Lecture 39 Final Review Essay

Common Reasons for Failure

Students fail elements of their degree for a number of reasons. The most common issues are not attending lectures, not keeping up with course reading, confusion or lack of understanding of course content, and personal problems that distract students.

How to Avoid Failure Before it Happens

With all of the problems noted above, students can usually avoid failing simply by taking pre-emptive action before the problem spirals out of control. There are several steps to take to ensure that small issues don’t become potential failures.

  • Talk to your Academic Tutor. This is a member of faculty assigned to you at the beginning of your degree programme, who you meet with regularly to discuss your progress. You can contact this person at any time and they can advise you on how to address any challenges you are facing.
  • Don’t wait until problems become large. It is always best to be aware that a small issue can quickly become a crisis if you neglect to address it. For example, if you are struggling to understand the course material one week, you will be unlikely to follow along as the course progresses. It is far better to consult with your lecturer early to avoid falling seriously behind later.
  • File for ‘Extenuating Circumstances’. Most UK universities understand that students will sometimes face unavoidable difficulties due to prolonged sickness, family problems or financial issues. If you experience one of these problems you can file an ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ form, which formally notifies the university about your problem. Your Academic Tutor will sign this form and together you will construct a plan to catch up on any missed coursework or exams, and you will possibly be granted extensions to normal coursework deadlines.

Re-Assessment Opportunities

If the worst happens and you do receive a failing mark, you have several options. First, you need to understand whether you have failed an element of a module, the entire module, or the dissertation.

Failed Module Element

If you’ve failed one piece of coursework or an exam, it may not be necessary to re-submit that element. If your marks for other module elements are high enough that your averaged course mark is 40 or above, you will pass the module overall regardless of the one failure. In other words, if you receive a mark of 35 on an essay that counts for 40% of your module mark, you can still pass the module if you receive an average mark of 45 on the remaining 60% of the module assessment. However, you may wish to re-submit anyway, in order to achieve a higher overall degree average. The opportunities to allow this vary among Universities, so check the regulations at your own institution.

Failed Module

If you fail an entire module you are usually required to re-sit the assessments, either by re-submitting the coursework or, in some cases, by resitting an exam. The form of the assessment will be decided according to the existing module guidelines, university regulations, and the decisions of the lecturer and board of examiners. The resulting mark is usually capped at a bare pass level, which is typically in the 40-50 range.

Failed Dissertation

If you fail a dissertation, you will usually be given an opportunity to re-submit it by an agreed-upon date. As with a module failure, the marks awarded for a re-submitted dissertation will usually be capped at a bare pass level. It is worth noting that a complete failure of a dissertation is rare at UK universities, and typically occurs only if a student has neglected to meet with their supervisor at regular intervals, or neglected to submit drafts in advance of the final submission.

A Note on Plagiarism

Although university regulations usually allow a student to re-sit exams and assessments, as described above, there are special procedures in place in cases of failure due to plagiarism. If a student is found to have copied work from another source or used the ideas of others without citing their sources appropriately, they may receive a failing mark. In serious cases the matter can be referred to a University Ethics Board, that will have the authority to take a range of measures against the student. In many cases, students found guilty of plagiarising will not be provided an opportunity to improve their marks, though they could potentially appeal the decision. In short, don’t do it!

Appeal Procedures

In addition to re-submitting assessment elements, you may have grounds appeal the marks awarded to you. This can happen if your university has neglected to take your Extenuating Circumstances into account, or if you were unfairly disadvantaged in any way. Each university has its own procedures for student academic appeals, and in general it requires a somewhat lengthy process. You must be certain to file the appropriate forms before the deadlines, and fully document the reasons you feel justified in appealing your marks. Your case will be considered by a university exam board, and if you are successful you will be offered options for re-sitting or re-submitting work without restrictions on the potential marks you can earn. Full details of your university’s appeal procedures will be given to you at the start of your degree programme.

While every student hopes to avoid failing, or even coming close to failing, sometimes the unthinkable does happen and a failing mark results. These situations can seem terribly disheartening for students, but it is important to remember that universities do offer second chances for genuinely honest and hard-working students!

References

University of Sheffield, 2013. Resubmission and Re-examination. Available: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/current/resubpg. Last Accessed 10 Apr 2013.

University of Warwick, 2012. Postgraduate Examinations. Available: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/examinations/postgraduate/. Last Accessed 10 Apr 2013.

