The title of this article might seem counterintuitive given what you have been told by your teachers, past students or tutors. However, one of the biggest misconception that students have when it comes to doing practice exams is that quantity trumps quality. That is not the case!!
The purpose of practice exams is to not only allow you to apply what you have learnt into questions but also to help you identify what your weaknesses are and this is what you want to address before the REAL exam comes.
You should be doing as many exams as you can, but if you don’t take the time to analyse each exam to see where you went wrong, then there is really no point and you are just wasting your time in doing them.
So, here are my tips when it comes to doing practice exams:
- Do within the specified time – most exams have a time limit on the front page, try to stick to that time and see whether you can finish the entire paper within the specified time. It’s one thing to know all your stuff, but another thing to get that stuff written down on paper within time constraints.
- Take a break before going through solutions – although you may be tempted to correct your exam once you have finished don’t! Take a break and come back later to mark it. Your mind will be much clearer and you will be able to think better.
- Get someone else to mark it – get your friend or tutor or even your teacher (if they have time) to mark your paper. Your end of year Chemistry exam is not going to be marked by you but by someone who doesn’t even know who you are.
- Focus on questions that you got wrong – once your exam has been marked, go through it and find the answers you got wrong and try to understand why you got it wrong. Was it because you forgot to carry the one when adding or did you not understand a particular concept? If after looking at the explanations for the correct answer, and you still don’t know why you got the answer wrong, go and ask for help from your teacher, tutor or friend. It is so important that you understand why you got a question wrong and don’t just pass it off as nothing! You never know the same question (asked in a different context) might appear in the real exam!
- Take care doing exams pre-2017 – a new study design came into effect in a year and so exams pre-2017 will contain questions that won’t be examined. If in doubt check with your teacher and/or tutor.
I hope these tips will help you as you work your way towards the Chemistry Exam.
Remember to ask for help from your teachers or tutors if you need help. They will be more than willing to help you out.
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