Chapter 7: The Final Hurdles – Spotting for Success and Examination Time


Read this by all means now, but please read it again halfway through your course, and again when you have completed your formal study program and are just two weeks away from the final examinations for the year. In fact, why not write both dates in your diary now – they are the final keys that will unlock the door so you can get a degree online.

When you re-read this for the second time a great deal of water would have passed under the bridge. Looking back, how did it go? Did your formal study program work for you? Did you complete all your assignments and study periods? I hope you did. I’m pretty sure you made some changes as you went along. In any case, the time is almost over, and you must stop learning now, and start planning for the test.

About Spotting

Spotting refers to the process where you try to guess the content of an examination, and concentrate your learning around those themes. It’s deadly dangerous if that’s the only studying that you do – but, if you already know enough to pass your online degree, spotting can help you get distinctions.

Here is a method I have used in my own final preparation for examinations. In a nutshell, it involves reviewing the daily blocks of knowledge in the formal study program that you created in terms of several different criteria – the theory being that the more points a criterion gives to a particular study block, the more likely that block is to feature in an examination question. If you get it wrong, it’s not a disaster. And, if you followed my method you should pass anyway. At the very least, you will spend the week reviewing things intelligently.

Taking each daily study block in turn, ask yourself the following questions regarding the content:

  • Would I have required this information to have been able to answer any of the questions in the old examination papers provided by my online teacher at the beginning of the year (when I was considering doing this course)? If more than one question indicates this, award more than one point.
  • Do any of the clues and tips that teachers love to give point in this direction?
  • Was this information included in an assignment?
  • Was this block of knowledge referred to in any supplementary information provided by a lecturer? Was it a discussion subject, or referred to any other way?

You should be able to complete this process in an hour or two. For every positive answer, award the study block one point or more. If you marked your detailed study plan up with a red marker pen as you went through it, you should immediate see where the action lies.

How does this work? It’s very simple. Some knowledge in any online education program is core information, other is supplementary background knowledge – you’ve just uncovered which is which. For the rest of the week, pass your eye over the identified blocks of knowledge. Don’t attempt to block your memory channels with new information, just refresh your mind.

The Week before Examinations, and the Gaps Between

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of this online education guide? About your brain needing time to file information away so that it could retrieve it easily? The week before your examinations, and the gaps between them, are not the right time to try to cram more files into the filing cabinet. Put your study material away, and rest your mind. If you like, turn off your laptop, and let it rest, and clear the ram.

Have you got withdrawal symptoms? I’m sure you do. That’s because you programmed yourself into a habit, and habits are hard things to kick. My personal suggestion – leave your computer and books at home and take a week away from your environment. Stay with friends, climb mountains, or visit new places anywhere you like. I kid you not, you will return for your examinations invigorated, refreshed, and as well-equipped as you could ever be.

Examination Days

On examination days you things you have to manage are adrenalin rushes and examination nerves, both of which can put you seriously off your stroke. My advice is to go to bed early, spend the time after you wake up doing totally unrelated things, and make sure you have a good meal beforehand.

When you open up an examination paper, the temptation is to rush in immediately and start answering questions straight away. Folk that do that can end up misreading questions and running out of time. It’s far better to spend 5% of the available hour reviewing the questions and deciding which ones you are going to attempt, and allocating the time left over in terms of their relative percentage contribution to the overall mark.

You’re ready now. Go for the distinctions! Good luck! It’s time for you to get your degree online.

Chapter 1: Using the Pleasure Principal to Your Advantage
Chapter 2: Thinking in Terms of Goals
Chapter 3: Staying in Touch with Family, Friends and Colleagues
Chapter 4: Creating a Special Place to Study and a Formal Study Plan
Chapter 5: Establishing a Formal Study Program and Balancing Your Time
Chapter 6: Expanding Your Capacity to Study
Chapter 7: The Final Hurdles – Spotting for Success and Examination Time
 Written by Rob Griffin – Degree Jungle Staff Writer © Degree Jungle 2010