My 2 pence worth of advice to y'all is to emphasise the importance of PLANNING!
I'll try and break it down for two parts, exams and coursework. In either case, the most important thing is Planning, planning and more planning. Oh, did I say anything about planning? 🤣Doing Exams:-
The night before, make sure you get a good nights sleep, so you're well rested. I would suggest having fish or something rich in Omega 3 as it's proven to be good for the brain. On the big day, arrive anything between 15-30 minutes before it's due to start, so you're calm and ready to focus. Maybe have a coffee, but don't have too much... or you'll get the jitters.
Make sure you understand exactly what's being asked before you start, take a couple of minutes to really think about it before scribbling down your answers (you'll be surprised how many people misinterpret things simple phrases like "Discuss
" and "To what extent...
"). I would also suggest taking a few deep breaths before and clear your mind (oxygen is fuel for the brain).
Make sure you allocate an appropriate amount of time, for whatever that part of the question is worth. Try and write something down for all
parts of the question. In something like an exam situation, you'll be very surprised from what you can pick up from brainstorming or putting some random thoughts on paper. It may not be a textbook answer, but remember saying something is almost always better than nothing. Simple example, if you're required to answer three questions, and you answer two perfectly, and don't bother at all with the last one, the very most you'll get is 67%.
First do the parts that you know the best or you find easiest, this serves two purposes:-
a) You get those marks "in the bag" early, and it saves you wasting precious time struggling on the more difficult parts.
b) The confidence boost you get from knowing you've done something well will set you up nicely for the tougher, more challenging parts.
Having said that, remember the above about bit about allocating time... don't spend too much time creating a perfect answer, that you've not left any time to do the remaining parts. You can always go back to it later to make some tweaks, if you've got a spare few minutes towards the end.
Also bear in mind, the first part of each individual exam question are normally easy. As long as you've turned up for lessons you should be able to get those marks without too much effort. The middle part takes a bit more thought and the final few marks are really for the very best students.
I would avoid discussing what you did with your classmates afterwards, as there's always something they'll have done differently, and that can cause a panic that you've done it wrong. After all, once the exam's done, it's out of your hands (well until results day lol). Put it aside, and focus on your next exam.
Also goes without saying to do plenty of past papers.Coursework:-
For coursework (e.g. essays, reports, projects etc.) see how they want you to answer the question and stick to that like glue. Part of this is testing how well you can follow a brief / specification as well as your knowledge on a particular subject matter. Yes, I know its annoying when you know a subject inside out, but the essay cannot be more than 1,000 words... but sometimes it's important to be concise; so you need to identify the important points and make sure they're prioritised and covered.
The structure of an essay is normally 20-25% introduction and the same for conclusions, with the remainder being the main body. This is only a guide, as there occasions where the intro / findings need to be much shorter (this is more common for reports).
For any summary's / abstracts should be no more than about 10% of the size of the essay / report itself. It should give the user the gist of the study, enough to interest them in reading the main thing.
Always try and use formal English for these kind of things. Avoid slang and colloquialisms (although there are sometimes very specific cases when this may be required or appropriate). I would suggest getting a clever friend or a family member to proof read your work before you submit it.
If you're allowed to (and you have time) I would also make the effort to ensure it's presented really well. As well as a chance to flex your MS Office skills, it creates a good first impression and shows you care about your work. However, unless it's an art / design type orientated assignment, don't go "over the top
" with it, as some of the more cynical markers may see that as an attempt to cover up some shoddy poor work (e.g. polishing a "you know what
Late work is often penalised, so make sure you meet deadlines... even if the report isn't as good as it could have been (unless you've previously discussed with whoever is responsible for it and agreed something). Remember the bit about planning / allocating time applies just as much to coursework as exams... it's just over a longer time period (and you have to juggle it with everything else going on in your life, being popular teenagers and all lol 😉 ).
Above all, please remember the 7P's rule:-Proper Preparational Planning Prevents P*ss Poor Performance