Tips for National Exam Takers
Exam takers must be feeling super guilty being online at this moment (as you should) but I advise you to read on because I have thought of some tips you might want to remember before and during the exam.
Before the Exam
• Artful Cramming
You should technically have started preparing for your exam at the beginning of the year but don’t panic if you haven’t. With Game of Thrones and Batman Vs Super dangling over our heads, I can sympathize if one can’t focus on something as unimportant as Integrals.
I will shamefully admit that I studied for my 10th grade biology national exam just the night before. But with some artful cramming, it worked. You’ll need a stimulant to stay awake of course. If you are a coffee person, get lots of coffee as well as water because too much coffee can be quite dehydrating which can result in a head ache afterwards. If you are not a coffee person, get yourself some chewing gum and ice-cold water.
If possible, read the entire text book and take down notes in bullets with no more than three words for every bullet. The exam questions are multiple choices so you don’t have to kill time actually memorizing everything but you do have to read everything at least once and taking notes helps you remember associatively.
Cramming is not advised especially for subjects with concept and equations such as mathematics and physics. But if you must cram for these, exercise all the examples in your text book and understand the concept of previous national examinations because the questions always have the same format.
Note: First rule of cramming, and I don’t say this lightly, is believing that you can stay awake all night and read everything and then actually doing so.
• The ones you can’t study for
This mainly refers to the aptitude exam which you can’t technically study for in your text books. They are instead meant to be practiced. So it would be very wise to look at past exams and study those instead.
Note: There is a pattern in these exams. Observe them because the one you will take will not be much different.
• Don’t panic
I write all these tips from experience and trust me when I say the national exams are not as mighty and powerful as they seem and while staying a little nervous is good to keep you motivated to read, straight up panicking is very, very harmful. It is important that you stay calm and stay away from anyone who will make you panic.
On the night before the first exam, go out for dinner or go to church and pray. Do whatever works for you.
Note: Do not take this advice too far like say, alcohol far.
• Make sure you have everything
There is nothing more aggravating than getting into a bad mood before exams and failing on a technicality. There are just three very important things you should absolutely have on the big day. Your ID, Pencils and Money.
The only thing I might have to explain is the money because the others are pretty obvious. Money is important if you take a taxi or for lunch if your exam location is far from home. And money is usually just good for safety.
Note: Other essentials you might need; pencil sharpener, eraser, a watch
• Stay away from the panic
It’s common to discuss, revise and panic with peers on the morning of the exams. I actually think it’s best to avoid people before the exam in general. But I’ll tell you the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.
Pros: you get to pick up on information you may have missed while studying, you get to feel better about yourself if someone else seems to know less, it feels a little less scary to panic with others
Cons: Others might confuse what you’ve already studied and may even give you false info, you’ll start to panic if someone seems to know more than you do.
Note: This should be obvious, know exactly what exams you will have.
During the Exam
• Read the questions and understand, then eliminate
It’s an obvious one. You should always read and understand the question as multiple choice questions are most tricky.
I assume you’re already familiar with the elimination method but I’ll remind you anyways because it’s important. Always eliminate the least likely option in the multiple choices so as to increase your probability of getting the right one.
Note: If you don’t know the answer, your first guess is most likely the correct one. Go with that.
• Use your time effectively
Like I mentioned before, failing on a technicality is very annoying. And misusing time falls into that category. You should keep track of how much time you have left. Your instructor will most likely tell you every now and then but there’s no harm in keeping your own time.
Comb through all the questions first doing the ones you know well. Don’t kill time on the hard ones.
Note: Do the English passages last and read the passage questions before reading the passage so you can know what to look for.
• Attempt all questions
Like I mentioned above, do the easy questions first so you can take more time for the hard ones and try to look at all the questions. Make sure you have an answer filled out for all questions. A guess raises your probability of getting the right answer than not trying at all.
Note: If you draw a blank on a question you weren’t even aware was possible again; your first guess is your best guess.
This doesn’t always happen but on the off chance that your exam hall is located next to one our city’s noisy business establishments, such as metal workshop or video stores, you need to be able to focus on your exams no matter what.
Note: Check your work. Sometimes we read question number 57 and in our agitation, fill out that answer in number 59 of our answer sheet. You’ll need to keep yourself in your head so as not to make these kinds of mistakes.
Besides these, what remain would be the food and the cheating situation. Exam time should in no way be the time you punish yourself with food. Don’t eat so much as to avoid racing your bowels to the rest room and don’t starve yourself either. A healthy breakfast on the morning of the exam is much advised and keep your stomach comfortable.
As the national examination agency had kindly reminded us via mass text message, cheating in exams is not the trait of a patriot. But really, many would tell you that it is a safe bet and has worked a great deal for many and it’s even called it “helping each other” but don’t walk into the exam hall with the confidence of a squirrel. Don’t be waiting on other people’s answers. You could be disappointed or even caught and the victim of a really ugly scenario. Don’t go prepared to cheat. It is not a very safe bet.