I published this article last year in preparation for the mid-year exams – hope it helps you in your final preparations as we near the final exams for this year. Good luck, Heath
I know that most of you will be in “exam mode” bunkered down with chocolate, caffiene and other goodies in an attempt to get finally prepared for the exams so I will keep this short.
Some small strategies for you…
1. Get a good nights sleep.
Memory consolidation occurs during your deep sleep at night, not to mention a solid nights sleep can help you feel awake, alert and energised the following day. You will need a minimum of 8 hours sleep here or risk waking up feeling lethargic, groggy and stressed.
2. Get active.
If you have time to do so – go for a 15 minutes brisk walk in the morning to get the blood pumping. The cold morning makes you more alert. If you can’t try a slightly colder shower in the morning. Not only will this kick start your morning but also make sure that you don’t waste too much water.
3. Have a healthy, nutritious breakfast.
Breakfast is the meal that “breaks the fast” of dinner to the morning meal. Chance are that you may already feel a little hypoglycaemic (ie have low blood sugar). Breakfast is such an important meal to set you up for a big day. Look for some fruit and yoghurt or breakfast cereal that is low G.I. (Glycaemic Index). This will give you the long lasting energy you need to perform well in the exams.
4. Drink at least 500ml first thing in the morning.
You will wake up dehydrated from the previous nights sleep and dehydration is one of the most easily avoided concentration killers. Stay hydrated during the exam by taking small sips of water from your transparent drink bottle (with no label of course).
5. Check that you have all of your materials the night before the exams.
If you are unsure of what to bring make sure you check out the VCAA website. Make sure that you have also included plenty of comfortable writing pens, pencils, erasers etc, etc.
6. Decide what your pre-exam strategy will be
Are you going to spend time with friends to de-stress or will that stress you out even more? Do you like to spend some time alone reading over notes? The decision is yours. For my exams I made a point of being one of the last students to enter the room so I could avoid the other students exam stress.
7. Use reading time to develop your writing strategy.
Use the time given to you to do the following:
A: Check the stability of the desk and chair (you would be surprised how many chairs/tables are wonky which will drive you bananas when completing the exam).
B: Take some deep breaths and a sip of water before you start to read through the paper.
C: Read through the exam ensuring that you start thinking through some possible answers and identify at least 2-3 questions that you can start off answering when writing time begins.
D: Many of you will begin with multiple choice then begin the short answer questions. It really is a personal preference but I recommend that you do short answer first and then complete the multiple choice…reason being is that if you run out of time towards the end of the exam then you can quickly complete the multiple choice section to get some marks. Other people would say the opposite but it is really up to you.
8. During writing time, read, underline or highlight the keywords in the question before you start writing.
See this video for some more information on the top 5 VCE exam mistakes and how to avoid them.
9. Before you answer the tough questions ask yourself “what is this question asking of me?”
Doing so will help you “tap in” to your memory stores to access this important information to answer the question.
10. Give it your best effort.
I’m still amazed that even at Year 12 some students still will…
Leave some questions unanswered – attempt everything (you may score yourself a marks or two in the process).
OR – Leave before the end of writing time – stay until the end. If you can’t remember something try closing your eyes and visualising the information to recall the topic area. Once you leave that’s it…you can’t go back in to answer a question.
I wish you all the best of luck and good preparation for the upcoming VCE exams.
All the best,
Please let us know your thoughts and comments below.