Examination preparation The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!



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Examination preparation

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 1. Take your time and pace yourself. The exam will give you enough time to read and analyse the question. Plan your answer before you write it. Make sure you have understood what it is asking and plan both your answer and your use of time.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 2. Don’t forget the three ‘R’ s. Your aim is to produce an answer which is ‘Right, Relevant and Readable’. If you don’t say what you mean, or mix up your facts, or waffle or produce work that the examiner can’t read, then you will be wasting both time and effort.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 3. Questions are likely to make use of technical terms that appear in the specification. For example:-paticcasamuppada; Madhyamaka and Bodhisattva. Make sure you know them and that you can make the links with your material. You can help yourself by creating your own ‘Glossary of terms’.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 4. Avoid the ‘Here’s one I prepared earlier’ approach to essay writing. If you use it, you will almost certainly be writing an answer to a different question then the one asked. Even if it is only slightly different it will mean that your answer is not directly focused or relevant.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 5. Get your style right. When you are reporting what people think or believe use phrases like ‘according to..’, ‘John Snelling argues..’ or ‘witnesses claim..’. When you are debating, you want words and phrases like ‘therefore’, ‘the evidence suggests’, ‘however’, or ‘but’. The last two are vital. They show you are presenting two sides of an argument.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 6. Check part way through your answer that your timing is on track and that you are still answering the question that was asked. If you start each new paragraph with a key point, then by the end of your essay those first sentences will be a summary of your answer.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 7. Know your ‘experts’ and make sure you can refer to their views or use their arguments in your answer. If you want to comment on the exact words someone has written, then quotes can be useful, but the key to success is being able to understand and explain their ideas.

The Eightfold Path of tips to help you do well!

  • 8. Remember that all the examiner knows about how knowledgeable you are, and how skilled you are in applying information to the question set and in arguing a case, is what you have shown through your answers. Your aim is to impress and the exam is your opportunity to do that.


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