Have you wondered why some students excel in exams and others don’t? Does it bother you that after studying and preparing very well for an exam, you still get unsatisfactory results? Well, I could just tell you frankly that studying very well for an exam and knowing the course are not just enough to guarantee your peak success in exams!
Examination is an institution of its own that you need to understand if you intend to smile home with the best grades. Like I have noted in my all-time academic success book, ”the first step towards answering any exam question is to have a proper understanding of that question”. This is where your failure or success begins!
I’ve also found out that the students who usually make the best results are not always the ones who studied so well (although it is the basic pre-requisite) or those that are well known in class because of their intelligence and contributions during lecture classes. After carefully looking into this matter, I concluded that our success in exams is less dependent on our intelligence than on our smartness. Those who excel in exams are those smart students who have mastered examination principles and nuggets.
I have articulated the basic, essential and indispensable of those nuggets and I want to share just six, plus one, of them with you. Is that not generosity? Decide it yourself…
1. Have you heard? Exam has a mood for it. Everything on earth has a mood for it. Why do people say sometimes: ”I am not in the mood for this or that”? No matter how hard you try, if you are not in the mood, you are done with! Examination is not an exception: it has a mood too! It is the calm and relaxed mood. The other mood for it is the happy mood. When you’re in these mood, they will make you most effective in your writing. Because: i. A well relaxed mind will always produce goods results. It takes a sound mind to produce sound results. ii. When you’re happy before performing any task, especially mental tasks, it sets the mind on its most effective state to function well. Do you do things easily when you’re angry? I doubt! What about when you are happy? You can always counter it by programming your mind to become elated and happy. Watch it, anytime you’re happy, you can easily do anything you set out your heart to do. It works wonders. For this I say: become cheerful and happy and your results will follow suit. This is because when you become cheerful and happy, it excites the brains cells and makes them function more effectually than they would when you are moody. When you are angry or depressed, it affects the functionality of your brain cells too. That’s how it works. So make sure you are in the right mood.
2. Build your self-confidence. Alot of students have compromised their stand in the exam hall, only to regret it later when they go back to check their notes after the exam. I always advise my to stand for what they know and not to let anyone confuse or convince them either way. Believe in yourself and in what you have studied. This is why you have to ensure that you study very well before the exam.
Again, never entertain doubts about your ability to excel in the exam. Whenever you begin to give yourself the impression that you have not studied enough for a particular exam, you open the door to nervousness or what we popularly call ‘exam tension’. Even if you only studied two or three topics, believe you can excel, and work with that mindset. It is expedient for your success in exams. I’ve found out that some students fail their exams even before they enter the exam hall, owing to negative thoughts and bad impressions about that particular exam. Most times it is out of false knowledge! You have to guard against all such.
3. Do a general survey of the questions to know their scope and limit. From this investigation, you’ll know the ones to answer well. Always set out answering the ones you know best! This is one of the GREATEST EXAM SECRETS I’ve ever known and practised! Like they say, first impression matters most. Even if you don’t do well in the last one or two questions, you must have given the examiner a good impression of yourself from the way you answer the initial ones. The question you answer first should be such that will allow you the opportunity to express yourself well and give your examiner the mindset that you know the subject very well. This is what sets the ball in motion for a good rapport between you and your examiner. The way the answer the first and second question will greatly affect the way your examiner will see the other questions.
4. Write extensively. You can always magnify your points about a question till the point it becomes so clear to the examiner that you clearly understand the question. You might know the whole world, but the examiner will only take what you give to him in the answer sheet! You will not enter your mind to know what is there, he will simply take what you give him. For this, you must ensure you impress him so well that he can give you all the marks available for that question. Though you may be marked down if you give a short and brief explanation of that question, you may never be marked down if you write more and more. Rather it will increase your chances of ‘stealing’ all the marks away. When I say write extensively, I mean; say all you know about it. Keep saying it until you’re able to exhaust all the ideas you have on your answer sheet. Try it and see for yourself. Writing extensively is the true mark of geniuses and you can become one if you emulate it!
5. Use the right and appropriate words to convey the message.
In every exam, what you say matters but how you say it matters most! Every discipline has its terminologies. Proceedings, plaintiff, defendant, gavel, writ of summons etc. for Law; elasticity, demand curve, scale of preference, giffen goods, diminishing returns etc. for Economics; and so on. Your choice of words in answering exam questions can either boost your marks or bring it down. You can make a point or STRIKE a point! Always use the right words to drive your points home. These words will show that you’re at home with the subject and convince your examiner that you’re not a novice in the field. It will assure him of the fact that you’re not a stranger and inform him that you understand the ‘common language’. Always use the right words. Words are powerful and effective! Magaret Thatcher says: “it is with words that we rule men”. Make sure you use the words that will extract the greatest mark from your examiner. You might as well need to stress some important points and make them weighty! For this, carefully choose your words…
6. Seek to impress your examiner. Have you realized that, actually, it is your examiner that determines your grades? Think again, your examiner in most cases, is the one who teaches you and so is in the best position to access and evaluate your academic performance. Your ‘A’ comes when you impress your examiner in your answer sheet. You need to understand that you are not writing your exam for the whole world! It is for the examiner to access and rate you. I tell my mentees that although the course may be the same everywhere, the ‘vehicle’ that conveys it differs; and that you can only identify the course true the vehicle. Since it is your examiner that taught you and is about to evaluate you, it would be wise to answer your questions according to his viewpoint. What I emphasize here is that when you write according to your examiner’s point of view, you stand a better chance…
Can’t go any further on this. I hope you read between the lines and grab the message. I call it the ‘A’ Secret. It was discussed extensively in my book: UNLEASHING THE GENIUS INSIDE.
7. Study extensively. I purposely chose to list this as the last. And it is that ‘one’ I told you about earlier. The truth is that it is the first and the most important exam nugget. It is the first thing you must ensure before you can think of others. In fact, research has proven that students who excel academically are those that study extensively. Do you think I have contradicted what I said earlier? Check it very well and you will find out that it is as true as the breath you breathe; except that, like the breath, it may not be seen or touched; but it is still there, indispensable and essential for living!
From experience, I’ve come to realize that most students study because of exams and thus only study during exam periods. That’s why they usually fail! The average student in our society sees studying as something for a particular period – the exam period. This will make them not to study or better still, procrastinate it till exams approach. This will then force them to gamble academically by studying some and leaving others out because of the shortness of time. This is the hidden cause of your failure and poor performance. But you can surely avoid this if you can start studying once the term or semester begins. To study extensively is the first academic commandment! Nothing else can suffice.
***Do you think there are some nuggets I left out that could actually be profitable to the student in writing exams; which particular nugget touches you most and why? Put them down in the comment box below…
P.S: Yours sincerely is the major retailer of those essential tips that you need to be the best academically! I could do so much more for you if you don’t mind visiting ”MY SERVICES” by simply clicking the ‘menu’ button at the top. I will be waiting until then…
Yours truly motivational,
The Academic Coach.