Tip 8: Finally!

A276 – Learning Latin – Exam Technique – Tip 08




With just days left to go you’ve time to have a crack at just one more practice past paper under exam conditions. Do it one day, go over it the next, and then give yourself at least a day’s break before exam day itself.

All that’s left to do at this stage is to clear your plate for that very day; and the day before, too, if you possibly can. Make sure there’s food in, or that you’ve a ready meal or two set aside, or a takeaway planned. Anything and everything that’s ordinarily day-to-day and hasn’t been done when you wake up on the morning of the day before the exam – ignore it! It can wait until after. Or, if it’s absolutely unavoidable, get it done and out the way a couple of days early. Foist as much as you can onto (un)willing friends, family and neighbours as you possibly can.

On the day before the exam itself prioritise your own ‘readiness’ for the big event the following day. Eat well, and slowly, at your regular meal times. Stay well hydrated. Take some time out during the day to empty your mind, however works best for you: go for a run, take the dog for a walk, listen to some music, meditate. Do that at three or four points during the day, nicely interspersed between meal times. In the evening, leave yourself time to relax, have a bath, watch a movie and read yourself to sleep (not anything study-related; something easy-going).

Set an alarm to get you up early enough to take it slowly on the day of the exam. Have everything ready the night before; not just what you need to take with you for the exam; set out your breakfast bits and pieces ready, too. Again, eat well, eat slowly, stay hydrated. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam venue. Think, and plan, how best to get there. Don’t drive if the journey’s going to be stressful behind the wheel. Get someone to give you a lift, or take public transport, or walk. Turn up early. Have a walk around the neighbourhood to settle your nerves. Have a cuppa somewhere close by. Browse a few shops. Nip to the loo as the time for the exam to start gets closer.

Give yourself time at the venue to find the room, find your place, get yourself settled in your seat, and take a few minutes just to acclimatise yourself to the surroundings and ease yourself into exam mode. Ask the OU staff about anything you need to at that point: where the loos are, what you should do with your bag, if you could have some spare paper… whatever you think of – just ask. It’s what they’re there for.

Try to enjoy the exam! It’s your chance to show off as much as you can of what you do know. It’s not meant to trip you up on everything you don’t know. Use the time well. Don’t leave early. Stay until the end. Even if you ‘freeze’ and feel you’ve done all you can and won’t achieve any more. Go over everything and add to, correct, or expand upon what’s there. Don’t forget about marking up and annotating the question paper. You do have to hand this in, too; and the examiner will look at it. Similarly, do set your answer papers out well, as you have practiced doing. It really does raise the marker’s spirits to see how someone has approached the paper methodically and studiously.

Lastly, if you feel like it – and if you have time – jot down a sentence or two summarising your experience of the exam and/or thanking the examiner for marking your script. It’s a small point but its heartening for them given that they never actually get to meet the students whose work they’re assessing.

And when it’s all over – go celebrate! That’s it. You’ve done it. Yay! Congratulate yourself. It’s an intensive course and you’ve achieved a huge amount whilst studying it. Well done you!! 😉


Steven Havelin (03.05.18)