How can I best prepare for my exam?

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While there is no formula that can guarantee good results, there are some preparation strategies that may help one improve his/her odds for exam success:

1) Re-read the text and your own class notes and pay special attention to important scenes - this is perhaps the most important form of preparation, as it refreshes the content of the whole piece, thus allowing one to apply contextual knowledge of the whole text in his/her essay, and it helps with remembering more complex vocabulary characteristic of the writer.

2) If any new interpretation ideas come to mind while re-reading, run them by your teacher - this is important, as experimenting with new ideas in the exam may be quite risky. One's teacher would have a better idea of what the examiners may be looking for and therefore could help the student decide whether his/her new point would be a good time investment in the exam.

3) Read analyses and criticisms of the piece as well as of the author's other works - while background knowledge should not be the main concern of the student during the exam (as it is a lot more important for him/her to focus on the provided passage), it is a necessary feature if one wants to achieve really high marks.

4) Write as many essays on different topics as possible - Past papers are crucial for exam preparation because they make the writing process more automatic which helps deal with stress during the exam.

5) Looking at marking schemes can be helpful in trying to identify key elements that examiners are likely to be looking for. However, for literature, trying to predict the criteria is very difficult, and for that reason the student should not allocate too much time to it.

Veleka G. Mentoring -Personal Statements- tutor, A Level English Lite...

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