29 April 2016

Tips for Practical Exams

Hey guys!

Apologies for the 2 weeks abscence since my last post! I recently had my Irish oral (counts for 40% of overall exam), French oral (25% of overall) and music practical (50% of overall!) for my Leaving Cert. It’s fair to say they were a pretty stressful 2 weeks. But luckily I made it through and I thought today I could give a few tips based on my experience. I’m not even sure if other countries have practical and oral exams but hopefully this might be helpful in some way anyway!

1.    Start prepping early
I think it’s especially tempting for practical exams to leave everything until the last minute. You don’t necessarily need to spend hours studying but if you’re not prepared you will regret it! Try and do a bit every night leading up to the exams rather than leaving it all until the last week, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.

2.    Find your studying method
Finding the best method of studying for you is so important. When it comes to oral exams I know that personally I find it hard to learn off huge blocks of text. Since it is a speaking exam I find it much better to go over and over possible questions, answering them out loud and writing down words I’m unsure of. This technique worked really well for me but it really depends on the person.

3.    Get as much practice as possible
In the same way that you would do practice written exams, doing practice oral/practical exams is really helpful. I think that it helps make you less nervous for the real thing. Ask your teacher to do a mock oral with you, or you could ask a friend as long as you both take it seriously and time it so it’s as realistic as possible! I play piano and I made sure to practice lots on the piano in school before my music practical so I would be familiar with it.

4.    Try to manage nerves
I definitely think practical exams are way more nerve wrecking than written exams because you can’t just skip a question and come back to it or restart a piece! This again comes down to practice practice practice. It will definitely make you a lot less nervous if you’re prepared and nothing will throw you off. I get soo nervous when playing piano in front of people so I forced myself to play in front of my classmates and it helped A LOT. Do whatever calms you down, listen to music, distract yourself, walk around, do some yoga, anything that helps.

So there we go. I don’t know if this will actually be useful because I’m not sure how things work in other countries! This is what worked for me though, and I was pretty happy with how all my exams went.

Bye for now!

Catriona xo

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