Successfully Sitting Exams

As students, we often complain about the examination system. That is usually because we feel the pressure of an uncertain outcome. But like all systems we need to understand its mechanics in order to make it work for us.

What follows is largely concerned with exams needing written answers, rather than mathematically-based subjects.

Frustrating Examiners

This section applies as much to writing course work as to examination answers

When you consider writing essays, also consider the person who will have to read them. He/she has a psychology. Make it work for you, not against you. Most examiners do their job well and effectively but…

Exam assessors usually have a mountain of scripts to wade through. They like to get through them faster rather than slower, with relative ease rather than difficulty. When they find a script which facilitates the two former objects, they are delighted and their disposition towards the writer soars.

A great frustration is caused by having to ‘.dig’ into the essay to discover whether or not the student has given a correct or acceptable answer. Sometimes this job is very difficult. The examiner has to re and reread the essay to discover what is actually being said. Sometimes an actual decision has to be made by the examiner as to whether a correct answer has, in fact, been given, because the composition is so obtuse.

Some method is needed which will avoid this situation and which will improve the examiner’s disposition towards the writer.

Writing Effectively

Writing effectively in exams is really not that difficult. There is a simple technique which can be used and adopted to virtually every type of question.

The technique is to divide your essay into three (unequal) parts:

1. An introduction

2. An expansion of 1;

3. A conslusion.

Numbers 1 and 3 are quite short and basically say the same thing except in rather different ways.

1. is critical and is a short version of the answer. This lets the examiner know immediately that you know what you are talking about. It require slight differences of emphases depending on the actual wording of the question.

For example, a question which asks something like “What are the factors which influence…” needs an introductory answer which starts something like: “The factors which influence so-and-so are… ” And you mention them in descending order of importance. A question of the type: “Discuss such-and-such…” needs an answer which starts something like: “When discussing such-and-such one needs to take account of…” and then mention the major points which you consider to be important and which you are going to discuss.

There may be other variations in the phrasing of the question, but the approach you adopt needs to be always the same: present the examiner with what is effectively a concise answer to the question. It usually takes no more than a few lines, maybe a dozen at most. He/she will jump up and down in excitement at having found someone who not only knows the answer but who can also actually make it explicit.

2. The expansion of the essay is simply a development to show that whatever you said at 1. is correct or relevant. This takes up most of the essay. Use a new paragraph for every new point. Don’t be afraid to be pedantic. End each of these paragraphs by relating what you have said directly back to the question. e.g. “Hence it can be seen that…” and so forth.

If, during the course of writing your answer, you suddenly remember a really major point which really should have come earlier, just “knit” it in as if this is where you always intended it to go. Thus: “Of course, a further point which needs to be given especially emphasis at this juncture is…” Try and make it seem the most natural place to put it. The examiner may think it better put elsewhere, but he will not usually penalise you for that

3. The conclusion will be little more than a restatement of the introduction – but you do need a conclusion. During the writing of the essay you may have thought of some other points not mentioned in the introduction. If so, be sure to mention them in the conclusion.

Online College Classes Work

You can also get an online degree from top, accredited online colleges and online schools that may not be available in your local area. An online education is also a great option for non-traditional students, the handicapped, people in remote areas, and people with a full-time job or a schedule that doesn’t allow for a traditional education.

Distance education can be delivered in several ways. We will examine two of the many ways education can be delivered via the internet.

One of the most common is through live media. In this type of online classroom, students typically login to a chat room type environment that allows not only for text chat but also live audio chat, similar to many of the popular “instant messaging” programs that are widely used today. The lecture can be heard through the computer speakers or through a set of headphones. The students communicate with the teacher and other students by text chat or simply by talking into a PC microphone. The teacher can also allow students to view him/her in a smaller window on the monitor via a webcam. The lecture can also be recorded and posted to the school website to allow students to listen to the lecture and review the material at a later time according to their schedule, and as many times as necessary.

This type of online class makes it necessary to be at the computer at a scheduled time each day.

One advantage to this type of online college classroom environment is the student receives live instruction with structured classes. It is well known that students working within in a structured setting have a higher probability of success of finishing their degree. An obvious disadvantage would be lack of scheduling flexibility.

Another variation of the online classroom setting involves text messages such as email and message boards. Each class may share a group mailbox or a message board system, which becomes the “electronic classroom”. The instructor generally posts lectures on the topic of study, posts the assignments, and provides discussion questions related to the topic. The student can view lectures, notes from the instructor and other students, and assigned projects. The student can also post messages or questions to the instructor and other students.

One advantage of this system is 24 hour access to course materials and the ability to work at one’s own pace without regard to scheduling. A disadvantage would be lack of direct contact with the instructor.

In both scenarios students are expected to logon to the class site a certain number of days per week. Students also can contact the instructor via e-mail to ask questions or receive answers. When assignments are due, students send them to the instructor online or by email, where they are graded and returned. Students may also have access to their individual performance reports by logging in to a website where that information is posted. Test may also be taken online. Typically, online classes last five to six weeks.

Tricks to Pass Exams

There are ways of doing this and the following can be successfully used by anyone studying for any examinations because exams usually have certain key common elements.

Check Out The Syllabus As an examinee, you have to abide by certain rules and constraints. The time length of the exam, how many question you have to answer, and so forth.

