Assessments and exams
All the planned teaching activities in a subject count towards the final grade, but not in the same way for all subjects. Look at the information for the subject on the students’ portal to find out about the assessment method.
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Do you know your baseline level for dealing with each subject?
Some centers hold exams during the first few days of each academic year. They measure the level of knowledge that is necessary to understand the content of degree programs and, therefore, they address concepts learned during the last two years of high school. Their objective is to identify your level in the knowledge areas on which the different subjects are based. They also help you identify any knowledge gaps that should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
• Create your own calendar.
• Once the exams have started, the most logical method is to study the subject of the exam that is nearest. Don’t worry about the others. However, sometimes it’s a good idea to spend the last hour of the day on the subject in which you are least confident at that moment.
• Use the final three weeks before the exams to prepare for the last ones. When you get to these exams, you’ll be tired and have less time.
• Gather previous exam papers and familiarize yourself with the structure: type of questions, number of problems, time, etc.
• Find out about the assessment criteria.
How to prepare for a problem-based exam
• The best way of preparing for a problem-based exam is… by solving problems.
• Make sure you fully understand the concepts and formulas involved.
• Select the key problems that were highlighted in class.
• Read the problem and underline the key parts of the wording.
• After each problem, ask yourself what you have learned and what you have gained from it.
• Work on each problem for a limited time, just as you would do in an exam.
What to do the day before the exam
• Avoid hastily rereading every single topic.
• Look over the diagrams or summaries you created, but don’t try to learn them.
• Try to resolve specific exam questions; do a mock test.
• Sleep for seven to eight hours.
• If you’ve studied enough, you won’t forget anything.
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It will help to…
• Choose a peaceful place to study.
• Stick to the planned schedule.
• Keep playing a sport you enjoy, but don’t overdo it.
• Get plenty of sleep.
During the exam
• Don’t arrive too early.
• Listen to the teacher’s instructions.
Read all of the instructions carefully before you start writing.
• Assign time for each question.
• Decide the order in which you’ll answer the questions.
• Start with the questions you know.
• Leave enough time at the end for going over what you’ve written.
• Plan and structure your responses.
• Write clearly and legibly, and avoid crossing anything out. Don’t use abbreviations and don’t write with a pencil. Make sure it is well presented.
• In problem-solving exams, explain clearly and concisely the steps you are taking during the process.
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You might not get the results you were hoping for. If you don’t agree with the grade given or if you failed, you can attend an examination review.
Each teacher will fix a date and a timetable. Find out about it. For the final exams, you’ll have three days following publication of the grades on the Internet.
Before attending the review, try to answer the exam questions at home.
When you attend the review:
• Check that the criteria have been applied.
• This is the moment to compare what you thought you had done with what you actually did.
• Look at where you failed and why (was it caused by a misunderstanding, an error in your problem-solving processes, misreading the text, not studying that part of the subject, etc.?).
• Write down everything you don’t know how to do or did wrong.
• Ask any questions you may have.
• Watch your attitude: good manners, a positive attitude and speaking to your teacher with respect are very important; remember that he or she is more experienced than you and has the authority to pass or fail you in accordance with rules that were previously published on the subject website.
• Try to learn from your mistakes and, if you think it’s appropriate, check whether the teacher could have made an error when marking the paper.