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Nervousness during exams is a problem for many students, especially when faced with the task of writing multiple full length essays under a time limit. However, it is definitely possible to evade those pesky exam nerves through these practical solutions, which I personally found useful during my A-Level English Literature exams.
When first encountering unseen extracts and a blank page, it is easy to panic and feel that you suddenly can’t remember any of your revised material. However, it is worth noting that the ‘perfect exam question’ is a rare, even mythical phenomenon, and that you almost definitely remember more than you think. Some people find that highlighting key terms in the question or parts of the extract grounds them when in a flurry of exam nerves, and if you are really struggling with blank mind to match your blank answer booklet, I have found that it helps to get the ball rolling by taking a couple of seconds to jot down a few quick ideas in no particular order. This could mean your initial reaction to the author’s tone, any wider reading that it might remind you of or quick notes about interesting uses of structure. Remember to cross your brief ramblings out thoroughly though, and to write a more structured plan before you begin your essay! Find out what works best for you, and breathe.
Planning your essay is crucial to a good exam answer, and it is worth investing a decent amount of time in assembling your ideas and any wider reading/ supportive material. Planning will also help you to calm your nerves and focus your thoughts. Whilst different people have different preferences regarding the level of detail in their essay plans, it is generally a good idea to sequence your ideas into paragraphs, with an introduction, conclusion and 3-5 solid points, with some idea of how these points might ‘flow’ into each other. It is also OK to allow yourself a degree of flexibility regarding your plan: if halfway through writing you feel that the essay would flow better if the points were slightly rearranged or you have additional ideas you want to include, do not allow this to cause you stress. The plan is something you create for yourself as a structural guide, and so long as you keep the time constraints in mind you can feel free to make small amendments.
Getting your introduction out of the way and writing your juicy comparison points can seem difficult when suffering with exam nerves, and it is important to not spend too long on this part of your essay. Luckily, there are ways to make your introduction as painless as possible. It certainly is not a good idea to try to memorise sections of your previous essays and attempt to regurgitate them in exam conditions, but there are certain features of essays which are universally useful to begin with. For example, if asked to compare two extracts, you might begin by observing that whilst they are written in different contexts by different authors, they share similarities concerning ‘x’ theme. It also is a good idea to introduce each extract with a very brief, one line synoptic summation, perhaps hinting at the main comparisons you will be making. This way, you can quickly move on to the bulk of your essay with a calmer thought process, having quickly set down a solid introduction.
When writing in exam conditions it is vitally important to stay aware of how much time you have left, and to leave a few minutes for rereading your paper to check for grammar errors or spelling mistakes. By planning in advance how long you need to spend on each question or paragraph of your essay you can avoid nasty surprises and stay calmer throughout your exam.
One of the best ways to avoid nervousness before or during an exam is to practise planning and writing responses to past papers. Writing your responses under exam conditions is certainly a good idea if you are worried about exam nerves, and sometimes it helps to examine past papers together with friends to compare approaches and thought processes, or simply to help motivate each other.
Ultimately, everyone responds differently to exam pressure, and thus develops different approaches to dealing with it. I hope that this guide is useful for anyone struggling with exam nerves as I often did and still do, and would be very glad to help nervous students to find a coping strategy which helps with their individual anxieties. Remember that it’s perfectly OK to be nervous before or during an exam, and the important thing is that you don’t let it stand between you and the success that you deserve!see more
When using an industry case study in an exam answer, it is important that you use lots of specific industry terms to demonstrate a high level of subject knowledge. In exam conditions you will not have long to answer your question, so it is also vital that you remain focused in order to include as many terms as possible. Ensure that you are not indulging in a tangent by periodically re-reading the question, and aim to keep your writing as concise as possible.
When structuring your answer you should also try to make it obvious where the examiner should award marks: for example, the following answer is worth 14 marks, and I have described 7 uses of ICT in the car manufacturing industry: MPS, FMS, Sequencing, JIT, QRM, CIM and EPOS.
