COMMON MYTHS ABOUT EXAMS
1. Examiners Want You To Fail
This one just isn't true. Examiners want you to pass. They want everybody to pass. If everybody passes, that's a sign that the module has been a success. So that's what tutors and examiners want. Ideally, I want nobody to fail exams in my modules. I want to feel that everybody has got something good out of the module - and I don't want to have to bother writing a resit paper.
2. Exams Are There To Catch You Out
This isn't true either. An exam at the end of a module is there to check that you've done a reasonable amount of work in the module - that's all. The exam is about what you've done in the module. It's not a trick, or a nasty surprise.
3. You'll Let Everybody Down If You Fail
No you won't. You'll be disappointed, sure. It's likely that your family and your friends might be a bit disappointed for you as well. But that's disappointed for you, not disappointed in you. If you fail an exam, then you'll need to do some work for the resit, that's all. It's not the end of the world.
4. Students Do Worse In Exams Than In Essays
Not true. Some students do worse in exams, yes. But as many students do better in exams than in essays, and most do about the same.
5. It's Harder To Do Good Work In An Exam Than In An Essay
Yes, this one is probably true. But this doesn't mean that you're bound to get a lower mark. Tutors expect different things in exams and in essays. Exam answers are much shorter than essays, for instance. So tutors expect less from you in an exam, and they alter the way they mark in line with this. So it may be harder to do good work in an exam - but it's easier to get a good mark.
6. Exams Cause A Lot Of Stress
Exams cause stress, sure. And stress can be a bad thing, for some people. But stress is also a good thing. Watch Phillips Idowu competing in the triple jump - he gets the crowd to clap in rhythm before he starts his run-up. He's deliberately hyping-up the stress and the drama. It makes him perform better. Most people who perform in some way, like actors, musicians, sportspeople, welcome stress. If you think of doing an exam as a kind of performance, you can learn to work with stress in a positive way. You'll find some material on working with stress later on.
7. You Need To Revise For Weeks Before An Exam
No you don't. You don't need to do massive amounts of revision. But you will gain a lot if you do your revision in an effective way. When it comes to revising, don't work too hard - work smart. You'll find a lot about how to do this later on.