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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.see more
From my personal experience, the best way to plan an essay is as follows:
1) Write down all the points you can think in relation of the question, separating them into two categories: arguments supporting the argument provided in the question and arguments refuting it
2) Add examples related to those points
3) Choose the most relevant points which you will develop in full paragraphs
4) Connect supporting points to refuting points based on relevance
5) Order your points in a coherent way to prove your point
6) Write your essaysee more
Effective use of graphs is almost guaranteed to bring you extra points in the exam. There are a few things to help you use them well.
1) Use relevant graphs. There is no point, for example, drawing a Demand and Supply graph in a macro-economics essay. Graphs take time so make sure when you draw one it helps you advance your argument.
2) Make the graph big enough (at least 1/3 of the A4 page) for clarity.
3) Label everything clearly.
4) If you have more than one graphs, label the variables with different letters. For example, if you have a graph on the short run aggregate demand and the long run aggregate demand, make sure you don’t label each with simply AD – use SRAD and LRAD or AD1 and AD2, so that when you refer to them in your essay it is clear which graph you are referring to.see more