The 4 pillars of examination success: it What in your exam preparation for an exam, a presentation or an essay really matters!

examination success

The exam preparation is running on many students from very one-sided and consists mostly of the heart learning of expertise. When I ask in a seminar then, what are the success factors of an audit and what is important, answers come as:

Time start | Summaries make | Repeat | motivation  | