We’re now into the 8th week of the 12 Weeks – Study With Me program. We’re drawing closer to exams and this week, we’re getting down to business.
The task for this week is to use past exam questions or questions from previous tests and write as many essays as you can.
Exam questions can reach pretty far into course materials. Because of this you must keep up with the readings and assignments starting from the beginning of your course.
Unlike with multiple choice questions, essay questions require you to focus on your understanding of the key concepts that were presented throughout the class, along with examples that you can easily explain in mind.
Try looking closely at what kind of questions you may be asked and what they will be directing you to do, including what kind of writing style you’ll be asked of. Think about what possible written questions might be on the exam. Outline each of these potential questions so that you can start practice answering them.
Will you likely have to compare/contrast theories? Will you have to prove an argument? What did your instructor put an emphasis on in the class? What were the big ideas?
Do you understand the difference between the words “Discuss”, “Explain” and “Compare and Contrast”. If not ask your teacher, because the examiner expects a different answer to each.
The most successful essay exam takers are prepared for anything reasonable.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when answering and writing essay questions is that you have a limited amount of time and space in which to get across the knowledge that you have acquired and show your ability to use it.
Know that essay exams are not the place to be subtle or vague. Examiners are looking to see that over the course of their teachings you have truly grasped the ideas that have been taught.
In some cases, the examiner would like to know that you have obtained new information from additional research.
Practice as much as you can with the list of potential questions you come up with. Prepare a study sheet for each one, guided by your class notes, textbooks and other course materials. Jot down key issues and come up with a brief outline to serve as an answer guide.
By organizing ahead of time, you can best determine how you would like to present the information. This not only helps you plan a compelling essay, but also helps you remember everything more effectively (which may come into use for other parts of the exam).
And if possible, allow your instructor or teacher to take a look at your essays to determine if you are on the right track.
At the end of this week you should have accomplished;
- Writing multiple essays using the support of your notes and textbooks and other areas of research.
Next week, we’ll look at how you can get a double return on the hard work you did this week. Stay tuned for that.