This week I wrote my last assessment of my engineering college life. *self five*
Over the past 4 years, I have written several assessments and exams. And after a point, everything begins to look the same to me. I have passed some, aced some (ok maybe one or two) and failed some (ok maybe more than some). I have faced many challenges that I’m sure you can relate to, such as the ‘which chapter is this question from’ conundrum. You know, when you look at a question and know that it is a relevant question to the subject, but not quite sure which chapter it is from.
I have learnt a lot writing assessments and with the end semester exams coming up, I thought I’d impart my wisdom (or lack of) to my fellow juniors.
So, here are 5 of my exam tips. Take it and go.
1. Group study helps.
Studying with a friend (or a group of friends) not only can be a motivation to study, but also makes the process of learning faster! Often your buddy might have a simple explanation for a seemingly difficult concept. We all have that one friend who is in our same wavelength and can explain a complicated calculus concept in ‘our words’ way better than even a Stanford professor! By splitting the workload efficiently amongst your friends, each of you can focus on one topic and then finally collaborate and explain that topic to the rest of the group.
Warning : You might potentially end up wasting all your time.
2. Skip a chapter if needed.
You must be thinking, “Are you crazy?” No, I’m not. Ok maybe I am. But here is the thing. When you are squeezed for time, this is an effective strategy to maximize your chances in the exam. An independent study conducted by one jobless guy found that the likelihood of knowing the answer to a 16 mark question is higher when you know 4 chapters (reasonably) thoroughly and nothing at all in one chapter rather than knowing a few topics in all the chapters. What if all the questions come from the topics you skipped? In simpler words, “Dei 4 units aadhu seriya padi da.”
3. Attempt 2 mark questions properly.
Most professors will agree that when you have answered the first few questions correctly in an exam it creates a good impression on them. Also it gives us the confidence to tackle the tougher 16 mark questions. Normally most of our focus during preparation would be on the 16 mark questions. It makes a lot of sense however, to dedicate a decent amount of time to learn 2 mark questions as they are way easier to learn than the 16 mark questions. Whatever your objective maybe, whether it is to achieve an A or S grade or simply pass, 2 mark questions can go a long way!
4. Do NOT simply fill up the pages.
The general consensus is that the more pages you fill up, the more marks you will get. This is one of the greatest fallacies to ever be told! Most teachers know when you are trying to get away by blabbering. So don’t go on rambling about a simple idea for pages and pages. It is very obvious that you are trying to over compensate for your lack of preparation. On the other hand, using illustrations such as flow charts give the impression that you know what you are talking about (even if you don’t). As far as possible, learn block diagrams, algorithms, flowcharts etc. and use them in your answers. Oh, and presentation matters.
5. Keep smiling.
Exams are just one of the metrics for evaluation. Life has so much more to offer! So, don’t get bogged down because of exams and continue to do everything that you would do on any other day, right from singing in the shower to petting a stray cat.
Be happy and stay positive, it will be over before you know it!
P.S. Taking exam advice from a 7 pointer is subject to arrear risk. Jk.