By Molly Doyle
Resitting an assessment can often be daunting and, at some points, disheartening. This article seeks to advise you on how to approach resits, whether you deferred the assessment or just missed out on a pass the first-time you took an exam.
For those who took an assessment in May or June, it can be tough to focus on the task at hand. Before you start studying again, you need to take some time to process where you went wrong in the first instance, what the reasons for this where, and what can be done to avoid making the same mistake again.
For most assessments, you will be provided with your script back, coupled with feedback from the tutor who marked it. This feedback is invaluable, as it can help you understand where you went wrong, and point you in the right direction you should take for your revision.
One of the most important things to do when preparing for an assessment is review the grade descriptors and the assessment structure. No student can produce a quality assessment without knowing what the examiners are looking for. By understanding the requirements of the assessment, you can further understand why you did not meet them in your first attempt, and how you can improve your exam technique. Usually, there are multiple grade descriptors, so it is easier to home in on one technique of your paper you are confident in, if you struggled on another part of your exam.
The next thing to do after reflecting and working out the assessment requirements is to look at the assessment brief for the resit. Looking at the assessment brief helps understand the specifics of the new assessment, and can give you an idea of what might come up. Focusing on the areas that are likely to come up is an effective way of preparing for an assessment, but it is important to remember that your mark will also depend on the assessment method.
The only way to really prepare for an assessment is to sit down and study. Be aware that there are different types of studying techniques if you have not yet found the right one. You may also want to consider adapting your technique to the current circumstances to prepare better. If you are a first year at University it can be difficult to adjust to how teaching is structured, and may discover that your usual studying techniques do not work anymore.
Some of the more popular methods of study are mind maps and flashcards. Flashcards help with memory recognition, and mind maps can be useful to help you see what topics have or have not been covered yet. Another good tip is to keep a list of useful topics which you may need, so that you will be able to keep track of things that might be easy to forget.
Lastly, it is important to remember to take breaks and not overwork yourself. It is much harder to study when you feel burnt out, and given the current COVID pandemic, it is easier to let stress build up. Break down each studying session into smaller time frames, but at the same time do not let a break completely overtake the revision session. By breaking work down into more manageable components, you will feel less overwhelmed by the amount of work and some of the pressure and stress of studying will be taken off.
Always try get some work done in the mornings, so that if you need to take the afternoon off you will not feel guilty, and you won’t have missed out on a full day of revision. Furthermore, try setting a target of how much work you aim to get done in a day.
In the end, try to find what works and stick to it, and if you need them, be aware that there are many helpful tips on the internet to further help your revision.
The day before the assessment
The day before the assessment can be very stressful and leave you feeling panicked. Instead of trying to cram more revising at the last moment, it can be helpful to reflect once again on previous assessments, as well as the assessment brief. Looking over feedback keeps improvements at the forefront of your mind, whereas the assessment brief reiterates what is specifically asked of you for the exam. Reviewing answer structures will also help you remember how your answers or essay should be set out to keep the assessment clear and concise.
Having reflected on these things, it can be a good idea to use the rest of the day to de-stress. Going into an assessment stressed clouds the mind, and it can cause you to have a harder time thinking clearly.
Lastly, in the case of exams, the last thing to do is be sure that the assessment area follows rules set by the examiner, so you are not rushing about the morning of the assessment trying to get ready.