Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Practice Exam P2 - Success comes from continuous improvement
This time back in 2017 when I was in year 12, exactly in your shoes right now, I was given advice from one of my seniors who graduated the year before “Work smart instead of work hard on your practice exams”.
I have not only incorporated this advice into my exam revision but have also passed it on to all of my students in subsequent years. Let me tell you guys, it is this one tip that was the game changer. So let’s go into today’s topic of “How to work smart with your practice exams”
1. Get into that mindset and take things seriously
Last week we talked about how to fill up your knowledge gaps with practice exams. It was also emphasised that it’s alright to take things slowly and pay attention to your weak topics instead of your weak skills.
With a bit over a month to go till the real exam, it is a good time to start brushing up those exam-necessary skills that will get you to the end of the race with victory. What I mean by that is to do your practice exam with THE mindset aka:
Choose a quiet environment and do your exam in one sitting
Do your prac exam with the right time constraints (reading time and writing time)
Allow yourself the help of nothing more than your CAS and summary book.
The key here is discipline and determination. It is definitely not a small task to sit down for 2 hours and grind through your first practice exam but it is extremely important. By doing the above over and over again you are refining your skills in time management, speeding up your thinking process, shaping your attention span to equip yourself best for the upcoming exam.
I still remember the first prac exam I did for Methods - I failed miserably. I didn’t have enough time to complete the whole exam, I made many silly mistakes in my multiple choice section and I wasn’t using my CAS fast enough in the extended response section. I was not happy to say the least. However, if you do find yourself in my position, don’t be discouraged and try again next time!
Keeping that last sentence as an echo in your mind, let’s move into the second message of this blog post!
2. Learn from your mistakes
As the title suggests success comes from continuous improvement, it is CRUCIAL that we learn from the mistakes we make while doing our practice exam. The key is to learn and seek to improve from the last exam we do, not to smash through as many as we could.
How I managed to learn from my past prac exams is to set up an excel spreadsheet to keep a record of my areas of improvement. I started with 3 columns in my spreadsheet “Date, Exam title and Notes to self” and fill up the columns with each exam I completed.
The following is an example of my Methods excel spreadsheet.
How would you maximise your learning from practice exam? I did it by asking for feedback from others and from myself. My practice exams weren’t all marked by one person. I sought different Methods teachers and asked for their feedback and sometimes I even asked a close friend who I trusted to be quite harsh and critical to mark my exam for me (in exchange for a $2 icy pole!!!)
That’s all for this week! I hope you guys find it helpful!
We’ll meet again next week when I will share the story of how I hit the “superwoman” wall hard in year 12. Stay tuned!
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Helen 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 Helen might answer it live!