Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tackling the Monster Called Exams

It is that time of the year again! The Summative Assessment and the Term exams are round the corner, giving many students sleepless nights. How to tackle the papers without messing them up? How to maximize the score in a competitive environment where every half-point matters? Is there any sure-shot way to ensure that you stand a very good chance to score well?
Yes. It is not only simple but it has been practiced regularly in the old days too. Here they are as under. Hope you take back something from them. All the best in your exams!

1. Have you divided your 3 hours properly?
 a. 10 minutes for your revision
 b. 5 minutes “buffer time” – changing pen, tying sheets or (god forbid) rewriting a chunk that you have scratched out unthinkingly
 c.  You have 165 minutes for the paper (not 180). This time is to be divided among the various sections of the paper

2. Put your best foot forward – always begin with the section that you are most thoroughly prepared with. And within each section, the order in which the questions are to be answered must again pass the test of “best foot forward”. Use the 15-minute reading time to determine how you wish to attack the present paper.
It doesn’t matter which section you start with. But you must start with that which you know the best. You HAVE to make the most favourable impression the first time. Often it can make or mar a paper. Teachers, after all, are human beings. And therefore a good initial impression quite often makes them overlook or be lenient towards your few errors at a later stage.

3. Be realistic - no one is interested in your answer as much as you are. Your paper will not receive more than 10-minutes’ attention from the examiner.  Your response needs to be razor-sharp and focused. The answer to the question should be clearly mentioned in the first line or so of your response. The example/s from the text should follow immediately to support your statement/reasoning. Any extra point that you may wish to add in order to differentiate your answer from your peers must be at the very end.

4. Write to the point – be relevant at all times. Read the questions carefully and answer only what is asked. Write only as much as the marks allotted for the question justify. The same question may carry either 1 mark or 5 marks. The length of your answers will vary. You will elaborate more in the 5-mark question. The 1-mark question does not justify an elaborate explanation  

5. The Ideal Writing Style
 a. Simple yet graceful
 b. Flowing without being showy and drawing attention to itself
 c. Good, appropriate English
 d. Short, simple sentences without too many connectors
 e. Avoidance of repetitions – of words, phrases, ideas or even of sounds.

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