How to Pass an Exam in Flying Colours

I’ve recently written an article for one portal detailing the tips for sitting in any exam. These tips are based entirely on my personal experience of going through an examination, but especially Foreign Language exams. Whether it is a GSCE, an A-Level exam, TOEFL/IELTS or any other international language exam, I am sure my advice will help you pass an exam in flying colours.

An exam is an important and therefore stressful experience but you can cope with it

Whatever exam we have to pass, and no matter how old we are, this is always a stressful experience, especially if the stakes are high. On the day of your exam you are stressed, either bouncing or frustrated, so you need something solid to stand on. Not only did these tips help me in the past, they have been helping my students for the last seven years to achieve excellent results in any exam they had to sit in. You may be surprised but it is not that hard to pass an exam in flying colours!

General Advice

1.A journey to the top mark begins with the first correct answer

If you want to do something well, do well in every aspect of it. Exams, like everything else in life, has got room for improvisation, but the core remains the same: you have to answer each and every question calmly and methodically.

2.If you can’t do it, leave it

“I’m in a block”, “don’t remember anything” etc. is normal. You are overly conscious of how high the stakes are. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths – and move on to another task. Don’t waste time on that which causes panick and insecurity.

3.Take breaks

Listen to yourself. Once you’ve noticed fatigue, put your pen away. Instead of looking at the exam paper, look at the window. Whatever is the season, there will be something nice to see. Especially so if you pass your exam in spring or summer. Breaks + positive thinking = success.

4.Think about yourself

This sounds selfish, but an exam is one’s own business. Every man for himself. If your friend believes it is good to be at her wits’ end before the exam, good for her. You don’t need to help her and wind yourself up. Think about yourself.

5.An exam is you

It is usually thought that an exam checks the knowledge in a discipline. However, it is also a check on our personal qualities. Composure, accuracy, time management are just as important as knowing the difference between Passe Compose and Passe Simple.

6.Be calm!

Dont’ worry about what you cannot change. Strange noises, an unpleasant interlocutor, the wrong kind of weather outside – are all of these really more important that your exam result? These things are beyond your influence. Therefore look into your exam paper and do the tasks.

7.Focus is king

Imagine that you are a racehorse. You’re got blinders on your eyes, and the finishing line somewhere ahead. You can take your blinders off when you did all tasks, checked them, transferred onto the exam paper, submitted it and closed the door behind you. Only then can you breathe out. But while you are in the room, the focus is on the exam.

8.Trust your intuition

There are forces that move in mysterious ways, and whatever you personally think of it, these forces exist and are ready to help. Colloquially we call them the sixth sense, or intuition. So if in the exam you stumble into a question you don’t know, ask these forces to help you. It’s quite likely that you will get a correct answer.

9.Choose your order

The main thing is a good result. Foreign Language exams usually start with Listening Paper, but you are free to choose the order of the papers that follow. Same goes for any other exam. Therefore, if, upon looking through the paper, you notice some very easy tasks, do them first. Accumulate the positives.

10.Think positive

Positive thinking finds opportunities, negative thinking sees problems. For some reason not all recognise this. This year, as you pass your exams, make a point of consciously noticing every positive aspect or moment. You’ll see for youself: an exam will go smoothly, and your mark will be higher than the one you expected.

Some useful advice

1.Aim higher

If you want, say, 100 points, prepare like you need to get 120. If you are ready exactly for 100 points, the chance is, your mark will be lower.

2.Prepare in advance.

There are situations in life when last-minute preparation isn’t going to work wonders. An exam is one of these situations.

3.Know thy subject.

The best way to pass an exam in flying colours is to know the subject, rather than do various tests. If you have to write an essay in History, for example, it’s easier to memorise the History course than to cram 20 essay samples.

And finally…

Listen to yourself

If someone tells your passing an exam in this or that subject is unrealistic, remember: this person talks about his or her ability in this subject. Believe in yourself, love your subject, and you will pass an exam in flying colours and get the best marks possible!