Planning for examinations can be a trying and stressful time. However, we know at MTA that examinations are serious business and require solid preparation. Just like an Olympic athlete cannot hope to win without lengthy preparation, you cannot expect to get optimum results in an exam with the minimum, last-minute effort.
This is why at MTA we have summarised our top 5 tips for you to achieve your goal of excellence over mediocrity.
1. Schedule your time effectively.
Time management skills can help you take control of your study workload, achieve more and stress out less.
Study through the year. Mid-term and year-end examinations measure your ability to understand and recall information that was taught over weeks and months. That means you need to study a lot of material. By setting up and following a study schedule throughout the year, you can be very well prepared and can expect to do well. On the other hand, if you waste your time through the year and expect to catch up on a year’s worth of study in a few days or nights, you will not only place yourself under extreme psychological pressure, but also end up with lower marks than you were capable of achieving.
Avoid cramming. The term cramming refers to stuffing loads of information into your brain in a very short period of time, such as the night before the test. If you follow the strategies on this website, you should not need to cram. If you absolutely have to cram, review only the highlighted info, key vocabulary, and most important topics. Don’t try to cover as much as you might have if you had studied systematically throughout the year, or even in the pre-exam period.
Develop a more specific study plan for the few weeks before the exam. The first thing is to sit down and estimate how much time you have to devote to preparing for the particular examination.
Make a list of all your subjects. Divide the amount of chapters you need to cover in each subject by the number of days. Figure out how many hours you have to spend on each subject and section. You will need to prioritise each element so that the element which will take you the longest time is started first.
Find out exam dates and schedule these into your diary in advance. Minimise distractions, social events and keep your priorities clear. Reschedule social activities around your study schedule not vice-versa.
Stick to your schedule, no matter what!
2. Organise your study material.
Have all your filed notes, old tests, and textbooks in one place to save time. Clear away unnecessary books and papers from your study area. Take away any non-study related material which could distract you.
Did you know - One of the best methods for retaining information and for testing the extent of your knowledge is to reorganise your study materials. You will retain more if you restructure the material in a way that makes sense to you.
Note cards are great because they are so versatile. Make a note card for every concept or idea you are studying and then match these to problems or questions that you may expect to find in the test.
Mind mapping is a simple and effective technique of test preparation. It can expose gaps in your knowledge and will show you how it all fits together. It is a fantastic visual aid for revision where each topic can be condensed to one page.
Use your textbook wisely. Today’s textbooks are designed to help you succeed. Pay attention to headings and subheadings, highlighted sections, key terms and definitions, and review questions. They are designed to draw your attention to the most important elements, which you should know.
3. Understand the examination & practise, practise, practise.
Make sure you know all there is to know about the format of your upcoming exam. You should know the length of the exam, the style of the exam (objective, subjective, or both), and which sections are worth the most points.
Practice a lot. After reviewing, spend the majority of time on output activities which test your recall. You could do this by using mind maps, flashcards, mnemonic devices, diagrams, songs or presentations. You could also try to teach someone else the material; it’s a great way to check what you know, understand and remember.
Use past papers to develop your exam technique, understand your gap in learning and help focus your revision further.
Review regularly. Set up a schedule which allows you to review once and ideally, review again. This enables you to discover what you need to spend more time on and what comes easily to you.
Practice, Practice Practice.
4. Identify your Learning Style
At MTA we are passionate about understanding your learning style.
We would recommend that you take a learning style assessment and find out if you are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. This is a very powerful piece of knowledge and can make your study time much more effective. Remember your learning style can be very different from your friends and family.
Adapting your study method to suit your own natural style will enable you to gain powerful results in less time.
5. Create a productive study environment.
Decide where you work best. Make sure to minimize all distractions by telling your family to leave your room undisturbed and stay away from the TV!
Remove everything from on top of/inside the table or desk. Throw away unnecessary items and save those that you do need for the next step. Clean off the entire surface.
Be comfortable but alert . Try to station your study space at a desk. Soft couches and beds can be comfy, but you'll probably end up getting some sleep, instead of studying.
Keep school supplies handy. Make sure to have a ruler, pencils, pencil sharpeners,lead (if you have mechanical pencils), erasers, paper, and highlighters at your study spot.
Eliminate Distractions. No matter where you are, if you have something you need to get done , the best place to begin is with identifying what distracts you the most.
Music. Music can be a great way to get into what you are doing! Some people need silence, but for others, there is great rhythmic potential out there that is perfectly aligned with your mind’s resonance frequency.
Get Off your Phone, Skype, Twitter & Facebook! If you are using these media tools as a key component to your business, then of course don’t eliminate them…but seriously, how many times do you need to check your Facebook or Lindsay Lohan’s Twitter updates?
Schedule Meal & Coffee Breaks. …and stick to them! It is very easy to go out to eat and end up getting distracted with other things while you are out of the house. Focus on the task and stick to your breaks like you would obey the bell in grade school.
Good Attitude = Good to go! You are strong, committed, and able! A good attitude can get you through a multitude of challenges in life. Setting up a productive environment may now seem like a near impossible task, but I promise that creating these good habits, are just as easy as creating bad ones- it is just a matter of a little self discipline.