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Exam Tips

  • General Exam Tips
  • How to Write an Exam
  • Exam Tips – Math
  • Exam Tips – Physics
  • Exam Tips – Chemistry
  • Exam Tips – Biology
  • Exam Tips – English
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    General Exam Tips

    So you have an exam approaching? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you study:

    • Make sure you know what will be covered on the test. You don’t want to study the wrong chapters or sections!

    • Don’t leave studying until the last minute! Review a little bit from each section at least a week before the test. The sooner you start to review, the easier the test will be.

    • Focus on the relevant information:

    – Most textbooks do a good job of making the relevant information very obvious. Pay attention to bolded vocabulary words and make sure you understand them.
    – Make sure you can answer the unit and chapter questions. Teachers love to use similar questions on their tests.
    – Most textbooks have a chapter summary of the key concepts. Use this summary, and make sure you understand each concept.

    • Pretend you are the teacher. As you’re studying, imagine that you are the teacher creating the test. Which questions would you ask? Write down possible questions and try to answer them.

    • Make a Study Sheet. Place all the relevant information on a single piece of paper. Writing out the information will help you to remember it. Also, it is easier to study from a single sheet of paper than from various sources.

    • Every subject is different. You can’t study for all subjects in the same way. For example, Math is very different from Social Studies. With Math, you actually have to practice doing questions. With Social Studies, reading and memorizing key dates and people is often enough.

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    How To Write an Exam

    Writing exams is just as important as studying for them, and you can improve your marks by keeping a few things in mind.

    Remember to relax and have at least a few pens and pencils with you.

    A good night’s sleep the night before the exam can make a big difference. Don’t stay up until 3:00AM cramming for a test that is at 9:15AM.

    Multiple Choice Questions

    • Try to come up with an answer before you even look at the choices.

    • Cross off choices that are obviously wrong. You can usually eliminate at least two choices in this way.

    • If you can’t figure out the answer, use your gut instinct (your initial guess).

    Written and Long Answer Questions

    • Never leave anything blank!

    • Even if you can’t figure out the answer, write something. Write down a formula, jot down a sentence, or draw a diagram. Show the teacher that you at least understand something about the question. Every mark counts.

    • Circle or draw a box around your final answer.

    Math Exam Tips

    So, you’re studying for an upcoming Math exam? Here are some tips that might help:

    • Do questions from each section that will be on your test.

    • You cannot learn math by reading about it. You have to actually do the problems!

    • Make a study sheet that contains important formulas that you will have to memorize.

    • Go over all of the assigned homework problems, and then do more. Your teacher assigned certain problems for a reason, and your test will probably have very similar questions on it.

    • If your homework had you doing questions a), c), e) then do questions b), d), f) when you study.

    • Teachers can be lazy, and will often take test questions straight from the text book. The more text book questions you do, the more prepared you will be.

    • Use past exams and midterms as a guide to what will be on your test.

    • If your exam is multiple choice, try to eliminate wrong answers immediately. Often, out of four possible answers, two of them will obviously be wrong.

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    Physics Exam Tips

    Physics exam approaching? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

    Physics is similar to Math in many ways.

    • Do questions from each section that will be on your test.

    • Just like Math, you cannot learn Physics simply by reading about it. You have to actually do the problems!

    • Make a study sheet that contains important formulas that you will have to memorize. Find out from your teacher which formulas will be given to you, and which ones you have to memorize.

    • Go over all of the assignments, quizzes, and tests you had throughout the year. Make sure you can do every question on them. You will surely see some similar questions on your exam.

    • While writing the exam, always write down the given information and what quantity you are trying to find. Use your formulas to figure out how you can use the given information to get to the answer.

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    Chemistry Exam Tips

    So you have a Chemistry exam coming up? Here are a few things to remember:

    • Make sure you understand how to use every table, such as the periodic table, the relative strengths of acids and bases, and the standard reduction potential table. These tables hold a lot of very important information if you know how to use them properly.

    • Make a study sheet that has all of the formulas and basic concepts you will need to know.

    • Ensure you can convert between common units, such as moles, grams, and molar mass.

    • Use past exams and midterms as a guide to what will be on your test. You are very likely to see questions that are extremely similar to what you’ve already done during the year.

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    Biology Exam Tips

    Biology involves a lot of memorization, and should not be crammed for! Study sheets and flash cards can be extremely helpful when studying for Biology exams.

    • Make a detailed study sheet. Use the chapter summaries to list all the important concepts, and review your sheet many times before the exam.

    • Use flash cards for difficult vocabulary words.

    • Use mnemonics to help you remember the order of cycles and hierarchies. For example, to remember the organization of living things (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) you might say “Kings Played Calgary On Friday, Gretzky Scored”.

    • Diagrams and pictures are VERY important in biology. Make sure you can label and identify the parts of the essential diagrams for your course.

    • The sooner you start to review, the easier you will remember everything on the exam, so start studying now!

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    English Exam Tips

    Studying for an English exam can be quite difficult. Most English courses cover a wide variety of material, so it can be tough to focus on the relevant material.

    If you read a text (novel, short story, or play):

    Make sure you can identify the main characters, including the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)

    You should be able to write a summary of the plot, while identifying the five parts:

    1. Exposition
    2. Rising Action
    3. Climax
    4. Falling Action
    5. Denouement

    If you were supposed to read a text, but didn’t:

    Use a site like sparknotes.com to get a basic summary of your text. This should only be done as a last resort if you absolutely do not have time to read the text.

    Be prepared to write a well-organized essay. It’s very important to plan your essay before you start to write it. Follow the basic outline:

    * Introduction – Include a good topic sentence which lists your main points.
    * Body – At least three main points expressed in three separate paragraphs.
    * Conclusion – Summarize and re-state your topic sentence.

    Use flashcards to study any literary terms, vocabulary words, or definitions you have covered in your course.

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    If you’re confused about something while you’re studying, ask somebody for help. We’re here to answer your questions.

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