We would like to take this opportunity to offer all students the very best of luck this May! This year, we have been proud to help more students than ever before prepare for their exams – both at our Easter Revision Courses and with our tutors in person and online – and look forward to celebrating your successes in the new academic year.
Whilst May can often be a stressful time, exams are simply about showing off the knowledge you have gained over the past year. We’ve put together some tips and advice we hope you’ll find useful and once again, would like to offer our sincerest wishes to each of you.
Don’t be afraid to skip a question
Examinees always feel the pressure of time during assessments and, sometimes, it’s hard to get your answer down on paper fast enough. But if you come up against a question you just can’t crack, don’t waste time you could be using to answer another question quickly. Often, the best advice is to skip it, and come back later – at which point, you might remember the technique to tackling it.
Get rid of your notes, clear your mind
Once you’ve finished your examinations in a subject, there’s no need to keep your notes with you. Take your periodic table off your bedroom wall, put your copies of Metamorphosis in a different room. Clearing up the space around you can help you clear your mind and help you focus on your next subject. It also serves as a visual reminder that the end is in sight, encouraging you to make that final push!
Allocate exam time tactically
Especially for Maths & Science papers, you need to look out for buzz words like “write down”, “define”, “show” and quickly glance your eyes at how many marks the question is worth. This will both give you a feel for how many minutes you should spend on the question, and give you some clues about how much working you’re meant to show. Remember how valuable method marks can be, even if you feel the answer to Part A was incorrect, they carry through and can be vital to your final score.
Final skim of the syllabus
Make best use of the days before the exam period begins, and ensure you read through the syllabus for each of your courses – particularly in Maths and the Sciences! – to ensure you haven’t missed anything in class or in your revision. You may spot a definition you haven’t learned before which could give you a valuable point on the day.
Relax and keep it to yourself
It’s hard to resist the urge to debrief with your friends after the exam, or to sit with them before and discuss the hardest topics you came up against when preparing, but it’s always too late. Just before an exam you’ve done all the preparation you can, and after, well, time’s up. Speaking with others can often trick you into thinking you haven’t prepared as well, or demotivate you if you didn’t get the same answer to that one question. Instead, use the time before an exam to relax and take a breath before the plunge, use the time after to rest before picking up your flashcards again.
Do yourself a favour, look after yourself
Your body is a temple – look after it. If you are falling asleep the moment your head touches the pillow, you’re not sleeping enough. If your eyes strain when you look out of the window, stop revising in the dark. If you can’t hear yourself think over the sound of your stomach grumbling, eat breakfast (eat it even if your stomach is silent!). You can’t expect your brain to show off its amazing knowledge if you don’t treat it well. Look after yourself, and the marks will come flooding in.
Finally, sweat the small stuff
Stress often makes us do silly things, but don’t let it make you forget the little things. Here’s our checklist of the small stuff, that often get forgotten, to remember:
- A spare calculator, or at the very least, spare batteries,
- A bottle of water, label removed,
- A watch – if you’re far away from the exam hall clock, you might be grateful you brought your own time-keeping means- but remember no smart watches are allowed during the exam,
- Your student ID – it’s no good turning up if no one believes you’re you,
- Stationery – always take enough pens and pencils with you, remember you can ask for scrap paper during the exam, but don’t forget to cross out your workings out, otherwise they could count towards your final mark!
- Check the examination venue and time – in case the worst happens and Google Maps fails, and so you won’t be late,
- Write clearly, and remember that examiners need to read many scripts, so they are always thankful for good handwriting!
- Finally, read and re-read the question; don’t panic, make sure you take the time to read the question slowly, underlining key words and making sure you don’t misinterpret what the examiner’s asking of you.
If you have any questions, remember we are always available, and we wish you the very best of luck,
Elite IB Tutors