Have you ever wished—especially before a dreaded exam—that life had a fast-forward button to get you safely across the exam without having to write it? Well, we know that life doesn’t work that way. We at Young Scholarz, can train you to help you master those unyielding subjects. Whether you’re an IGCSE student or an IBDP student, we can help! Our Top five tips for exam prep, we hope, will help you ace upcoming exams and perhaps, be grateful that life didn’t have a fast-forward button after all.
1. Create a timetable
For most people, making a timetable is too cumbersome—a waste of time because you don’t end up following it anyway. But that’s often the case because we make such unrealistic goals for ourselves, that we do more harm than good. If you don’t like making a schedule for every hour of the day, don’t. Substitute that for a task-wise or week-wise timetable instead. Count the number of days/weeks you have for your next exam. Divide that with the number of subjects or units you have to cover. Now assign one subject for each day, keeping in mind lessons that may require more time to learn. This will ensure you’ve enough time for all subjects, and eliminate last-minute panic.
Now that you’ve got your timetable written down and posted where you see it often sit in an ergonomic position, in a comfortable chair. Now, you’re ready to start studying. Remember to drink enough water and keep distractions away as far as possible.
2. Prepare mind maps
In Psychology, the method of Loci is a proven strategy for memorization. Also known as memory journey or memory palace (made popular by characters like Sherlock Holmes and Scooby Doo’s Wilma), this method works on the principle that you best remember things whose location you are familiar with. Mind maps use the Loci idea to help us organize thoughts and concepts in a pictographic form. It’s a great way for you to let your creative side out even while you study. So go all out with font colors and style and make it as eye-catching as possible.
Once you’ve got a whole text or unit into a mind map, put it up on a board or a wall in front of you, and you’ll save yourself much tiresome revision. With your mind maps in place, all you have to do before the exam is look at it long and hard. So when you sit down for your exam, your mind takes you back to the mind map you created and helps you recollect important details.
3. Structure your answer
The first impression, they say, is often the best. You may have a thorough knowledge of what to answer, but unless you know how to answer a question, it’s hardly any good. Pick any subject, paper, or type of question—the mark scheme always credits answers that are structured with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. So before you write any answer, spend a good whole minute or two to plan it.
The first step is to have an introduction that explains what the question is about, a thesis statement that establishes what you aim to accomplish through your answer, and finally, the method you will use for it. The method is nothing but the three areas of focus that you’ll be dealing with in the paragraphs to come. In English Literature or English Language answers it would be the three thematic strands you would explore. Next, devote one paragraph to one main idea or theme and seek to validate it with suitable proof. Now that your answer is validated, the final step is to tie it all up in the conclusion, summarising your answer and stating the implications of what you’ve written. No matter how small a task is, never underestimate the power of well-concluded writing. We’d say this is one of our most important tips for exam prep!
4. Give practice tests
Given the standard of expectations that each question demands and the limited time you’re given to answer them, it’s often a herculean task just to complete the paper on time. But if you want to complete the paper and perform exceptionally well, the only way out is to practice! How much time to devote to each answer depends on its weightage, so make sure you answer each question accordingly. There’s nothing as heartbreaking as being unable to complete a paper on time—especially when you’re well prepared. That’s why we mentioned planning your answers well in advance. During the planning, do a mental analysis of the time needed for each question so you have a good judgment of speed. Practice tests are the most effective means to help you master the art of timing yourself.
5. Learn from your mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable and part of being human, and often help make you better than you were before. After each practice test, have an expert review it for you. Ask the expert for detailed feedback and tips on how you can tackle every area of difficulty— just a reminder that this is an area of expertise for us! Now go through the feedback, and, keeping the suggestions in mind, practice yet again! This way you can avoid the same mistakes again, and thus, fare better than before with each round of practice!
Remember – the journey may be long and hard, but you’re not alone! We, at Young Scholarz, are dedicated to supporting you every step of the way. We hope you found our tips for exam prep helpful. May you have an effort-rewarding exam!
To have your papers marked by our expert tutors, visit our paper marking services webpage.