With your PE exam right around the corner, no doubt you’re deep in exam study mode, and looking for any tips and tricks to make these next few days a little more breezy.
We’ve asked around our PE team, and they’ve put together 6 tips to help you navigate your way to a top mark in your upcoming exam.
1. Complete the paper in order
While some students will have their own strategy for answering the paper (e.g. going straight to the extended responses first) we recommend completing the paper in order (and with good reason!).
The questions asked in the multiple-choice section of the paper often contain helpful information for the written response questions. You might see a multiple-choice question that triggers your memory about a topic or subtopic you need to write about. Win!
2. Read the question, then read it again
It’s also important to carefully read each multiple-choice question… you don’t want to lose a mark because you missed a key piece of information from the question! For example, “which of the following factors is NOT related…” or “select the appropriate answer for…” questions can often catch students out.
So, be sure to read the question and each possible answer before making your selection.
3. Break down each question
In your exam, there can be a temptation to just dive into answering each question without doing any planning. While you might get through the paper faster, rushed responses will often be missing really important information. Taking some time to break down exactly what the question is asking, what you’re going to respond with and how you’re going to structure your answer can make a big difference.
Of course, we don’t want to use too much of our writing time planning, so here’s how to do it:
- Identify the verb being used in the question: Making clear attempts to answer the question, and showing the markers that you understand the meaning of the verb being used throughout your answer will ensure you’re properly answering the question and will push your answer up towards the higher bands.
- Circle the key parts of the question: This will help you to understand where in the syllabus the question came from and the exact content you need to cover. Oftentimes, content in PE will overlap e.g. a dot point covered in a core module may come up again in an option module. You need to know the context of the content and write about the right topic and subtopics!
- Plan your response: Jot down a quick outline of how you’re going to respond to the question. Consider both the content you need to cover and the structure of your response.
Following these steps will ensure your responses are well-written and gives you the best chance of hitting all the relevant criteria for full marks.
4. Don’t forget examples
Examples are the name of the game in PE. Usually, questions will specifically ask you to include examples, but even if they don’t, it’s best practice to include them where you can! Detailed examples show greater depth of understanding and prove to the marker that you can actually apply the content to real-world situations.
To ensure you’re prepared for the exam, go through the syllabus and find an example for each dot point. It helps to use examples that are relevant and interesting to you. For example, if you play soccer, think about how you can apply the PE content to your own sport.
5. Write responses on the topics you’ve covered
This is an important tip you may not have considered. Exams can be stressful, and to alleviate that stress, you might look for any opportunity to make things a little bit easier or get through the paper that little bit faster . Some students get frazzled and make a last-minute decision to answer questions from a topic they haven’t actually covered.
So, this tip is simple - don’t be that student! Only answer questions for the options (HSC) or elective topics (QCE) you’ve prepared for. While a question may seem easy to answer, you haven’t studied for it and don’t know what the content being tested is. And, as we know, if you aren’t addressing the syllabus dot points exactly, you’re unlikely to achieve those higher marks!
6. Only answer the questions you need to
This one is for HSC students particularly! You’re only asked to answer two out of five questions in the options section of the paper. However, plenty of students think that answering three or more increases their odds of having two top answers.
If you’re thinking of doing this, don’t. Firstly, the less time you allocate to each question, the less likely you are to do well. The markers will expect well-thought out responses that show you’ve used your time wisely.
And, as we’ve already discussed earlier, you won’t know the specific content covered in the topics you haven’t studied and therefore won’t be able to get full marks.
Even if you find the questions in your two pre-prepared topics to be challenging, taking the time to plan your responses carefully and then respond to them will give you the best chance of getting those top-range marks.
You can do this! You’ve spent all year preparing for this exam, building your knowledge and skills. If you find yourself getting flustered or perhaps your mind goes blank, take a second to breathe in, breathe out, and collect your thoughts. If you can’t answer a question, move on to the next one and come back to it when you’re ready. Good luck!