The Exam Itself

Diane Duguid

As teachers here at Intelligent Learning Solutions we know how stressful and overwhelming exam day can feel, everything you have been studying and revising for has come to this.

Here are some tips on how to successfully take on the exam itself.

Going Into The Exam Hall

It's perfectly normal to feel nervous - in fact that extra adrenaline can give a a boost to your focus and concentration, but, to stop it from taking over, take some deep, slow breaths and oxygenate your brain.

If you are not in allocated seating, go and sit close to the front; next to the Invigilator really does help to keep you focussed, and you're not distracted by how you imagine everyone else is coping.

At Your Desk

Arrange your pens etc exactly as you need - this kind of routine helps to calm you; don't forget some deep breathing. To build up a positive frame of mind, try to create your own 'maths bubble' - mentally plan your approach to the paper and picture yourself successfully answering the questions.

The Exam Starts

Firstly - Only open the page with the Formula List and BRAIN DUMP on it! Things like the Exact Value Triangles (don't forget to put in radians!), converting between degrees & radians, b2 - 4ac = roots, If the Q say dy/dx it means integrate + c, or whatever works for you.

It'll take at most, 5 minutes and it gets your brain into maths gear!

Next - and this is key - you're going to hoover up the easy marks first!

How? By not answering in the order the questions appear.

Scan the first page of questions, annotate if you want, but then choose one question only and ANSWER IT. Do the same for each subsequent page (except perhaps the last one).

They were the easiest (for you) and already, you have gained enough marks to get a Grade D. Now go back over the pages, and do the next easiest questions - 6 more marks and you're sitting at a C.

Repeat, and you're already looking at a B! Because you're choosing the questions you can do, you'll be saving loads of time that you can now spend on bumping up your grade even higher.

Marks & Timing

You're aiming for 1 mark per minute - it's a long time (e.g. SPs when dy/dx = 0 takes 5 secs to get the mark)!

P1 (P2) is worth 55 (65) marks with 75 (90) minutes to gain them, so:

Brain dump = 5 mins; scanning the paper, 5 mins; leaves 65 (80) mins for answering questions.

Getting to a Grade D: 22 (26) marks, probably take you roughly 10 (15) mins.

Boosting to a Grade C: +6 (+7) marks, about 5 – 10 mins more.  

And now you know you’ve passed and you’ll still have about 50 (58) mins left to focus on the extra 6 marks for a B and another 6 (7) marks for the A!

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