But the examiners also have to abide by certain rules – and they cannot change them (at least not without adequate notice) any more than you can! They have to publish a syllabus for every examination and they can only ask questions on what is contained within that syllabus. Once you know the syllabus, you know where the starting and finishing lines are and how far you have to run

Moreover, all parts of the syllabus are not equal: some parts of it are more equal than others. Some topics will hardly ever be questioned while others will come up every year. Highlight the syllabus using two colours: red, say, for those areas that come up very frequently; green for those which rarely come up. Do this only after a systematic inspection of past exam papers, as the next section will explain.

Then use a third colour to highlight those (hopefully very few) parts of the syllabus which you have really serious difficulty with. Providing these parts are not numerous, and depending on how often they come up, it may be possible to leave them on one side. But do use sense and judgement in doing this!

Whatever You Are Studying, First Study The Exam Papers Studying past examination papers is almost as crucial as studying the subject you have chosen!

Get hold of as many past papers as you can. The more you have the better you will be able to discern any patterns. Draw up a grid on A4 paper. Divide the top horizontally into years – as many as you have past papers for plus one for the year in which you are going to sit the exam Divide the lefthand vertical into as many subject areas as seems appropriate from your inspection of the syllabus and past exam papers. Do this very careful and only after you have become very familiar with the exam topics. Also, make allowance for any coupling of topics because sometimes examiners like to link one topic with another. If you have, say, a dozen past papers and a particular linking has only come up once, you are probably save to forget it. But if it has occurred, say, three or four times it needs to go down.

So now you have large set of cells, each of which relates to a particular year and to a specific topic. Place a cross in each cell for the year in which a given topic has come up. If there is a pattern, and very often there is, you will soon see it. The relative frequency with which the various topic come up will now be easy to see.

It is not that examiners are doing a parallel kind of exercise to determine the structure of the next examination they set. They might well be unaware of the kinds of patterns we are talking about. But examiners do have at least a mental scheduling of the relative importance of particular topics and an impression of what have been chosen recently.

Now use the spare column on the right-hand side, which relates to the year you are going to sit the exam, to mark those subject areas which seem most likely to come up this next time. These are the ones which you need to spend extra time on. The other areas need to be covered as well, but your projections need special care and attention.

Student Loans

All their hardships start and end with money. Being away from parents, they will have to deal with a whole lot of financial issues. Besides the tuition fees, the students will have to make provision for rent, traveling expenses, food, books and entertainment.

These add up to a sizeable figure. The parents, already burdened with their own expenses, cannot be burdened any more. With the finances leading them to the edge, students are hardly able to concentrate on studies. Some may even contemplate suicide; while others may take resort to drug abuse.

A student loan can be a convenient option of sponsoring your studies. Student loans help the students pay off their tuition fees, along with the other living expenses, which includes lodging, books, food and other charges. The amount of loan advanced will depend on the actual requirement and the financial condition of the family.

The search for the student loan must go on simultaneously with the search for an academic course. This ensures that the student knows the amount of loan that he has qualified for. He can thus plan the expenses in accordance with his budget. Besides, some institutions require students to advance tuition fees within a very short notice. Any delays can result in losing opportunity of studying in a preferred institution or university. Prior search for student loan ensures that you do not lose upon an opportunity.

The amount to be repaid includes an interest element combined with the principal. Paying in cash would have ensured that no such extra payments are required. However, by not utilizing ones cash reserves for the educational expenses, you are able to use it for other important expenditures.

However, it is not easy to get student loans. Most lenders find students precarious because they are not in full time employment. Besides, banks have pegged the age limit for getting loans at 22, an age higher than the age of average students, thus disqualifying them from getting loans. Absence of credit history may also act as an impediment in their search for loans. Another reason, wrongly attributed to the age of students, is that while they take loans for educational purposes, the money is actually being squandered.

Nevertheless, there are banks and lenders who accept students as mature customers. They are ready to advance financial help to the students to sort out their finances. All student loan applications are to be routed through Local Education Authority (LEA). However, this may differ if you are undergoing different circumstances, like having dependants, bieng disabled, or engaged in some kind of social work.

Lenders will be ready to offer a better APR if the student joins a part time job. This will give a source of income, and a guarantee to the lender that the repayment will be made on time. Even getting parents to be guarantors to the loan will help getting best deals.

The student is bound to inform the student loans company or the local education authority about any relevant changes that may occur on his/ her account. these include change of name, course, national insurance number, or if the student plans to go abroad, and if the employment status changes from employed to self employed. Failure to inform the authorities about such relevant changes will incur penalties.

The loan is broken into a number of installments for convenient repayment. the repayments will start from the April following the completion of the course, whether or not the student graduates. For students who are employed and their earning is above the minimum level, the employer will deduct the repayment every month from the salary. The self employed people will have to make repayments through self assessment tax returns. Those who are employed abroad will be required to pay directly to the loan provider. Failure to keep up the repayments can lead to penalties.

There are a number of means available to the student nowadays to help them in their pursuit for higher education. It is the accumulation of skills through higher education which gives one a distinct identity. Not taking advantage of them would mean bieng one of the crowd, because there will be some who would grasp the opportunity.