[Tips] What Should We Do Before the Exams?

The following contents are adapted from http://www.pearsonlongman.com.

A month before the examination

Your final review should start a month before the examination. Make a planned programme for your revision work.
Start by thinking about what you can do well and what you do badly. You can gain more marks by improving on your weaknesses than by polishing things which you can already do well.

Make sure you understand the exact requirements of the examination and your own strengths and weaknesses. Make a focused revision programme which concentrates on the things which can gain the most marks.

Don’t overwork! Always build some relaxation (not too much!) into your revision programme.

If you like working with friends, don’t let your revision programme be a lonely time. Work in co-operation with other students. You can learn as much through helping as by being helped!

red star Use multi-sensory revision

We learn and remember information as pictures, sounds and movements. Think about linking the things you have learnt to pictures, diagrams, music, sounds, movements or sensations. You will find they are easier to remember.

Think of past events in black and white, present events in real colour and future events in strange futuristic colours.

gold star Memorising vocabulary

You can memorise vocabulary by making pictures in your mind or on paper and labelling the different things in the picture. Test yourself regularly.

Vocabulary cards, with the word on one side and an example sentence, translation or picture on the reverse, are very useful for revising vocabulary when travelling (NOT if you are driving!).

Practise making word families like happiness, happy, happily.

bronze star Understanding Grammar

Check through your grammar reference notes and tick off the things you really understand. Concentrate on the areas where your understanding is not so clear. Try to make examples from your own knowledge or experience to help you remember the forms.

green star Use past papers

Practice exams are very useful for your revision particularly if you time yourself strictly. Don’t let practice exams make you depressed. They can be really useful in showing what you need to practise and learn.

blue star Use your teacher

Your teacher knows you very well. Ask your teacher for advice on your revision programme.

purple star Build some ‘rewards’ into your revision programme!

Make a tough revision programme for yourself and work hard but build in some rewards for yourself after you have completed each stage of revision satisfactorily

A week before the examination

Look back at your revision programme. Is it complete? Aren’t there some things you want to look at again? Use this week for some focused revision.

Review your revision notes every day. Try reviewing your notes without looking at them. Which parts are difficult to remember? Concentrate on learning those parts.

Remember that the examination asks you to do things in English. It is not a test of how well you remember your notes. Use your time to do some relaxing things in English.

Look back at the written work you did a year ago. Do you see how much you have improved? Think positively about yourself and your achievements.

Think about what you are going to wear for the examination. You should be comfortable, but try to choose something special for this special day. This means that when you put on those clothes, you will already be preparing yourself for the examination.

Get as much sleep as you can. Don’t waste time worrying about the examination. You will not learn anything by worrying. Find some time to take exercise. You can try to remember phrasal verbs when you are jogging or plan a composition whilst you take a walk.

Travel to the place where you will take the examination. Check that you know the way and the time. Use the journey time to plan your examination strategy.

Remember to send ‘good luck’ messages to all your friends who are taking the same examination.

The night before the examination don’t eat a heavy meal. Eat something light but nutritious. Avoid alcohol. Take some exercise and go to bed early.

red star On the day of the examination

Dress in your ‘examination clothes’ and prepare yourself for this special day. Open and read the ‘good luck’ messages from your friends. Have a good breakfast but don’t drink too much. You shouldn’t feel hungry or uncomfortable in any way during the examination.

Check through the ‘time plan’ you have made for the examination. Know how much time you will give to each question. Check you have given yourself time for checking and correcting.

Check that you have all the pens and papers you need for the examination. For many examinations you may need some identification papers.

As you travel to the place of the examination, remind yourself of your examination strategy.

green star During the examination

Focus your mind on what you have to do. Don’t be distracted by outside things or by other students.

Keep an eye on the clock but try not to hurry. Always give yourself time to check your work.

Remember you will get no marks for any questions you do not attempt so make sure that you complete as much of the examination as possible.

blue star After the examination

Don’t worry about the mistakes you made and the things you got wrong. You will have a long wait for the results so go out and enjoy your freedom!

The results are not as good as you expected? Well, you can always take the examination again. You are now a better, more organised person and a better learner. It will be much easier next time.

The results are good? Congratulations!


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