Exam season is fast approaching. With your exam preparations (hopefully!) being in full swing, here are some tips for dealing with the upcoming SACE English Literary Studies exam. These tips have been written specifically with the new SACE Literary Studies exam in mind. However, most of these tips are useful for any exam you may be taking this year, especially within English subjects.
Preparing for the Exam
The 2017 English Literary Studies exam is 90 minutes in length. It involves critically reading and responding to one or more short texts. These can take the form of a short story, news article, poetry, visual texts and more. As such, you should put in the time to familiarise yourself with as many types of text as possible. The SACE English Literary Studies website has some sample exam papers which can be a useful place to start with your preparation.
It is important to note that this exam will be completed by hand, though it is moving to an electronic format next year. This means that your study should be done via pen and paper as much as possible. You may not often write by hand and it takes time to build up stamina writing in this way.
This has no doubt been said to you countless times before and is a bit off of a truism, but a regular, sustained study schedule is far more beneficial to your chances of achieving a high exam grade than cramming or studying for a long period of time inconsistently. Studies have consistently shown that shorter, more focused study sessions, with regular breaks, are more productive than longer ones.
Make sure that each study session has a clear purpose. Are there specific quotations, lines of dialogue or literary devices within the text you’re examining? Becoming skilled at identifying and noting these down quickly will be crucial to your exam success. Organising and structuring your study mindfully will not only help you retain information, but it will also go a long way towards alleviating stress about the exam.
Mindset and Approach
Having a positive, resilient mindset is crucial in an exam situation. Timed, pressure situations are always difficult, but there are ways to alleviate stress. A very good way is to practice replicating exam conditions. Your English teacher may do this anyway, but it is good for you to practice this independently as well.
If, during the exam you find yourself confused at a particular question or text, move on to another one! The exam does not have to be done sequentially. Completing part of the exam which you find easier, rather than agonising over a difficult part will help to build confidence and momentum during the exam. Often, doing this will also aid your thinking for the more difficult part of the exam. Remember, any attempt will count for more marks than no attempt at all. The work you put into your preparation now will help prevent exam anxiety on the day.
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