Exams: The final tips! Part I
So, the day of the exams is just around the corner and I am sure that most of you feel overly stressed, overwhelmed and anxious. At least, this is what is expected of you to be feeling, anyway! However, now is the time to compose yourselves and limit these moments of stress to the minimum. With exams approaching, you need to remain calm, concentrate and follow those last steps that are certain to guide you to success!
No matter which foreign language it is or what level you are in this language, there are certain tasks to complete before the big day that will make you feel more organized and far more prepared.
One week before the exam:
▪ Grammar Revision: Several days before your exam, count down how many grammatical phenomena you are required to know about at your level and split the number into three or four even parts. Assign each part to be studied on a specific day, leaving at least three days before your exam, completely free. Stick to the program that you have planned and make sure that you write any questions that may arise on a post-it note, while you study. Ask every single one of them to your teacher, whether this means total explanation from the scratch or a mere clarification. This revision will undoubtedly give you a considerable boost, as grammar is probably the only part of an exam that has limited – no matter how big or small, yet limited- material to assimilate.
▪ Vocabulary Revision: Unlike grammar, vocabulary is infinite. In any language that you are engaging in, at any level, there is just not enough studying you can do to cover the exam material or to feel secure that you will achieve a fine degree in this part. However, this is not an excuse for not studying whatsoever, and just hoping on your best of luck for that day. Throughout your preparation period, you have been handling books and manuals, specially designed for your exams. That means that the selection and volume of vocabulary they contain should be fairly enough for you to obtain a decent grade at that part of the examination. So, following the same technique, split the total of your vocabulary book into an even number of chapters and stay responsible to have covered this number of words until the day of the exams. Always study your vocabulary last, before going to bed would probably be the best idea, yet do not study vocabulary and then watch TV or surf the Internet, as this is almost certain to eliminate the number of words your brain will retain.
▪ Practice Tests: By now, I am sure that all of you have gone through the necessary number of practice tests, which represent identical simulations of the exam you are preparing for. Some of them you have passed with flying colours and some of them you have dramatically failed at. It is all natural and happens to every student. Even if it is only a few days before your exams, I strongly advise everyone to take more such tests during this last week. Yes, I know that the stress and time-limits accompanying them can be nerve-breaking, nonetheless, the more you expose yourself to this pressure, the more relaxed you are to feel that day. It will simply be one more test!
▪ Weak Points: Each and every one of you has detected which part of the exam, you score the lowest.
If it is composition writing, then sit down and write, write, write! You still have time! Ask your teacher to offer you guidance and model compositions on which you can depend and cultivate your own writing! It is never too late. Personally, I have seen students excel at composition writing simply because they never gave up and saved their last effort for the very end.
If it is the listening part of the exam, which is the nightmare of most students, then the answer is once again the same: Practice! Find a place with quiet and do the listening dedicating all your attention and focus on it. Let it play on and on, it doesn’t matter. It is still practice. In combination with the listening tests provided by books, watch videos, TV shows and listen to music in that language. Expose yourself to the sounds of this language as much as possible. Because if you do that, on the day of the exams you won’t feel like this is the first time you ever listen to this language!
The countdown has already began! Are you working towards your goal?
Stay tuned for Part II of this article with explicit detailed advice for the very day of your exams!