You should also make your chosen industry case study clear as soon as possible so that you can get straight to impressing the examiner with your detailed subject knowledge! Every example you mention should relate specifically to your case study, and the more detailed in your answer you are the better. I have highlighted the specific terminology used in my answer in bold to demonstrate what the examiner will be looking for.
In today's world, global manufacturing companies must organise and execute operations which span continents, making computer systems a logistic necessity, as well as vitally important in maintaining customer satisfaction and quality control. There is a wide variety of systems utilised by manufacturers to meet consumer demands, and each system must function in perfect synchronisation with the next to achieve maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness. To demonstrate the value of information technologies, I shall be using the car manufacturing industry as a case study.
In order to successfully manage the thousands of variables and processes which culminate in the mass production of finished cars, car manufacturing companies use an MPS (Master Production Schedule): a massive, detailed computerised plan which lists the necessary processes for each individual component. The MPS is also a business plan, including every cost-related detail, whether this means the machinery, wages or engine components, allowing for flexibility and foresight. In conjunction with this, the physical machinery used in the factories is often an example of an FMS (Flexible Manufacturing System), which is ideally suited to mass car production because the factory machines can be slightly altered upon the release of a new car model, thus avoiding the expense of replacing the entire factory floor. An FMS could involve press formers, in which case the die is simply replaced, or CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) punches, lathes or plasma cutters, in which case the data input can simply be updated. CNC plasma cutting is especially popular in car manufacturing, as alloys can be cut quickly and precisely with a stream of ionised gas which vaporises the metal.
The organisation of the various processes required is calculated through Sequencing: this means that the correct components are co-ordinated to arrive at specific times in their designated work cells. This system is essential for an efficient assembly line, and frequently involves computer-assisted tracks and robots. In terms of transit to the factory, Telematics is a recent but invaluable development: this is a system of tracking components to ensure a punctual arrival. Telematics is also available to customers, thus increasing satisfaction and attracting new customers with the promise of convenience.
However, in the car manufacturing industry it is not only important to punctually meet deadlines, but also to avoid meeting them with too much time to spare: the components and casings necessary to car manufacturing are frequently bulky and storing material which arrives before it is required is expensive. Thus, many factories use the JIT system: this is an ICT dependent system which means that the required part arrives just in time for assembly, as the various programmes electronically give the supplier advance warning of the quantity of desired product and exactly when it should arrive. Taking this one step further, more expensive, bespoke cars are often manufactured using QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing), a system wherein there is no existing stock, and thus no storage costs for materials, costs or final products, and each car is made to order. Furthermore, this allows the consumer to customise the design of the finished product, for example special wheels or a particular paint finish. QRM is an innovation responding to the growing popularity of online shopping: consumers now expect to be able to make customisations online, with no necessity to see a product beforehand.
CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) also enables direct communication between manufacturers and consumers, allowing stakeholders to become involved in the development of a product, with access to the MPS, Telematics and the results of any CAD (Computer-Aided Design) or Virtual Reality Modelling which may have been used in the design process. The available information could include horsepower testing simulations, digital renderings of the dashboard design, and safety test simulations, which are particularly popular in the car manufacturing industry due to the expense associated with smashing finished cars. This constant communication improves customer satisfaction and the reputation of the company, thus attracting more stakeholders.
The final system to be utilised is the EPOS (Electronic Point-Of-Sale), and involves the usage of bar codes and data communication tags to control stocks: this is not only used in the sale of the finished product, wherein it is becoming increasingly common to record information so as to track customers’ purchasing habits, but also in conjunction with QRM and JIT to control the restocking of materials and components. EPOS means that recalling faulty products is a more efficient process, and that the necessity of human intervention is reduced or even eliminated, leaving less chance of human error.
There is absolutely no doubt that these systems will continue to develop as the car manufacturing industry continues to evolve and improve, and they have become essential to industries across the globe, assisting manufacture, marketing, communication, supply, safety and customer satisfaction, whilst also helping to increase production and profit margins.see more