COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged exams

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Test Taking Skills

onlinecounsellingcollege:

1. Review your performance on previous tests. Note any specific problems you had, and conscientiously work on those.

2. Arrive in plenty of time for the test. Make a note in advance of what you will need and lay those items out the night before the test (pens, erasers, ID etc)

3. Make sure you…

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8 Time Management Tips

1. Admit that multitasking makes you less effective – and don’t do it if the work is important.
2. Know when you work best – and schedule studying, assignments and projects for that part of the day.
3. Do the most important tasks first. For example, if a project is worth a large proportion of your grade, then make sure you spend lots of time on that (whether you like the subject or not.)
4. Check email, facebook, messages, texts etc at set times – such as on the hour. Don’t look at them at other times.
5. Know what works as a reward for you, and reward yourself when you complete a task. But don’t reward yourself until the task is done!
6. Have an organised to-do list, and work through it methodically.
7. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by friends, or unexpected opportunities.
8. Schedule in some leisure as you can’t work all the time.

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Facts on Learning

Did you know that:

1. We only remember about 10% of what we read (textbooks, papers, articles etc)

2. We only retain about 20% of what we hear (lectures, talks, podcasts, conversations etc)

3. We only remember about 30% of what we see (videos, graphs and photographs)

4. We remember about 50% of what we hear and see together (a presentation, demonstration or exhibition)

5. When we’re an active participant in learning, we remember 70% of the material (This includes taking part in a discussion, writing down what you hearing and observing, and actively reflecting on presented material)

6. When you are the teacher or presenter, and have to share your learning with others, you remember close to 90% of what you’ve learned.

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Why do we Procrastinate?

1. Poor work habits. There are some who procrastinate on everything. They are always way behind and never schedule anything. They say they work well under pressure – but they are bad organizers who wait to the last minute before starting on a task. For them it’s only important when it’s due RIGHT NOW.

2. Feeling overwhelmed. When we don’t know where to start, and we don’t know what to do, it’s tempting to do nothing – as that’s so much easier! Also, sometimes work piles up, and we feel it’s all too much. So procrastinating here is a quick form of relief.

3. Aiming for perfection. There are some individuals who are sticklers for details. They can’t miss a thing and all their work has to be perfect. They’re under so much pressure to achieve an ideal standard that it takes them forever to complete a simple task.

4. Wanting to do something else instead. We all have projects that we just don’t want to do. It may be writing a report, or filing in a “stupid” form. We’re avoiding what’s unpleasant as it’s really not much fun. But delaying getting started won’t make it disappear.

Some advice for those who tend to be procrastinators …

· Acknowledge what you are doing; don’t pretend it’s not a problem
· Tell yourself that you don’t have to do it all at once. Make a start on something – that will help to change your feelings.
· Make your focus “getting started”, instead of finishing.
· Break those large assignments down and make a start on something small.
· Don’t beat yourself up. It’s a very common problem. You’re not the only one, and you can change your behaviour!

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How to work smart

1. Make the most of those little slots of time – a free fifteen minutes here and there. You can accomplish a lot in those extra lost minutes.

2. Make your work place comfortable and inviting. For example, have an inspiring bookshelf, light a scented candle, put up a few crazy, fun photographs.

3. Don’t be afraid of criticism as it can help you to learn and grow. Dreading it too much creates anxiety which them prevents you from producing your best.

4. Recognise that we rarely feel happy when we’re working as we often struggle with incompetence, frustration and feeling that we don’t know what to do.

5. Remember all the reasons why it’s worth persevering, and how you’re going to feel when you finally “get there.”

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How to Cope with Test Anxiety

Although it’s normal to feel some anxiety when you’re preparing for, or taking, a test - too much can hamper you from doing well. Below are some tips to help you to cope with this:

1. Learn and apply proven studying techniques so you feel you really know the test material. This should help to improve your confidence and reduce excessive anxiety.

2. Work on staying positive while you’re studying. Think about doing really well, not always struggling, or even failing.

3. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before a test.

4. Don’t forget to eat right before a test either. You need protein to have enough energy to concentrate fully for the length of the test. Avoid junk food as that tends to lead to a high and then a low.

5. Try to calm and relax yourself as you enter the test room. Take a few slow, deep breaths. In your head repeat positive self-statements like “I am well prepared. I’m going to do a good job on this test.”

6. Don’t start to panic if the questions seem too hard. Just skip over the ones you can’t do, and keep reading until you find something you CAN do.

7. Ignore the fact that other students seem to be finishing before you. Take all the time you need and focus on doing your best.

8. Once the test is over, try and forget about it. There’s nothing you can do until your mark is returned to you … and maybe you’ve aced it, or done really well!

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Developing Effective Study Habits

Below are some tips to help you develop the attitudes and habits which lead to success:

1. Take responsibility for yourself, and your failure or success.

2. Understand that you’ll need to priorities the way you use your time and your energy. Make your own decisions, and don’t let your friends dictate what’s important, and how much you should work.

