Full Disclosure
June 2, 2006
Examination tips and study guide

I was often told during my days as a student that the “Heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they whilst their companions slept were upward toiling through the night.” I have been at school long enough to realize the truth in that statement, that only hard work would ensure success.

Some of our students have already begun their exams, and today, thousands of our children will be sitting our local Common Entrance Examination. Other students taking external exams are still in the process of preparing, or would have recently begun. At this point your goals should be certain and this is not merely to pass your exams, but more importantly to obtain good grades. Staying focused is critical at this point.{{more}}

If you are to be successful, your trust in God is extremely important. This is in no way an attempt to encourage you to pray only at exam times as many conveniently do, but you must ensure that your have a deep-seated trust in God’s power for his assistance. The role of the church is very apparent in this regard, to ensure that through the fervent prayers of the Saints, that a renewed confidence is placed in the hearts of all our students.

Examination day

Being late for an examination is inexcusable. I have heard of stories where persons have even forgotten the day, or for some reason got the days mixed up. The most common error is for one to turn up in the afternoon for an exam that was scheduled for the morning. By now, you should be totally familiar with your timetable and have set out a study time table which runs right up to the day before the exam.

Some persons frequently ask the question whether they should be up studying the night before the exams. The answer to this in my humble opinion is that whether you study up to the night before the exam is dependant on your level of preparation throughout the school year. You must be honest with yourself, and if you think that a few extra hours before the exams will help you, then you know best.

What you must be mindful of however is that lack of sleep on the night before an exam can reduce your ability to concentrate and one’s alertness the next day. This in turn can lead to an extremely sluggish performance. In the event that an exam is in the afternoon however, your body may have enough time to recover, but the long and short of it is that you must know your body very well.

This ties in with the question as to whether I should be walking to the doors of the exam with my notes, and take that last five minute peep. Again, at this very crucial moment, you must do what makes you most comfortable.

I have revisited a topic a few moments before an examination, and that in fact was the very question which turned up on the exam. This is not to say that my score on that question was solely because I looked at the notes at the last minute, since some may have studied the same topic in great detail previously and needed not to take that last minute peep.

I always like to turn up to an examination room at least twenty minutes before the examination begins. This ensures that the unexpected rain, the punctured tyre, and the many other uncertainties do not upset the calmness and extra confidence I attempt to create.

Further, during the exam preparation period, it is important to establish good eating habits. Your body needs energy to perform. The exam period is not the time for experimentation with new foods or eating habits. You should not try eggs on the morning of an exam if you are not accustomed to eating eggs. Eat foods that you are accustomed to eating which do not cause any sort of disruptions to your circadian rhythm.

Many persons fail exams because of poor exam technique. This is as important as the very courses you take. You can be the most studious or ardent student and fail your exams if you have a poor study plan, turn up late for the exam, or simply ate an upsetting meal. You must at all times remember that at the end of the day only proper preparation prevents poor performance.

Preparation does not only involve a mere cursory reading of the course objectives, but entails a critical analysis of each aspect of the course. If your preparation is thorough, regardless of how the examination questions are formatted, your responses will be very analytical and not simply a regurgitation of the teacher’s notes. The use of study aids, whatever format they may take, past paper reviews, and group study, if you are so inclined, have all proven to be beneficial to varying degrees.

I wish all our nation’s students a successful examination period. Next week’s article will be the first in a series focusing on the Law as it relates to Sexual Harassment at the workplace.