Paul Alexander a journalism student from Dunclug College has written a great article about juggling all the work, pressures and stress of your final weeks of school – All or Nothing.

Controlled Assessments, Exams and Revision

It’s that time of the year again for GCSE and sixth form pupils. The school calendar always gathers pace at this stage of the year. As teachers begin to signal the end of your controlled assessment, they start to get you thinking about exams and revision. With coursework deadlines approaching and exams looming, the New Year always gets off to a busy start. This can impact us as the level of stress increases and the amount of hours in a day seems to decrease.

Controlled assessment is your first hurdle. Regardless of how many subjects you do controlled assessment takes up quite a bit of your time. In a way it’s a good thing, as it helps you to build up marks before you enter your exams. Deadlines are a major part of your coursework. Once a teacher sets a deadline you know the exact date that parts of, or the entire, task need to be done for. The best thing to do is to try and manage your deadlines as much as you can. Set yourself smaller markers and revaluate them regularly. This will give you an idea if you are on course and will help you to manage your workload effectively. When completing controlled assessment the word “standard” is one which is used quite a bit. For some pieces of coursework you may be allowed draft pieces before the real thing. Get the mistakes out of the way in the drafts and be clear on where you’ve gone wrong. Also be aware of what your teachers expect. With this combination you should find final drafts a tad easier.

UntitledOnce you controlled assessment has been submitted for marking there is only one thing standing between you and the summer – exams. Even before your controlled assessment is finished you will be advised to start revising. Now this may seem impossible and it may feel like you’re losing the will to live, but there is a solution. Planning revision, just like planning to meet deadlines, is a helpful way to organise your time. Try to set aside time when you can revise. A revision timetable or schedule is a practical way to help find time. Revision doesn’t have to mean going over a whole subject at one time. Look at each topic you have covered in a certain subject, plan how long it will take you to revise and take a topic one at a time. This way you not overloading your brain or boring yourself to death.

Practising exam techniques is something which you will probably do a lot of in class, but for some subjects you won’t get time to look over every past paper. So when revising, have look at some questions from real exam papers. It might be boring but as much as I hate to admit it…it sort of works. During your exam, managing your time will probably be the biggest challenge. Before your exam you might have a rough idea of how you will split up you time, so it’s important that you stick to it. Try to keep moving yourself along so that you over as much of the exam paper as you can. This should help you pick up as many marks as you can.

Thanks to Paul, who is a Journalism student at Dunclug College for his contribution to Ballymena Today.