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How to Succeed in Exams and Assessments

National Extension College

How to Succeed in Exams and Assessments


How to Succeed in Exams and Assessments

Taking an exam or being assessed puts pressure on most people. This book is designed to help students being assessed, whatever their subject and at whatever level they are being assessed. It explores different assessment methods and helps learners prepare for their particular assessment, offering guidance on useful ways to approach the process. If you buy a multi-user licence you can share the book with colleagues in your school, college or organisation to use with the students they teach within that institution.

Since How to Succeed in Exams and Assessments was first published it has helped many learners to develop their skills and to succeed in their exams and assessments. Use the entire contents of the workbook or only the topics you need, for face-to-face teaching with your students, or as revision support or a home study aid.

A single-user download allows you to use the material in your own teaching only. Read the full Licensing Terms & Conditions here.


Author:                Penny Henderson

Edition:               This edition first published 1993

Format:               PDF

Page extent:      107 pages


About the author

NEC works with recognised leaders in the field of education and training, to develop resources designed and written by experienced authors who are also qualified subject experts.

Penny Henderson has written several books on teaching, learning and groupwork for the National Extension College. She has worked as an Open University tutor, and has run groups for students who panic, and trained other tutors to run them. She has worked as a trainer for social services, and freelance as a management consultant and trainer and as a counsellor.

Product description

This workbook is divided thirteen units. Each unit includes a set of objectives outlining what students should learn from the unit; activities to help achieve the objectives; authors’ comments providing feedback and ideas; summary of what students have learnt and how they may put their learning into practice.



Unit 1 – Introduction


What is this book about?

What level does the book aim at?

How to use the book

How is the book organised?

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs)

What this unit is about

What other books are needed to work through this book?

Using other resources


Unit 2 – Understanding assessment


What this unit is about

What is assessment?

Informal assessment

Formal assessment

Formative assessment

Summative assessment

What is the basis on which candidates are to be judged?

Your own assessment structure



Unit 3 – Finding out what your assessor is looking for

What this unit is about

What is being assessed?




What is the basis on which you are to be assessed?

What does your examiner expect?

How to find out what the examiner is looking for

Common failings reported by examiners



Unit 4 – Self-review

What this unit is about

What motivates you?

How your tutor can help

How do you feel about being assessed?

Sources of self-confidence

Developing confidence



Unit 5 – Planning for assessment

What this unit is about

Are deadlines your friends or your enemies?

Your assessment deadlines




Unit 6 – Using coursework effectively

What this unit is about

Who assesses you?

Making use of comments

Computer marked assessments

Learning from multiple-choice quizzes

Getting feedback when you start an assessment



Unit 7 – Essays, projects, portfolios and journals

What this unit is about

Initial planning

Answering essay questions

Approaching an essay question






Unit 8 – Coping with perfection

What this unit is about

Are you a perfectionist?

Perfectionists in assessment

Perfectionists in exams



Unit 9 – Managing anxiety

What this unit is about

Using anxiety

Are you a worrier?

Overcoming panic

Panic in an assessment

Managing anxiety



Unit 10 – Revising for exams

What this unit is about

The exam game

The process of revision

Ways of approaching revision

When should I revise?

Where should I revise?

Finding out about the exam

Drawing up your final plan

Taking breaks

Revising for resits



Unit 11 – Practising for your exam

What this unit is about

Spring cleaning your notes

Extending and improving your notes

Practising recall

Recalling during the exam

Working with others

Thinking like an examiner

Tackling a mock exam

Keeping tabs on your progress



Unit 12 – Answering the question

What this unit is about

Key verbs

Key concepts

Tackling specific sorts of questions: some tips



Unit 13 – Getting it right on the day

What this unit is about


Making practical arrangements

Preparing for the exam

The morning of the exam

Exam tactics

Managing your time

If things don’t go according to plan


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