7 Practical Exam Tactics That'll Get You The MATSEC Mark You Actually Deserve 🎯
Time to level up 🕹
You've done the studying, now it's time to put all those past papers to work.
The question is, how can you convert what you studied into great exam answers? 😨
Find out below 😉
#1 - No Pressure 🧘♀️
The very first thing you should do after receiving your exam paper actually isn't to start reading it, believe it or not.
Instead, spend a quick 5 minutes writing out a "memory dump" of sorts, where you take all the themes, facts, or formulas that are currently dancing chaotically around your brain and jot them all down on a piece of paper. (be it rough paper or in pencil on the exam paper itself)
This way, you won't forget anything important AND you'll have the luxury of referring to this memory dump later on during questions to bring up certain ideas / facts that fit in nicely.
#2 - Take Off Your Blindfold 🧘♀️
Once you've successfully laid out the groundwork, it's time to really see what's in front of you.
Round 1 - Read through all questions properly, underlining keywords & instructions❗️
Round 2 - Mark the questions you know, do those first to build confidence & momentum 😁
Round 3 - Give each question or section a dedicated "time budget" ⏰
A time budget is a maximum time limit based on the question or section's marks, once time's up you HAVE to move on. Running out of time is the worst, don't let it happen.
(pro tip: add a few extra minutes to each budget, things always take longer than you expect!)
#3 - Structure Is Convincing 🧐
Some of you won't like to hear this, but you really shouldn't be freestyling all of your answers.
Sure it might be tempting to just start writing and get the ball rolling, but a lot of the time that'll just result in a disjointed mess of points that make very little sense together.
Instead, try to read a question carefully and construct the perfect reply in your head, before you even come close to putting pen to paper. You want points to build on each other and be cohesive, this will make you sound like you know exactly what you're talking about.
(which hopefully, you do 😉)
#4 - It's Still Summer, Don't Overheat 🔥
For every action, there is an equal and... you know the rest. if you spend 2 hours with your head down writing at 200 words a minute - you're eventually going to break down.
Your hands will start to hurt, you'll start overthinking, you'll regret all the hours you spent watching reality shows on Netflix, you may even stain your paper with panic tears. Not cute.
To avoid these nightmares, commit to taking real breaks. Close your eyes, calm your nerves, stretch your hands and take deep soothing breaths. A nervous mind is not a productive one.
#5 - Play Smart 🧠
When answering questions that aren't straightforward, it's important to read between the lines. Often, you'll find hints or clues in the wording that'll point you in the right direction.
The trick is to put yourself in the examiner's shoes: think, "if I were the examiner, what would I want the student to say in this situation? What would I want them to reference? What is this question implying and what would the perfect answer sound like?"
Asking these kinds of questions is a great way to frame what you know, it's a method which challenges your mind to think of new ways of solving a problem.
Try it, it works a lot.
#6 - Leaving Early = Death ☠️
I get it, you either A) left half the paper out, or B) you requested 2 extra papers to fill in all the info you so masterfully studied.
You still shouldn't leave early.
In case A, I've heard of countless miracle passes throughout the years, you could remember the answer 2 minutes before the exam ends and save yourself 10 marks. Not to mention the fact that based on how others do, the average could go down and your mark could go up.
In case B, you can never be too careful. Proofread all your answers multiple times, and make sure you understood questions correctly and didn't go out of point. Your spare time should be spent maximising your mark, not leaving early to get home and eat ice cream.
#7 - Mountain Climber's Mindset 🧗♂️
At the end of the day, your only enemy is yourself 👈
If you go into the exam thinking you have no chance and you'd be lucky to get 10 marks, you probably will. Belief tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
With that in mind, make use of positive self-talk. Tell yourself that you've got this, tell yourself that you're capable, be optimistic, have faith in your studies and try your absolute best.
The only way you can climb the mountain is by first believing it's possible ❤️
Good luck friends 🍀
Hopefully, these tips help keep you concentrated & let you ace your exams & get into Uni with flying colours 😇
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Take care ❤️