We all know that the vast majority of successful students get to the top by applying some simple but effective study strategies.

And here’s the key:

Getting ready for your exam efficiently comes from learning how to study smarter, not harder. Trust us. You’ll become more aware of this fact as the years go on and you advance in your education.

As time passes, more and more of your classes will only get tougher, and you’ll end up always having to burn the midnight oil if you haven’t developed the proper study habits.

Here are the top 13 study tips from researchers and scientists that will tell you how to pass any exam with flying colors.

First things first. How do you start your preparation for exam?

Find out what your test will be like

What’s the bottom line?

Start your test preparation by first learning about the test format (multiple choice, listening, essay, etc.) so the individual tasks won’t get you down. Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher.

Although your teacher may not straight away tell you what material you will need for the exam, he or she will definitely give you a list of the relevant topics to review.

If you have the chance, look through the tests from previous years – usually, they are similar in structure and content.

Develop a memory for test

Here is the deal:

It’s nearly impossible to develop memory in a short period, but you can improve your skill at remembering by correcting thoughts and habits. Improvement does not depend on how much you use your memory but how you use it.

So, what you should do?

Develop your memory for the test by making a habit out of paying close attention to the material you wish to remember. Make sure you have a clear image of the face, name, date, or facts you are learning. Make them meaningful by associating them with any material you already know.

Getting a good amount of sleep and eating proper meals are also essential factors for successful memorizing.

While learning, try to obtain as many different kinds of impressions as possible. Do whatever works for you. Some people memorize pictures better, while others memorize sounds better.

Putting together impressions from all the sense organs makes remembering easier as we rely on both sight and hearing.

Try to visualize the information. Draw a diagram or graphic and take notes to get a clear vision of the material.

With a good memory, you will never doubt how to pass any exam, right?

Want to learn even more? Just watch this video:

Try to spend half of your study session just reading. For the next half, actively do something with what you have learned: write new notes, try to find connections, or solve problems.

Study more than what’s just enough to pass your exam. It’s worth it—experiments have proven that 50 percent more studying results in 50 percent more retention.

In fact, in a week’s time, it was found that people who spent more time studying memorized six times more than those who barely covered the material.

Aren’t these great finals week tips?

Don't stick to one study place

Here’s an important trick you might not know:

By changing your environment, you force your brain to recollect the same information in different places. That means that your brain will see that material as more useful and worth keeping.

To maximize your performance, take into consideration the context of your testing environment while studying. It’ll be easier to recall the information during the exam if you learned it in a similar environment.

Organize your study place

Dispose of any clutter you have on your table. Make sure that the light is right, your chair is cozy, and you have enough fresh air.

Before getting started, find what works for you and make your study space as comfortable as possible. For example, some people work better in complete silence, while others prefer having some background music.

Get distractions away

If you really want to study effectively, here is the kicker:

Put aside all of your social networks, mobile apps, and computer games during your study sessions. If you can’t resist the urge to check notifications or reply to messages, search for an app that will block all sources of distractions for a certain period.

Go ahead and devote all your attention to the test!

Divide studying into sessions

Contrary to popular belief, cramming doesn’t work.

In fact, it can cause more harm than help. It’s better to plan everything ahead of time and spread out your study periods for at least one week before the exam. In this way, you will have enough time to develop a deeper understanding of the subject.

For better long-term retention of knowledge, be sure to take regular breaks. Take time to go outside and enjoy nature or to do something that you enjoy.

Divide your studying into sessions of just 20 to 30 minutes, and focus on a single topic during each session. Always try to think of multiple ways to use the same information—that’s one of the most effective study skills.

Set a goal

Set a realistic goal and determine the amount of time you are going to spend studying. Write down all of the steps in a planner.

Each time you plan your study session, set a goal to understand the material thoroughly enough that you could explain it clearly to anyone.

If you can set a goal, why can’t you pass an exam?

Group up with your friends

One of the best ways to study effectively is to cooperate with your friends. Group study is the perfect opportunity to compare class notes and discuss any especially complicated concepts you think will be given in the test.

Group study for the test can be effective if all group members are disciplined and results-oriented. Moreover, you need to meet frequently enough to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.

Some group members may share some tips to pass the exam easier, that you didn’t know yet.

Making up questions for each other and meeting to compare answers is an excellent idea, as well as giving each other timed quizzes to become familiar with working under pressure.

Make sure each member contributes to the group work by having a conversation on this topic on the very first day.

