Deputy Principal - Learning & Teaching

Helpful hints for exam preparation
Taking exams for the first time can feel like a challenging experience but there are a range of strategies you can use to take the stress out and achieve great results. The key to exam success is actually really simple – organisation and preparation.

Step 1 – Know the exam
Have a clear idea about what skills and content are being covered in the exam. What kinds of questions will you be asked and how will you be expected to reply – multiple choice, short answer or essay length responses?

Step 2 – Organise your information
It is really important that you create study notes for each of your subjects. Go through your exercise book and summarise each topic. Pay close attention to definitions, facts and formulas. Ideally, you will narrow a semester’s worth of content down to two or three pages of notes – much easier to study from than a whole exercise book!

Make a mind map of the key concepts that will be covered in the exam. You can complete these by hand or use software or online tools to make a digital mind map. Add colour and visuals to assist in categorising different types of information.

Use flash cards to memorise key formulas, definitions and facts. Very simply, flashcards are cards with a question, clue or definition on one side and the information you want to memorise on the other. You can click here for one example where you can make online flash cards, also there are many apps that allow you to create these on your phone.

Step 3 – Organise your time
For many people this can be the hardest one to get right! Everyone knows that you can spend too little time preparing for exams but not everyone realises that you can spend too much time as well. It is pointless spending hours on Maths and only ten minutes on English – at some point, you need to stop and move on. Here are some tips to help you do this:

Spend a set amount of time per night on exam revision. 20 minutes of exam study consistently every night should be your goal in Years 8 and 9, rising to an hour each night in Years 10 and 11 – divide this evenly between your subjects and rotate the subjects each night.

Arrange times to study with a partner. Creating study notes and testing each other (use your flashcards!) is a fantastic way to consolidate your understanding.

Start now. A consistent approach is much more effective than cramming hours in every second or third night. The number of hours you spend studying might be the same, but you will remember less if you cram all at once.

Step 4 – Achieve a healthy balance
Find time to relax, exercise, and spend time with your family. Exams do not need to take over your life – follow the strategies above and you will be more than prepared to do your best.

Daniel Buttacavoli
Deputy Principal - Learning & Teaching