Preparation for Your Personal Best Science Exams Dr. Tamara O’Connor Student Learning Development Student Counselling Service Trinity College Dublin [email protected]
• Explore a framework for managing exams • Learn about active examination preparation strategies • Rehearse performance at your personal best – exam taking strategies for science & problem solving exams
• Sport – Skills development – Fitness training • Strength • Stamina – Performance rehearsal • Academic performance – Learning new material – Revision • Understanding • Memory – Performance rehearsal
By managing: • Planning = Game Plan • Revision = Fitness training • Practice = Performance Rehearsal • Exam Taking = Performance Event • Performance Anxiety
• Know yourself • Familiarise yourself with exam • What topics to revise?
• Skim all materials to determine what to cover • Overview work to be done & schedule time to do it
• What are your exam concerns? Why?
• What do you do well?
• What could you do better?
• How do you study?
• What strategies do you use to prepare?
• How do you manage your stress?
• Get detailed information about what your exam paper looks like • Identify and revise topics you do not know well • What works for you?
Organise an Active Revision Program • Know your learning styles • Make revision fun – Use revision strategies where you move around – Draw pictures, maps, cartoons, diagrams, etc – Put key points around your walls – Teach “someone” else and ask them key questions (answer the questions yourself) – Listen to tapes or view video/DVD versions of the material • Make exam preparation a social occasion
MCQ Exams recognition & accurate knowledge Short Answer knowledge & understanding key ideas/facts at basic level
• Think vocabulary, words, terms, concepts, systems • Make flash cards & test yourself • Recite for precision • Verbal & visual strategies to check mastery • Create summary sheets, diagrams, charts, tables, mind maps
• Read each question carefully • Circle key words or negatives • Identify modifiers and qualifiers (e.g. only, never, sometimes) • Read all options before making choice • Anticipate answer before looking at options • Check before marking answer
The following are all bones of the skull except: a. Parietal bone b. Temporal bone c. Tarsal bone d. Frontal bone
a. slow down nerve impulses b. provide myelin coating for nerve c. synthesize neurotransmitters d. pick up nerve signals
Go! Conditioned Reflex – Short Answer Practice • Deconstruct the question • Think in own words • Find and use key words • Show what you know: Define key words, concepts, theories • Complete sentences • Stay relevant
Outline the structure of fats OR carbohydrates • Choose question • What are they looking for?
• How would I answer this?
• How would I revise in order to be able to answer this?
• Practice answering this type of question, varying topic
Outline and briefly discuss the three main approaches to understanding and defining stress • Stress – what is it?
• 3 main theories • Compare & contrast – definitions, causes, etc.
• Use active learning strategies • Develop a range of strategies – Compare textbook & notes – Similarities & differences between problem types & solution methods – How apply different situations or data – Try to solve the problem as far as possible
• Practise problem-solving without your notes!
• Work with others • Work problems ‘out of context’
• Practice by anticipating questions • Practice by answering old exam Q • Mark your own answers • Practice – un-timed and timed • Simulate exam conditions
• The key to both intellectual and emotional preparation for exams is simulation • The closer a simulation is to the actual event, the more likely it is that preparation will be effective • A simulation engages both intellectual and emotional responses
• Visit the exam venue and get comfortable in it • Use photos, sketches, etc to bring the exam venue into your study space • Mentally place yourself in the exam venue when you are rehearsing
• Every athlete’s PB is in their mind • Visualisation is a vital part of performance preparation • Only ever visualise performing at your best
Keys to Your Personal Best • Game Planning – Organisation – Learn from the past • Fitness training using active revision strategies • Performance rehearsal using practice and simulation • Emotional