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 Post subject: Advice on exam technique
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:41 pm
Posts: 87
Hi
Dd preparing for 11+ (VR/NVR) this Autumn. When working through questions she has little trouble and generally gets them all, or almost all, right.

However, as soon as we try to do a paper under timed conditions she panics, has a mini-meltdown and only attempts half of the questions - (not because she's beavering away and running out of time as actually she's really quick when she's calm and focused) - but because she just panics and skips any section where she doesn't like the look of the questions (i.e. the ones she has to think about and apply a technique rather than just being able to see the answer quickly).

I have been very keen not to make too much of a big deal about preparing - but I'm really struggling to think of how best to manage this exam panic.

It seems to me it's not an issue of ability, but of confidence and exam technique. Any words of wisdom / advice would be very gratefully received...


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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Start with some shorter chunks rather than a whole paper? e.g. say "you are aiming to do questions 1 to 10 in x minutes. The beeper will go after x minutes. Draw a line where you got to at that point and carry on?

If she can't do x questions in y minutes, cut down the number of questions and gradually build up.

How is your real thing managed? Some are done in very short chunks where you can't go back to previous sections anyhow. If it is not done like this, when she is a bit happier with being time, get her to circle the questions she doesn't like the look of and make a guess while doing all the others. See how much time is left. Then get her to go back and work through the ones she guessed in the remaining time.

Take a note of the type of questions that make her panic and teach her how to do them more efficiently so that she doesn't panic.

What is your exam, what area? If it's a GL assessment test that's quite straightforward as you can just practice all the different question types ad nauseam, as well as the drill for what to do if a question is taking too long - take a good guess from the most likely answers, circle it and move on?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:41 pm
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Thanks mystery - can't believe I didn't reply sooner after you took the time to write me such a helpful reply!

Sorry about that, I think Dd's panics were getting to me and I couldn't see the wood for the trees.

In the last stages of prep, Dd now happy to do timed papers - prefers to have timer counting up rather than down for some bizarre reason but if works for her than I shan't knock it!

Thanks again
semb


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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Great! Can you tell us anything else that worked to sort the issue. I think my dd will be like this. She is definitely a timer up rather than timer down person too!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Try timing them when they think they don't think they are being timed. If they get through it in reasonable time, tell them after that they had no problems with the timid and that you were secretly timing them. This might help them realise that they can do it in the time and they will panic less.
If they don't manage to do most of it in the time, don't mention it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:18 am 
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For papers that carry one mark per question:

Teach your child to tackle the paper in sections - not necessarily the order in which the questions appear.

He/she should answer FIRST those questions/sections that cover skills/techniques that he/she finds easy, thereby ensuring that marks are secured for these questions and probably at a swift rater.

NEXT he/she should tackle the ones he/she finds the next easiest and so on.

Hopefully this will leave the most time for those questions that he/she finds the most challenging.

When practising train the child to identify the easy/medium/hard questions.

One note of caution - make sure questions that the child highlights (stars etc) the questions he/she has yet to tackle.

I hope this helps


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:40 pm
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Aim to establish an average time for each question - eg 30 questions in one hour means 2 minutes per answer. Earlier questions are often easier so aim to build a time advantage early on.

If you have seen practice papers you will be able to chat about time per question with your child in advance. Knowing the time for each question is of course a rough guide but it helps focus the mind a little bit better.


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