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Revision & study tips

To prepare for a test or examinations, we have provided some revision and study tips.

Study space

Your study space will impact on your level of concentration and the quality of your revision.
Following are some tips on how to choose a study space that maximise your study time:

  • Choose a private study space to ensure your study time is free of distractions, and interruptions – hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door if necessary!
  • Your table needs to be large enough for your books, computer and any other resources you will use during your study session.
  • Make sure your chair is comfortable and supportive to avoid backache but not too comfortable that you fall asleep!
  • Make sure you have adequate lighting to see clearly.
  • Make sure the room temperature is comfortable enough for you to concentrate but remember: if the room is too warm you may fall asleep!
  • Prepare your study space with the supplies you will need – pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener, paper, calculator etc.
  • Turn off your mobile phone.
  • Turn the television and stereo off or turn the volume down low (if you must have them on at all!)

Tips on revision

How you perform in the assessment will depend on how well prepared you are.

Following are a few tips on revision techniques that may help you to maximise your study time:

  • Identify your weak areas early and get assistance, if necessary, from friends, tutors or books.
  • Pace your studying over time – do not attempt to revise everything in one study session!
  • Be realistic about how much time you need to revise for each subject. For example, if you are strong in English, but not so strong in Mathematics, spend more time practising Mathematics equations and problems.
  • Try to concentrate on one subject at a time – jumping between Mathematics and Science, for example, may lead to confusion.
  • Try to ‘internalise’ the important ideas, facts, events, processes and theories.
  • Try revising by writing summaries, theories or formulas. Drawing pictures is also an effective way to recall information.
  • Familiarise yourself with the types of questions and revise on the topics given.

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Effective strategies for undertaking tests

Following are a few tips on effective test taking strategies:

  • Listen carefully to all instructions you are given by the supervisor.
  • Read the test instructions on the test paper very carefully.
  • Read all the questions fully and carefully.
  • Once the test starts, look through the test paper to see how much you have to do.
  • Answer the items you find easiest first - if you get stuck on a difficult item early in the test, you may not get to answer items that you know.
  • Plan your time so you have time to review your answers.
  • Take the time to do the best work you can.

Tips for multiple-choice tests

  • Read all the answer choices before selecting one - it is just as likely for the last answer choice to be correct as the first.
  • Make sure you mark your answer against the corresponding question on the answer sheet, especially if you skip a question.
  • You must give one answer only per question.
  • If you do not answer a question, the question will not be marked.
  • Do not change your initial answer unless you are sure another answer choice is correct - more often that not, your first choice is correct.
  • If you give more than one answer, it is automatically incorrect even if one of the answers is the correct answer.
  • If you make a mistake rub it out with your eraser - do not cross out a mistake.
  • No marks will be deducted for incorrect answers.
  • If you don’t know the answer at all, try to eliminate any answers you think are wrong and then make a selection from the remaining options.
  • Answer all questions, even if you have to guess.

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Tips for English written expression task

  • You may be required to describe a situation, construct an argument or express a point of view.
  • Re-read the question and underline the key words so you are clear on what you need to write.
  • Your writing will be judged on how you express yourself, your originality and ideas as well as your content and use of language.
  • Spelling and punctuation will be taken into account as part of the assessment criteria.
  • Plan out a response on draft paper first then produce a coherent and considered response to the topic. (Draft paper is provided in the test session.)
  • Make sure your response directly addresses the question asked.

Test anxiety

Most candidates will feel some anxiety leading up to a test but too much anxiety can interfere with your concentration and ability to retain information.

A little anxiety can be helpful in energising you and motivating you to prepare but anxiety in the test session can affect your performance.

Test anxiety can take many forms. Check the list below for the most common signs:

  • You find it difficult to start studying or become easily distracted while studying.
  • You expect a low mark, no matter how much time you spend preparing.
  • During the test you have physical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, upset stomach, sweaty palms, headache, tension, back stiffness.
  • You experience disorganised thinking, have difficulty remembering information or become easily distracted during the test.

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Test anxiety remedies

To boost concentration during your study time and reduce anxiety during the test session, remember these important points:

  • Prepare yourself – check the date, time and location of the test session and make sure you take all the supplies required.
  • Maintain a positive attitude so you stay motivated during your preparations.
  • See the assessment as an opportunity to demonstrate what you know.
  • Eat well leading up to the test session and eat a light nutritious meal before the test session to assist concentration.
  • Try to get a good sleep the night before the test session.
  • Stay relaxed and positive during the test session and use slow, deep breathing to calm yourself when you’re feeling stressed or nervous.
  • Use positive affirmations to support yourself during the test session, such as “I am calm and confident” or “I can do this.”

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