Student Success At Goetz
Attention GOETZ STUDENTS:
SOME TIPS to help you do YOUR BEST ON YOUR EXAMS:
“Read it and [DON’T]_ weep”!
Let’s say, up until now, you haven’t been so organized and your marks have not been quite where you (and your parents) would like them to be. There is still time to improve those marks and learn a little something along the way (about your course as well as about life and organization). Remember, exams and culminating activities are generally worth between 20-30% of your final mark so, if you focus on doing well on these, it is possible to increase your overall marks/average. At the very least, your aim should be for your marks not to decrease once everything is tallied. So, here is what you should be doing in order to be successful on your upcoming exams. You still have enough time to properly prepare, but you need to get going NOW:
EXAM PREPARATION IN THE WEEKS PRECEDING THE EXAM:
- Do NOT give up hope; keep your study efforts strong and focused.
- Do NOT procrastinate! Do not waste time!
- Start studying each night NOW!
- Research has shown that the brain absorbs information best when you study in periods of 20 minutes with a short (5-minute) break in between sessions. Plan your study times accordingly.
- Review and reorganize notes and handouts for each class each night. Spend at least 15 minutes per night on just this. (If you don’t have good notes, ask to borrow someone else’s notes and photocopy them.)
- In your textbooks, read over text summaries and any highlighted points.
- Make note cards (on 3” x 5” recipe cards or sticky notes) for each unit of each course, jotting down the main points.
- Think of possible paragraph or essay topics that might be on the exam: practise organizing these notes into paragraphs and/or essay topics.
- If you have friends who are serious about doing well on their exams, it might be helpful to organize a study group with them.
- If your teacher gives you a study guide or list of things that could be on the exam, be sure to give a lot of your attention to these as, more than likely, much of this content will be on the exam.
- Make sure you are in class for any exam reviews.
- Address any difficulties in your courses NOW, not in the last few days prior to the exam when you start to panic. Ask your teacher for help with specific problems, and also get some assistance from a knowledgeable friend, older sibling, parent or tutor until you understand the problem.
- Create practice tests with your friends/study group. Time yourself as you answer the questions on these tests. Discuss your answers with your friends and try to improve upon them.
- As soon as the exam schedule is available, find out where you will be writing each exam. (Sometimes you may not end up writing in your regular classroom.)
If the room is not familiar to you, stop by before your exam and check it out, then visualize yourself sitting in that room on exam day.
Picture yourself smiling, relaxed and doing well on your exam. Picture yourself finishing the exam on time.
EXAM PREPARATION FOR THE NIGHT PRIOR TO THE EXAM:
- On the night before the exam, spend an hour or two reviewing the notes for the next day’s exam. Leave some time to relax before going to bed. Then try your best to get a good night’s sleep. Do some relaxing stretches or some deep breathing to help you get ready to sleep.
EXAM PREPARATION FOR THE DAY OF THE EXAM:
- On the day of the exam, give yourself time to have something healthy to eat an hour or two before the exam. Food helps fuel both mind and body. Be sure to include some healthy protein (cheese, lean meat, fish, nuts, beans-and-rice, etc.) in this meal and protein assists the alertness of the brain. Being hydrated is important to alertness as well, so ensure that you drink healthy liquids (water, milk, tea, juice, etc.) before you go to write your exam. Ask your teacher ahead of time if you may bring a bottle of water into the exam.
- Recent studies have indicated that the smell of citrus helps put the brain on alert, which is what you want when you are about to write an exam. Peel an orange, lemon or lime and stick a large piece in your pocket. Smell it throughout the day and just prior to starting your exam.
- Arrive early and prepared for your exam. Bring whatever handouts/materials that are required/ have been allowed by your teacher (formula sheets, study notes, essay outlines, etc.). Also bring several working pens/ pencils, an erasers, some white-out, a highlighter, a dictionary /thesaurus (if allowed), a watch (if allowed), and a calculator (if applicable). If you have any outstanding textbooks, make sure you bring those to the exam as well and return to your teacher.
- Before you begin your exam, it never hurts to say a prayer! If you feel anxious, do some deep breathing to help you relax.
- Use your exam time well. Check the time suggestions for each part of the exam and do your best to stick to them. Regularly glance at your watch or the clock in the room to keep on track. Also note the mark value of each question, so that you are aware which questions are worth the most. If you find that the exam time is getting short, answer first the questions worth the most marks. Afterward, if time allows, go back to the questions of lesser value, starting with the ones you find easiest. Before starting to write, first scan the entire exam to see what is involved. If there is an article /essay to read with questions that follow, read the questions before you start reading the article. Then highlight each answer in the article as you go through it. It will save you time when it comes to writing down your answers. If you have an essay to write, spend the first 5-10 minutes sketching out a simple outline/plan for your essay, even if this is not required. This will make your writing flow better and your thoughts will be more organized. Leave some space at the end of each answer in case you want to revise or add to your answers later. If you are stuck on a particular answer, skip over it for now, leaving space for this answer that you will come back to later.
- Do NOT leave before the exam time is up. If you happen to finish early, then take the extra time to reread your answers and improve upon them.
- On the way out of the exam, thank your teacher for a good semester. It never hurts to be pleasant! Then smile as you leave, knowing that you’ve done your best.
For further help on how to prepare for specific types of tests/exams, check out these great websites below:
Believe that you can succeed, and back up that belief with regular effort.
Good luck to you all with your exams!
If you need further help, please come by and see me in room 110.