3. Figure out when your most productive work times are, and the types of environments where you work best.

4. Try to understand the material well – don’t just memorize what the textbook says. If possible, try to explain it to a friend.

5. Try something else if revision doesn’t help. Don’t just keep reading the same things again.

6. Then, if you still don’t understand ask for help. It’s not going to magically fall into place.

7. Study with a friend, and share ideas, and test each other on what you’re meant to know.

8. Keep working and revising throughout the term so the material stays fresh and is easy to retrieve.

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Effective Exam Writing Tips

1. Make sure you read and understand the Instructions: This is absolutely crucial. A lot of students are keen to rush ahead and so they quickly skim over the exam instructions. Then, later, they discover that they did it wrong! For example, do you have to do every question on the paper, or do you only have to select a certain number? Is there a penalty for guessing – so is it better not to guess? (For example, because you lose an extra point for each answer you get wrong).
2. Read through the exam and divide up your time accordingly: For example, make a note of the number of questions there are, and notice what the different questions are worth. This isn’t wasted time as reading through the questions will actually start to activate your memory. Then decide which questions will be easy, and which will take more time, and mentally allocate your time accordingly. Also, allow some time at the end to review what you have written, and do some corrections if you think you’ve made an error.
3. Work through each question systematically: Slowly read through the questions, and underline key words. Make sure you check to see if there’s more than one part. Make sure you’ve fully understood what you’re being asked to do then plan what you will do before you start to write things down.
4. Attempt every question: It’s better to do something than nothing at all. You might get a few marks for thinking along the right lines. If you’re running out of time, then resort to bullets points. You’ll cover more by doing that than writing complete sentences.
5. What if your mind goes blank? Take a few, slow deep breaths and try your best not to panic. It’s important not to let your anxiety take over. Take control of your thinking by reassuring yourself that will pass in a moment – and is natural in exams. Repeat true, positive thoughts like “you’ve worked hard and are ready” and listen for your breathing – as it starts to slow.
6. Review what you’ve written and make corrections if they’re needed: Leave some time to go over your answers at the end – but don’t change what you’ve written unless you’re sure it’s wrong. Also, look out for blank spaces, for question you have missed, and turn over the last page – in case there’s something at the end!

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How To Make Yourself Do What You Don’t Want to Do

1. Rather than listening to the voice in your head that is screaming “I hate this; I don’t want to do this” think about why it is a GOOD thing to do.
2. Instead of trying to pretend that you don’t feel this way, accept that you are feeling very blah and negative.
3. Don’t think about results and how well you think you’ll do, as this could raise your feelings of anxiety and fear, just think about “right now” and the first thing you can do.
4. Accept that life is tough, and is full of things that suck – but recognise that doing hard stuff is better in the end. You’ll likely have more choices and freedom, if you do.
5. Just do a little bit for now – then give yourself a proper break – then go back and do some more – and soon you’ll find you’re in the flow.
6. Don’t allow your mind to wander and think of other things. Stay focused for that short time – and then stop, and have fun.

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How to Deal with Procrastination

1. Be honest with yourself and admit that you’re putting off stuff that really needs to be done.

2. Try and figure out why you’re procrastinating. Is it because you don’t like it, it creates anxiety, you don’t understand it, it feels overwhelming, you’re disorganised …?

3. Decide to break the habit of procrastination by deliberately rewarding yourself for doing something you’d rather not do.

4. Make a pact with a friend –where you deliberately and regularly encourage each other, and hold each other accountable.

5.  Sit down and think – in detail – about all the likely consequences of not doing what needs to be done. Be brutally honest, and try and picture what you’re life is going to look like 6 months, a year and five years from now ( if you continue to procrastinate).

6. Decide to break large tasks down into smaller, more achievable tasks, and then tackle these smaller tasks one at a time.

7. Recognise your progress, and affirm and praise yourself for making these changes – and doing things differently, even though it’s hard. 

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Stress and Exams

Students who manage best in exams:

- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends

- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure

- Get plenty of sleep

- Eat sensibly

- Have planned time for study

- Are organised

- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)

Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:

- Irritability

- Tiredness

- Poor concentration

- Poor short term memory

- Recurring worrying thoughts

- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)

- Anxious about little things

- Listlessness

- Prone to bursts of anger and tears

- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood

- Disturbed sleep

- Indigestion, poor appetite.

No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/stressexams.php

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Quick Tips for Good Time Management

1. Create a daily ‘to do’ list.

2. List goals and set priorities.

3. Do ‘A’s’ first (Most important things).

4. Do them now.

5. Ask yourself “What is the best use of my time right now?”

6. Be realistic: New habits take time to develop.

7. Reward yourself for small steps of progress towards your goals each week.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/priorities.php

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