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More on Exams

30 - Preparing for the Exam.

Key Techniques

‘It’s all in the preparation’

Preparation Techniques

Ask your teacher for hints

Part of upward managing your teacher is to glean as much information as you can about the up-coming exam.

For example:

  • How do they recommend you study for the exam?
  • Are there any sections of the subject that will definately be in or definately out?
  • The types of questions and how many?
  • Is the exam one that is expected to be finished or is it known to be too long?
Rote Learning & Critical Thinking

“Rote” = “a mechanical and repetitious action.”

Yep, “Rote Learning” is boring but unfortunately many of us need to do it. It helps us build up a body of knowledge in a subject.

Some exams have a heavy reliance on recalling information and theories from lectures. Other exams have a heavy reliance on recalling the theories or frameworks and then using them to analyse information. These involve “critical thinking”.

It is important to be able to separate these 2 aspects in your mind. To get great marks you need to be able to show that you can do both well.

This means that you need to practice both these aspects as you prepare for the exam:

  • You need to rote learn the theories.
  • You need to practice the application of these theories.
  • You need to understand the situations where more than one theory covering similar things are taught.

A big part of university is to teach students about theories that have been developed through research at some location around the world. Sometimes this research and these theories cover the same topic. Other times they partially cover the same topic.
This means that when a topic is taught at university sometimes more than one theory is taught.

It is important to get your head around when more than one theory is used in the teaching of a topic. It can be confusing if you are not clear which theories cover which topics and which of these theories overlap. See the technique “Mapping out the Subject.”

In the exam you need to work out which model should be used. Should you concentrate on just one? Should you discuss the application of more than one model?



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