Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 25 January 2015

Case study: Exam Guide - Holly Fullerton

Holly Fullerton of Ballymena Academy picked up two Top Candidate awards in French and Geography at CCEA’s Celebrating Excellence awards ceremony. Here she is with CCEA’s Acting Chair Helen McClenaghan.

With exams I think the most important thing is not to panic, even though everybody else is. 

When it comes to the point where the actual paper is sitting in front of you ready to start and all you can think of is what you have forgotten, there is nothing more you can do. Bar a complete nervous breakdown/mind-blank, you will probably get the mark you deserve. So don't worry about a thing!

Honestly though, everything will be all right. Just keep it simple. For a start, make sure you have everything you need to actually do the exam. (Unless of course you want to be that person who asks for a protractor half way through the Maths paper.) When you get started, focus on answering what you are asked. Also, even if you have no idea what you're writing about, do try to put down something for every question. If you're really stuck just move on and come back to it if you have time.

Of course, you'd leave out every question if you didn't have anything to write, so revision is obviously pretty helpful. To revise for Geography, case studies were the hardest part for me but if you pick two or three facts to stick to for each one you should be fine. Theory-wise, check you understand everything and if you don't ask your teacher. You can study until the definition of the suburbs is coming out of your ears but in the event you get a tricky question, it'll be no good if it makes no sense to you. In any case, things are much easier to learn when you understand them.

As for French - get someone to ask you questions. Trying to write your oral answers from memory is also a good technique and (short of reading a French dictionary every night) it's a good idea to be familiar with vocabulary too, however there isn't really much you can do to prepare for the listening other than practise.  

A few general tips:   

  • take breaks while revising    
  • revision timetable is useful 
  • do not leave everything until the night before (believe me, it doesn't feel good) 
  • have a water bottle
  • use colour/diagrams to revise if it helps   
  • write key facts/figures/words on post-it notes
  • be happy 

Hopefully this can be of some help to you in the summer, and all the best to everybody. Remember: Carefree.  

Holly Fullerton, 17, Ballymena Academy

Now studying: French, Geography, History and Physics.

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