Exam & Essay Advice – Part One

Coursework and exams are not a lot of fun, but it is important to get them right in order to show what you know and get the grades you deserve. It is no good knowing your stuff if you can’t demonstrate that knowledge to an examiner or your tutor.

Whether you are planning on heading off to university, finding a job, or looking for an apprenticeship, you will want to give yourself the best chance of success –so check out these ten tips to make the most of your exam or coursework:

  • Revise and Research!

Whether you are revising or researching something for an essay make sure you check a variety of text books and course materials. It can be tempting to try and remember everything in one or two books, but by reading more widely you will give yourself a broader knowledge base to draw upon. Of course, you will have certain important main texts to use, but it never hurts to look a little further too. This reading could be something you do as you go along– perhaps as something to do during your study periods. However, this takes time, which brings us onto our next point…

  • Putting Things Off

It can be all too easy to leave your work until the last minute – especially if you are dreading getting started. However, the longer you leave it to get started the less time you have to solve any problems you may have. Leaving your coursework essay until the last possible moment is a dangerous game that can back-fire badly. It is better to get started as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to put in your best work, rather than having to rush to get something, anything, written in time! Just get started!

  • Read The Question

It is all-too-easy to panic and misread a question – especially in an exam. If you have rehearsed answers in your head during revision it can be tempting to use your rehearsed answer in an exam. While very few examiners go out of their way to catch students out with their questions, you have to be sure that you are doing what has been asked of you. Read, and re-read the question you are being asked to make sure you understand what is required of you.

  • Planning

After reading and understanding the question you should take some time to plan your answer. In an exam you may take 5 or ten minutes to plan out your replies. Some lecturers advise that you focus on the questions you find easiest first – to build your confidence in the exam and make sure you get those easier marks sorted. Leaving the tougher questions until last will stop you wasting too much time and losing confidence. Planning is also important for coursework – work out what you are going to say before you get started as this will help your essay to have a proper structure and prevent you repeating yourself.

  • Analyse!

It is one thing to show what you know by regurgitating facts, but you may need to do more than that to get top marks in some subjects. This is especially true if you are doing A levels, and will be even more important should you go on to do a degree. Indeed, some courses will want you to analyse and engage with the material in order to show that you understand it. Check with your tutor to find out about the marking schemes for your essay or exam – there may be a need to analyse the material in order to get the top marks!

While these tips are certainly useful when it comes to your studies, certain pieces of advice can be taken with you from the classroom to your career – so getting it right no can help you in the future too.

Check back tomorrow, when we will have some more advice to help you ace your coursework and exams!

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