How to prepare for your synoptic assessments

Over the years, synoptic assessments have gained a reputation for their sizable tasks, content spanning multiple units, and detailed written questions pushing learners outside of their comfort zones. Here are some tips to help you prepare…

Build up

  • Draw your battle lines: A robust schedule often makes the difference between passing and failing – take time to draw out your planned revision, based on the areas you require reinforcement on, and consolidating areas of previous knowledge.
  • Know your limit: When writing your plan, do not overstate the amount of time you realistically have to study, as this can create additional pressure and stress if you are falling behind a pace you realistically never could achieve anyway.
  • Utilising resources: As part of your planning, reach out and grab the resources at your disposal, such as revision sessions or recorded videos. And always complete your mock assessments!
  • Dealing with changes: When changes occur, do not elect to ignore them. Research the changes and reflect on how they may impact your plans, and ensure you discuss any uncertainties about them with your tutor or mentor.

The day before

  • Find your cut-off: Provided you have stuck to your plan, find a suitable time to put the books down to digest your final revision session and unwind.
  • Plan your trip: Make sure you have everything ready for your exam the day before you go (ID, train tickets, stationery etc). Avoid the scramble for your car keys and have all required items easily accessible.
  • Get some sleep: This goes without saying, but a good night’s sleep is more important than a late night revision session – so get some rest!

Exam day

  • Avoid cramming: The temptation to squeeze in one more study session just before your exam is tempting, but provided you have set and stuck to your revision plan, this should offer little benefit. A last minute scramble often causes more harm than good. Keep your mind clear on the objective ahead.
  • Roll with the punches: Things may go amiss in the exam, be it technological blips or a topic that has caught you off-guard. Do not panic! Take a moment to step back and recollect your thoughts. These are happenings beyond your control and allowing them to dominate your thoughts can make or break your exam.
  • No regrets: Leave the room with no regrets. Take a moment to acknowledge the work you have put in to reach that point and do not leave the room thinking: “I should have done more of this or that”. Before you press the finish button, tell yourself: “I have given my best in this exam and in my preparation for it”.

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