Teaching Historical Fencing – The Interpretive Lesson


o Why examinations?
o Some myths about examinations
o What examiners do not like
o Revising for examinations
o Final preparations
o Working out your tactical plan for the examination
o Handling stress in the examinations

Why Examinations?

o Written examinations test four important managerial skills – plan- prepare- practice- perform.

o A framework within which you expend exceptional amount of effort on developing skills and knowledge which you might otherwise never take the trouble to master

o It presents a challenge hkeaa which puts you under pressure and which can thereby produce very positive learning effects.

o The effect of the bicycle race!

o In an exam you have to perform at a specified time and place to the satisfaction of the examiner.

o You have to think on your feet and get it right the first time. This brings considerably more pressure to bear on you but the pressure is potentially a very creative force.

o In effect the examination creates the conditions to enable you to draw a peak performance out of yourself.

Some Myths about Examinations

Experience shows that those who have worked at their courses the overwhelming reasons for examination failure are
o Not answering the question set
o Writing without reference to the course material
o Not allocating time in exam sufficiently

Remember in most examinations you have to gain a pass mark to succeed. Most people if they have prepared properly and are clear about appropriate techniques for tackling an exam paper will pass the examination they are sitting.

Key points – Examinations are not a battle of wits with examiners who are looking for an excuse to fail you. Everyone wants you to pass including the examiner.

o Myth 1 – You should have studied everything in the course before attempting the examination. Work out how to make the best use of what you have done rather than worry too much about what you have not done during the course.(Study Targets-Must do-Should do-Could do)+ 80-20 Rule

o Myth 2 – If you have not understood what you have read it is not worth taking the examination. No-one understands everything. There are bound to be some areas where you feel under prepared and uncertain.

o Myth 3 – Exam papers are unreadable. Do not panic when you read examination questions. Every examination question is linked quite directly with something you have covered on the course and is not based on general knowledge. You just have to work out that link.

o Myth 4 – Examinations are for people with a good memory. Management examinations are not intended to be pure memory tests. The purpose of the course is to develop your ideas and the purpose of the exam is to provide you with a chance to show how well you have grasped the ideas in the course. Exams tend to be about what you understand rather than test memory. Getting your course notes organized is the crucial step to sorting your memory out.(Process of Summarizing notes)

o Myth 5 – The examination will show up all the gaps in your education and experience. Do not worry about what you did not learn before the course. Consolidate on what you have learned during the course. Examinations do not test your general knowledge or your unique management experience.

o Myth 6 – Examinations are just a speed test. What will matter at examinations is how well you have organized your ideas and how well you have planned your exams strategy. Speed in an examination is to do with having a very clear plan of how you intend to use your time. (Usual page length)

o Myth 7 – You have to revise until you drop before an examination. You probably will do a lot of work just before the examination. You need to do it in a planned way so that you use time efficiently and conserve your energies.

What Examiners do not like

Failing to answer the question

o Failing to recognize what one of the key terms in the question means-
o Failing to realize which issues from the course are being raised. Every question is intended to direct you towards particular issues that have been discussed in the course. You have to spot which ones.
o Failing to offer analysis an argument relating to the question- No examination question ever asks you merely to write all you know about something. The requirement for analysis is indicated by process words in the question such as address, comment, describe, highlight, outline, identify, draw on, recommend, consider, explain, discuss, suggest & show.
o Failing to take an objective stance in relation to the question. The answers must be written in an objective manner and should not include your opinions or emotions dressed up in lots of committed rhetoric. Cool detachment is of the essence
o Failing to end the answer with any conclusions- You greatly increase the impression of purposefulness and relevance in your answer if you make a point of coming back quite specifically to the question at the end of your answer and briefly showing how what you have said helps to answer it.
o Failing to answer in the appropriate format- Reports, essay


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