By PETER KAMURI
The examinations season is, again, here with us. With just a few weeks to the start of the national exams for Standard Eight and Form Four candidates, there are flurry of activities in schools as candidates employ all the known tricks to ensure they pass the exams.
However, as candidates do their final preparations for the exams, it is important for them to know that an organised study plan is critical for success. One cannot just fluke and pass in exams.
Effective preparations have various stages — there is the preparation you make before, during and after. For now, what they need to get right is the period before the exams.
Before sitting an exam, it is imperative to ensure you have established the areas that you are supposed to cover. Each subject has a syllabus that outlines the topics to be covered.
Areas of need
For a student or teacher preparing learners for exams to solely and wholly depend on the information in textbooks can be ruinous. At times they do not cover the syllabus adequately or have unnecessary details.
Therefore, it is only the syllabus that can guide one on what is needed and how much of it.
Also, an exam candidate should ensure he or she has enough class and revision notes. At this time, a candidate cannot afford to miss out any notes and due to time constraints; textbooks should be used sparingly and just as reference resources only.
Use of past exam papers for revision also comes in handy. These will help you to know the format of each exam paper.
In addition, they will assist you to test your knowledge and identify areas of weaknesses for make-ups. Of more important are previous papers for exams administered by the Kenyan National Examinations Council to see the trends and formats in questions tested.
As part of revision, identify areas that you have difficulties in — those that are unclear or confusing. With the help of your teacher, see how best you can solve the problem. It is advisable to spend extra time on your weakest areas and consult widely even among classmates.
At this stage, it is important to read to understand and apply what you read as opposed to memorising. The risk of memorising is that during exams, you might blank out and fail to recall important concepts you had learnt.
It is a basic fact that each person has his or her own study habits. However, regardless of the style you use, you need to plan.
Have a schedule and map out how you will go through your revision long before the exam.
For you to have effective study, it is always important to study in a quiet place. Your study area should have all the material you need and be free from interruptions and distractions. The working space should be adequate, besides having a comfortable chair and table.
No study can be rewarding if you have not set for yourself study goals — which should help you to keep track of what you are learning. Indeed, the art of setting goals and meeting them is an important skill for every learner.
Another key factor for a focussed learner is time management. This helps to boost your confidence and reduce any pre-exam stress by avoiding last-minute cramming. Identify the best time for you to study and capture this in a timetable. Do not forget to create time for having fun and relaxation in between study sessions.
Last but not least, learn to work with others in study groups. This will help you to share ideas with others, strengthen your understanding when you teach or explain information and concepts to other group members and also get encouragement from them.
In addition, you can develop interpersonal and communication skills, besides meeting others and making friends.
The writer is a teacher in Naivasha and a publishing editor – [email protected]