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How to get higher marks in exams
Have you got an important test coming up that you really want to ace? Do you generally want to improve your grades? There are a number of tricks and practices which can significantly improve your chances of scoring high on a test. This article will help you in studying, analysing and solving exam questions, so read on!
1. Absorbing knowledge efficiently
1.1 Pay attention in your classes and concentrate. The best thing you can do to raise your test scores is to pay attention when you’re supposed to be learning the material: in class! Letting your mind wander or not showing up at all are both likely to make you miss out on key information that will later appear on tests.
1.2 Take good notes. This is important if you want to have an easier time studying later. Not only will writing the information down as you learn it help you in absorbing the information and paying attention, but you’ll have a reference for when you go to study later.
1.3 Do your homework. Homework, such as assignments and at-home reading are where you will find the rest of the information that will be on tests, so doing this homework is important. Schedule time and set aside a quiet place just for homework to help beat the procrastination blues.
1.4 Use mnemonics and other tricks. Various memory tricks really can be useful for remembering certain things like numbers, categories, and lists. Just make sure that you learn them correctly and don’t mix them up!
• Mnemonics are phrases which can help you remember the order of certain things. For example, “Katy Perry Came Over for Great Songs” is a great way to remember the biological classifications (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).
• Another memory trick is if you have to remember a string of numbers. Instead of trying to remember 2537610925, for example, break it up like a phone number: 253-761-0925. You can break up dates this way too. 14 Oct 1066 (the Battle of Hastings) can become a locker combination: 14-10-66.
1.5 Do practice tests. Ask your teacher or go online and print a few practice tests. Taking a practice test will help you figure out how much information you actually know vs how much information you think you know. Knowing your weak spots before a test is crucial!
2. Studying like a pro
2.1 Study frequently. Studying hard for only a few hours the night before the test isn’t going to help ensure perfect scores. If you really want to ace those exams, study old and new material every day, or at least several times a week. This will make test-taking a breeze.
• Take study breaks. When you study, make sure you take a 5-10 minute break after every 30 minutes of study. This will help keep your brain from getting overloaded and give it more time to absorb the information.
• On study breaks, try not to fill your brain with more information, even if that information is more about your favourite celebrity’s latest concert rather than Winston Churchill’s foreign policy.
2.2 Study according to your learning style. You may know that different people have different learning styles. Some people are visual learners, some people prefer sound, some need physical motion, and so on. Know how you learn best and work that into how you study.
• For example, if you learn better by physically doing things, try walking around while you study. If you learn better with sounds associated with the information, listen to music while you study. If you’re a visual learner, make a chart of the information you have to know.
2.3 Take advantage of sense memory. Your brain is pretty good at associating smells or sounds with ideas or memories. You should take advantage of this! While you’re studying, wear some unusual cologne or perfume (with a smell you don’t usually encounter) and then expose yourself to that smell again right before or during a test.
2.4 Listen to music . Your teacher probably won’t let you have headphones during a test, but you should at least listen to music, specifically classical music, right before taking a test. Studies have proven that exposure to certain types of music right before rigorous mental activity can really help, by waking up your brain and increasing your awareness.
3. Preparing your body
3.1 Eat right. The most important thing is to eat, full stop. Being hungry during a test will distract you and make you tired. Don’t eat too soon before a test though, as some foods can make you tired. Instead, make sure you get a meal filled with lean protein before you have to take a test.
• Eating healthy will generally boost brain performance too, so make sure you’re always eating a healthy diet to help you learn all through school.
3.2 Sleep well. If you don’t sleep you won’t be able to focus when the pressure’s on! Make sure to go to bed early the night before a test, rather than staying up all night to study. Your brain won’t be able to hold on to all that crammed information anyway.
3.3 Have all the necessary supplies. Go to your test with all of the calculators, pens, pencils, blank paper, and other supplies you might need. Not having these things could mean you’ll have a much harder time!
3.4 Drink lots of water. Getting dehydrated during a test can be distracting and reduce your ability to think clearly. Stay hydrated before your test and bring a bottle of water with you to the test as well.
3.5 Don’t do anything different. If you aren’t used to drinking coffee, now is a bad time to start. Try not to do anything different in your basic routine the day of or the night before the test. This can really throw you off.
