my notes just prior to an exam, but I don’t try and cram a lot of extra stuff into that day.
Gypsy O’Dea, Writing Mentor
On the day of the assessment
- Eat breakfast to keep yourself energised and alert throughout the exam.
- Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine. Too much coffee (or energy drink) can interrupt your focus and increase anxiety.
- Drink plenty of water. Your brain performs better when it's well hydrated.
- If you're feeling nervous, try to relax yourself by taking some deep breaths or go for a walk.
During the assessment
- Use your assessment reading and/or tech time well to make sure you are well prepared to begin.
- Get IT support during an end-of-year assessment or exam.
- Begin your assessment time by carefully reading over the task and number of sections in the task.
- Allocate time for each question according to how many marks a question is worth.
- Start with the easier questions first to ensure that you get those marks and use the remaining time to complete more difficult questions.
- If you come across a question that you can't answer, leave it and move on. Come back to the question at the end.
Strategies for written tasks
- Always read and re-read the instructions.
- Read all alternatives before choosing an answer – and consider all of them.
- Don’t waste valuable time on one answer.
- Double-check that your responses on the answer sheet match the questions that you are trying to answer!
- If all else fails, make a guess (unless you will lose a mark for an incorrect answer).
Strategies to answer short answer and essay questions
- Always read and re-read the assessment task instructions. Underline key words.
- Keep in mind that your response will need to be brief and direct – there will be no time to digress in your response.
- Plan your response before you start writing on the answer sheet.
- Make sure that you check for typos and if handwritten that your handwriting is clear.
- Do a final check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- If you run out of time for a question, write dot points to summarise what you intended to say – you may get at least some marks for this.