Hello everyone! Welcome back to another blog! I have heard from a few students that school is just about to end for a lot of you. I am guessing that mixed emotions of elation and nostalgia are present; this is exactly how I felt anyway! I know I miss school a lot and look back on some memories at school with great fondness. For anyone who still has some time left at school, make the most out of it! School is something that you will not do twice and so enjoy your last days as much as you can! Speaking of your last days, the exam is fast approaching! I thought as most of you are probably moving towards completing some practice exams that this week would be a great week to look at how you can best complete physics practice exams.
How can I get the most out of my Physics exams?
Throughout my time as both a student and a teacher, I have seen many instances of practice exams not being done effectively. Completing practice exams is a terrific form of revision as it is the best way to simulate the actual exam; however, there are some key aspects that I believe are overlooked when students complete practice exams and I thought I would try and break them down today! Coming into your final revision, I assume that you do not want to be reading a whole bunch of text, so I’ll break things down with some simple dot points!
Type of Practice Exam
Many students ask me which company makes the best exams. Whilst this is a valid question, I think the following points are the most important to consider:
VCAA will be producing your exam, so VCAA exams and questions should be prioritised
Doing VCAA questions over company exams is beneficial as again VCAA questions will be the most similar to the questions that you get on the exam
For variety mix in questions from various companies
Try complete harder questions than you are likely going to see on the exam. Doing questions that are easier is a waste of time!
By now I think that you should be timing the practice exams that you are completing. The reasons for this are as follows:
Timing simulates exam conditions
Time pressure will always be a factor in the exam
Identifying how much faster you need to work can be done through timing
Timing allows for exam technique to be developed
Timing gives you a sense of how long the exam will feel
Timing means that you can sit down and smash out a practice exam in a structured manner
I hope the list above convinces you to time your practice exams! Hopefully, it also gave an indication of some of the things you can look out for when completing a timed practice exam (e.g. establishing your exam technique).
Correcting practice exams is more important than doing the exam itself. This may sound a bit silly; however, corrections are super important for the following reasons:
Identifying mistakes allows you to identify areas of weakness
Examining mistakes exposes you to alternative answers that you may have not thought of
Corrections can increase your understanding of a question or topic. For example, the suggested solutions may include points that you thought you didn’t need to include
Analysis of your mistakes forces you to revise content. You are knocking off two birds with one stone as you are not only correcting your mistakes but also revising different topics
Corrections allow you to improve as you go. The key is to ensure you are not making the same mistake twice!
It is very easy to get sucked into simply doing practice exams for the sake of it and I know that sometimes people prioritise quantity over quality. In my opinion, you should aim for the complete opposite, quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter how many practice exams you do, if you do not correct and understand the mistakes you have made you will not improve your exam performance!
All in all, practice exams are a great source of revision for the final exam. They allow for exam simulation and if done right (with the tips I have mentioned above) they will help boost your performance significantly!
What mindset should I have for Physics this week?
This week I think a good mindset and attitude to take upon is one of enthusiasm. Being enthusiastic about what is to come will keep you in good stead whilst completing revision and will put you in a great position going forward.
Weekly Tips and Tricks
That is all from me for another week! I hope that you have success in completing practice exams and are able to incorporate some of my suggestions. I think at this stage of the term, there is only one tip that I want to pass onto you:
Make sure that you are taking plenty of breaks and doing some activities that you enjoy in amongst your study. In this period of time it is easy to feel like you should always be studying, but having a clear mind is key to good performance! Get outside and have some fun during the week and try and enjoy your study as you go along! Good luck!
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Ashane will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Ashane might answer it live!