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Cheat Sheet

Passing Exams For Dummies (Australian Edition)

From Passing Exams For Dummies by Patrick Sherratt

Are you a senior wanting to get through high school, or a college or university student going for a degree? Perhaps you’re in a life transition and returning to education to up-skill, or you’re about to sit a career exam to improve your chances of a promotion? Achieving academic success is possible, when you know how. This Cheat Sheet gives you tricks to enhance your performance mindset and tips on how to relax before the big day. Once you’ve learned how to master these techniques, take a sneak peek at how to successfully review and rewrite your study notes.

Pass Exams by Enhancing Your Performance Mindset

No matter what subjects you’re studying, whether you’re in high school, in college, at university, or facing vocational or entrance exams, to pass your exams you need to develop your exam performance mindset. Doing this will help you:

  • Develop an attitude of excellence — always aim to achieve your personal best.

  • Decide exactly what your academic goals are.

  • Get clear on your purpose for undertaking the exam. This will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.

  • Undertake an attitude analysis to see if you have any limiting beliefs that may hinder your progress.

  • Maintain positive self-talk, no matter what challenges or difficulties you experience along the way.

Learning to Relax before an Exam

Relaxation improves learning! Don’t stop having fun, and find creative ways to relax as often as you can during the build-up to exams. To master relaxation for an exam:

  • Access alpha state (your brain’s ideal learning state) prior to any review session.

  • Take plenty of breaks — preferably outside.

  • Implement relaxation exercises prior to and during exams.

Reviewing and Rewriting Your Exam Study Notes

When you’re preparing for an exam you need to review your course material and rewrite your study notes. It’s good to remember the Five Rs when you’re in review mode:

  • Release your potential — harness your performance mindset.

  • Relax into alpha state (so that your brain is more receptive to information).

  • Review and rewrite your notes.

  • Remember content using pictures and patterns.

  • Rehearse, for recall and performance during the exam.

You can extract words from notes, documents and books, and use mind mapping to visually outline your topic. You can also organize related information using concept maps and essay-route maps. Here are some keys to reviewing and rewriting your study notes:

  • Set your intent and purpose before each review session.

  • Decide what information to review and what to leave.

  • Use a reading technique to suit the task.

  • Extract key words from large chunks of information.

  • Condense your notes into visual formats.

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