The Exams Are Starting: How to Study, Part II

Author: Dan Keating/09 May 2018/Categories: Leaving Cert, Junior Cert, Parents, Help them Revise

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The Exams Are Starting: How to Study, Part II

In this series of blogs we consider everything you need to know and do to perform in the exams about to begin, starting with how to study.

Every year students ask, “How should I study?”

What they should be thinking and asking is, What will I have to do during my exams and how can I prepare myself to do those things well?

The answer? Get specific.

Missed Part One? Read The Exams Are Starting: How to Study, Part I now.

Step 1: Learn/engage with the content

You do – or should do – this every day. You learn/engage with a subject by completing your classwork as best you can. It seems obvious, but this is the best way to study during exam years. Remember, after all, your teacher is working to prepare you for your exam.

Step 2: Home-learning

Another obvious step, but equally important. Teachers set homework to consolidate classwork, and to extend and develop it. Homework’s one of the best ways to study because it adds the skill/content to your memory bank, and helps you develop the skill of independent study for when you finish school for exam season.

Step 3: Fill in the blanks

What chapters/content/homework did you miss through absence this year? Identify these by going through your syllabus and catch up any way you can. Start by asking your teacher for extra help and advice.

Step 4: Get specific

The best way to study for any exam is to replicate it, so begin your study by completing exam questions and papers. Self or peer-assess these using the exam mark scheme, or have your teacher mark them, to identify the gaps in your knowledge/skill-base. Focus your revision on these gaps.

Step 5: Build up

As with fitness, you should build up your study level. Start by completing exam questions to target your knowledge gaps/skill weaknesses; build from these by completing sections of the exam paper.

For example, if your exam has 5 sections, complete 1 section on 5 days of the week, meaning you’ll have completed one exam each week; build into completing full exam papers in a sitting. Use your ‘rest’ days to review your exam paper and ‘fill in the blanks’.

Step 6: Keep being specific

Complete exam questions and papers until exam day. Now that you know the content and what you need to work on, focus on timing each section and working out the best order in which to answer each section (think answering the section you know best/that’s worth most marks first, what you know least/worth fewest marks last, etc.).

The more your practise, the more prepared you’ll be; the exam will seem like just another practice run.

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