4. Acing the test
4.1 Write important things down first. As soon as the test starts, write down all formulas or other important information on some scratch paper before you start going through the questions. This will help keep you from blanking when you need that information later.
4.2 Do the problems you know first. Always do the fast, easy problems to which you know the answer first. This will help make sure that you get as much of the test done as possible. If you get stuck, just move on to the next problem that you can answer quickly.
4.3 Cross out the wrong answers. Once you’ve answered the questions you know, move on to the ones you’re not sure about. When you’re dealing with multiple choice questions, eliminating answers that you know are impossible or silly will help you better decide between the possible options.
4.4 Look for clues in the other questions. Sometimes the answer to a question can be contained within or hinted at in another question on the test. Look at other answers or questions to help jog your memory.
4.5 Never leave questions blank. Unless you’re docked for incorrect answers, never just leave a question blank. Especially if it’s multiple choice; you’ll at least have a 25% chance of getting the right answer.
• As mentioned above, this is where eliminating wrong answers will come in handy.
4.6 Pace yourself. This is important! Always keep track of how much time you have and try to use your time wisely. You can always go back to check or improve your answers later!
5. More study tips:
• Focus. When studying for your exam, be somewhere where there are no distractions. Also, make sure you have eaten and have had plenty of sleep, otherwise you could become tired and unfocused easily. Have no distracting things around you.
• Get rid of any unnecessary ‘time wasting mechanisms’ while studying. This includes TV, computer (only if you need Internet access), mobile phones, tablet, or even your siblings!
• Studying while containing fear inside yourself is a waste. Get rid of fear and any other possible bad feelings before studying.
• A good timetable will help you. You may organize it in such a way that a long/hard subject takes more space than a short/easy subject. Remember, however, that all subjects should be studied.
• Make notes while studying. Write a synopsis for your subject if you are studying it for the first time/ in the beginning of the school year. This will help you in the future examinations by allowing you to remember the contents of your subjects.
• Make a list of all the things you need to do to study for each subject, and how long you think it will take you. Use this information to make up a study timetable. Be certain that you have given yourself all the time you think you need, plus a little extra per subject, in your study plan. Also make sure your study plan has enough space in it, so if something comes up one day, you can shuffle around your plan so that you don’t lose study time.
• Study in a silent place, so that your mind won’t be distracted from what you’re studying.
• Never fret over lost marks in previous exams and get depressed. Instead, take a deep breath whenever you think about it, be optimistic and study well for upcoming exams. This will help you to do well in your exams.
• There is no shortcut to success. For this reason, you have to make a great deal of effort.
• Studying while having something in mind that you want to do is a waste of time. Do everything you want first then study; as your brain will not beg you to stop studying. However, if you have nothing in mind, then don’t play (for example) before studying – finish your job towards school and then enjoy in the rest of the day.
• Attempt the questions which you find easy first and then the ones that seem harder.
• Study in phases. Each phase should not exceed 40 minutes in time. Take a break after each phase (up to 20 minutes).
• Write clearly and be direct to the point. Don’t write any irrelevant information. Don’t wrap the right answer in a wrong answer. Write in full sentences. Don’t expect the examiner to link your sentences, fill in the space or any other thing. Think that the examiner is your little brother, and you are explaining to him.
• Each subject has a unique way of preparing, studying and answering its questions. Some competitive exams (university exams, for example) need a long and complex preparation, while your school exams may need preparation of one or two weeks.
• When you are preparing for a test or exam- forget about the actual test or an exam and just know that what you are doing exactly.
• Never try to study at the last moment, because it doesn’t work and you will forget everything that you learned in the past 2 hours.
• Make sure you are studying in a place with bright light. It will make you feel fresh.
• Never try to cheat in exam or any type of test.
• Have a good night’s sleep and wake up early in the morning to go over the topic. This helps refresh your mind, helping you consume information easier rather than going it over at night when your mind is tired.
• Don’t use cell phones and social media while studying, even when you are on a break.
• Search the internet for some good tips for studying and jot them down in a notebook or a piece of paper.
• Do not be overconfident. If you are, then your grades will slip. For example, you get 95/100 in you maths exam, and if you think you don’t need to study, your second exam you will get 80/100.
• Never try to cheat. You are very likely to get caught, which would result in a zero. Be confident. Believe in yourself. If you have the attitude to do well, then you will!
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