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8 Essential tips for your O/A Level exams

  • Published at 02:51 pm December 17th, 2016
8 Essential tips for your O/A Level exams
  1. Sort out what you need to study Figure out what content the subject has, then gather your notes and all your study materials. A lot of students delay this and get notes with incomprehensible handwriting, or they simply do not understand the content at all. If the materials and hurdles are dealt with first, you have an overall control of the situation knowing what they are and how to go about finishing the syllabus.

  2. Set realistic goals Do not ever think that you are alone who has a lot left to study. About 90 percent of the students are in the same situation as you are. There will be some studious ones who have consistently studied throughout. A lot of students set such high standards that they end up being demotivated by the expectations they set for themselves. Disappointing yourself in the last minute is not something you would want. Know your limit and stay within those limits. Being consistent is what will enable you to finish the syllabus.

  3. Read the notes properly Read your teacher’s notes thoroughly and if you find that difficult, consult the revisions guides. Edexcel and CGP both provide excellent revision guides. These guides tend to condense a lot of information down to easy chunks that are easy to read. A good idea is to quickly jot down the points you come across, this helps you retain information much better than simply reading it.

  1. Get to know the question trends Procure all the question papers and mark schemes. Start from the very recent ones and then keep going back to find the question pattern. If the questions seem too disparate, it is okay to do two or three years worth of papers to get the general feel. Once you solve the paper, go through the mark scheme and check your answers. If you find it difficult to understand the mark scheme, you can find the examiner report on the board’s (Edexcel/Cambridge) website where the answers are laid out in detail.

  1. Know your mocks There is a misconception that the more mock exams you sit for, the better you will be prepared. The truth is that mock exams are just glorified question paper solving sessions. Instead, it is better to stay at home and prepare since the last month is the month that determines your grades. Just time your question papers like the exam and you are good to go. Doing three or four mock exams are good enough - provided you do prepare well for them. If you have multiple unites per subject, two to three are enough. Treat them as rehearsals.

  1. Manage your distractions better One thing many do not realise is that social media and smartphones are a huge distraction. They have a tendency to make large chunks of time simply disappear into thin air; time which could be used in doing far more productive things. Reduce the amount of time you spend with your smartphone, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. For those with a stronger will, get rid of those altogether. Also, don’t miss classes and coaching to go somewhere to eat or hang out thinking you will get the notes later on. Putting today’s work for tomorrow will not reduce the amount of work you have overall, it will exactly do the opposite and push your limits far beyond your capabilities.

  1. Time management is key This is especially for A-level students. During the A2 prep, a lot of their time is divided between ACT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS and university applications. When so many things show up at once, it is important to prioritise the exam that is right in front of you. The other exams will have to take the back seat because we are designed in such a way that we can only focus on one thing at a time. Doing all things at once will only result in an unsalvageable mess that will just drag you down. Procrastination is another habit that will often try to lure you in with short term benefits but on the long run, it will add immense amounts of stress the nearer you get to your exams. Best to hit the day’s goal and then think about other things.

  1. Finally, stay calm A lot of people do not consider the influence of stress. A lot of students fall sick and fail to sit for the exams. It is important to not panic. Make sure that your stress levels are kept under control and know how well your preparations are. If you are not organised, things will seem out of control before the exams and end up in a train wreck. If you miss your exams, you will have to sit out for at least five months.

If you can follow through with these tips, nothing can stop you from acing your exams. Good luck!

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