Test yourself

For individual studying, try a study card technique, like flash cards, or download an app to make a quiz of your own.

Use information from the notes you have taken while studying so that the material on the cards is clear to you.

To use flash cards to their highest potential, keep these tips in mind:

Make flashcards with basic definitions and concepts, mix them up, and pick out two to three cards to begin with. After learning the material from these cards, choose one more and go on.

When you have six cards, start dropping one of the original ones and continue until you have learned all of them. Repeat two to three times a day for 15 to 20 minutes, and you are ready to go.

Consider making physical copies of your flashcards so you can carry them around and use at any time.

And now to the test part!

Beat your test anxiety

Wondering how to beat your test anxiety? Here you go:

On the day before the exam, you probably will be feeling sick and anxious, maybe even enough to make you want to run away or murder someone.

Relax—you are not the only one who has a fear of tests. Researchers have examined this question to supply you with ways to get calm enough to recollect the correct answer during test time.

Here’s one of the more surprising tips:

Don’t drink coffee or tea before your test, as caffeine just adds to the stress. As a result, you will probably be too pumped up to focus well on the task at hand.

Try to eat light or stay away from food altogether before the test. This makes sure that your most oxygen-rich blood goes straight to your brain and not your digestive system. It’s better take a walk to get the blood moving than to eat a huge meal.

Find a comfortable outfit that won’t distract you. Also, make sure you have all the pencils, pens, and erasers you will need so you won’t feel nervous over their absence.

Most importantly, be confident about your performance and don’t worry if you feel nervous: you have already done everything you could to get ready.

Don’t let yourself be distracted by other students who seem to be writing non-stop. Concentrate on your own tasks instead, focusing only on how to pass your examination.

Don’t be afraid to take a pause if you need to—just close your eyes and relax with some breathing exercises.

And now let’s look at some tips to pass a test.

Develop the test strategy

There are few main strategies for taking an examination.

Here’s the deal:

Scan the whole test first to get an idea of what concepts you will need. And as a bonus, you may find that the answers to some questions are actually given within other questions.

As you’re scanning, divide the whole test into sections for time management. Try to figure out which parts will take the most or least time, and organize your time accordingly.

Never try to save time by skipping the instructions, as they sometimes contain hints.

Besides, not reading the task instructions can lead to you wasting your time—what if the instructions say “answer one of the following questions” and you waste your time by answering all of them?

Remember that there are two main ways you can approach your test: either by completing your test section by section or by giving answers to the questions you know first and then coming back to the ones you are not certain of. By tackling your test in the second way, you will have more time to recall necessary information.

Always review your answers before you turn in your test to make sure you haven’t forgotten any skipped questions.

However, while looking through your work, don’t second-guess yourself too much—correct the answer only if the mistake is obvious.

And now it is time to use these tips!

Work differently with different questions

You might still be wondering how to take exam successfully. Get the answers for many different test types below:

How to pass a multiple choice exam: While reading the question, try to answer it first without looking at the given answers.

Next, read all of them, dismiss the wrong ones, and examine the distractors (statements that are true but don’t quite answer the question). In the end, you will have one variant—the correct one—left.

How to pass a matching exam: Start from the easy matches so you will have fewer options when it comes to harder ones.

Don’t forget to work both left to right and right to left; that is to say, don’t just look at the definition and try to find an appropriate word, but also look at the words and match them to definitions in your head.

When you have the last few pairs left, don’t just match them randomly to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

How to pass a fill in the blank exam: Try looking around the test questions for hints, like spelling and vocabulary words.

And last but not leasthow to pass anessay exam: First read the instructions carefully to make sure you know what exactly is required. If you are unsure of any details, ask for clarification from the teacher (if possible).

Get to the point from the minute you start writing.

Don’t waste time on style; it’s better to focus your time and effort on supporting each point of your essay with examples and details.

When you are done, reread the text to make sure you answered the specific question.

If, unfortunately, you run out of time before you finish the essay, go ahead and list the points you were going to make in outline style, as you may get some points for them.

Relax and don't worry after the test

Worrying will not change your grade, but it can negatively affect your next one. Instead, put your focus right away on the next exam.

After you get your test back, look through it to find the questions you missed. If the teacher reviews the test in class, get ready to ask questions.

If you disagree with your exam grade, respectfully approach your teacher to get it explained. Remember that what you can learn from your mistakes is often more important than the grade itself.

Now you know how to pass any exam successfully. Go ahead and try these tips out!

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