When you're revising your materials for exams, it's also important to not just learn the facts, but also think about your opinion on the key topics, so critical thinking is very important. - Ayako
Whatever course of studies you are following in the UK, there will almost certainly be some form of assessment involved. Written assignments completed during your course or examinations are the most common methods used to assess students' learning. You may have a mixture of exams and course work, or you may have just exams or just course work. This will depend on where you are studying and what course you are doing.
In these activities you will listen to an interview with an international student who compares her experiences of exams in her own country with exams in the UK. You will also explore some common problems which students report when dealing with course work, and consider how to solve them.
What to expect from exams in the UK
International students sometimes find that examinations in the UK are different from those they have experienced in their own countries. What are exams like in your country and do you know what to expect from exams in the UK? You are going to listen to an international student comparing her experiences of taking exams in her own country, and on her course in the UK.
Listen to Ayako comparing university exams in her home country with exams in the UK. Move each of the points she mentions into the appropriate box, answer the three questions that follow and then check all your answers. You can listen to the interview as many times as you need to.
To listen to the audio, click the play button once. You can move between parts of the audio by dragging the slider left or right.
You can move items from the list into a box by clicking on them and dragging them into a box with your mouse. If you change your mind, you can still move the items from one box to another.
Answer the three questions that follow by typing your answers in the text area.
There is a transcript for you to look at if you need help: Audio transcript (pdf, 12kb).
Exams in Ayako's home country
Exams in the UK
Course work (such as essays or reports) count too
Expect to write more using an answer booklet
Need to memorise key words and facts
Not much assessed course work
Prepare opinions as well as revising facts
Prepare with past papers and start revising early
Question style is multiple choice
Understanding and opinions matter
Use of pencils rather than pens
Exams in Ayako's home country: Need to memorise key words and facts, Not much assessed course work, Question style is multiple choice, Use of pencils rather than pens Exams in the UK: Course work (such as essays or reports) count too, Expect to write more using an answer booklet, Prepare opinions as well as revising facts, Prepare with past papers and start revising early, Understanding and opinions matter
What view does Ayako have about the following: -exam stress -how to deal with it -when to start revising for exams
Exam stress: Ayako says it's normal to feel nervous before any exam but especially if it's a new exam experience for you in a different country.
How to deal with it: Ayako suggests that talking to friends and also to your personal tutor can help.
When to start revising for exams: Ayako recommends starting to revise as long as possible before an exam - at least two weeks.
Listen to the interview with Ayako again with the transcript above if you need to check your understanding. The parts of the transcript containing the answers to the listening task are highlighted.
Doing your course work
International students occasionally experience problems with their course work especially at the start of their studies in the UK. In this activity you are going to look at some typical problems that can arise with course work and identify ways to avoid them when you start your own studies in the UK.
How would you deal with these students' course work problems? Select a problem from the list on left and then match it with a solution from the list on the right. When you have selected and matched all of the items, check your answers and read the feedback.
Click once on an item in the list on the left. This will highlight it. Then click once on a corresponding item on the right. A line will appear linking the two items together. Click on a different item on the right to change your selection and a new line will appear and replace the first line.
Use the reset button if you wish to begin the task again.
Here are the course work problems matched with a solution:
I couldn't get hold of the books I needed to do my assignment. Start looking for books well in advance; search for online journals too.
I had problems producing the references - I didn't note down the details of which books and articles I used. As you read and research for your assignment keep detailed notes of all the books and articles you have read for later referencing.
I handed my assignment in half a day late, so I was penalised and received a lower grade. Start an assignment well in advance to ensure that you meet the assignment deadline.
I looked at the assignment and didn't know where to start; it seemed so difficult! Take time to focus on understanding an assignment, which can usually be broken down into several smaller questions.
I wrote everything I knew about the assignment topic but still didn't get a good mark - the tutor said I hadn't answered the question. Keep checking that you're addressing the assignment question as you write your assignment to avoid writing 'around' the question.
My assignment required 2500 words, but because I only wrote 1000, I lost a lot of marks. Plan your assignment carefully and check that you have answered all parts of the question to produce a complete answer.
When you start your studies in the UK you will probably have a few questions about the first assignment tasks you are given and what is required. Check the instructions you have been given carefully and if you still have questions, ask a more experienced classmate or make an appointment to speak to your course tutor.
Would you like to review the main points?
On your course in the UK you will be assessed both through your course work assignments and examinations, or either of these methods alone. It is important to make sure you fully understand what a course work assignment requires of you before you start writing it and to give yourself plenty of time to produce it before the submission deadline. Exams in the UK may be different from those in your home country. One useful way to prepare yourself for exams in advance is by looking at past papers in your subject area in your university library.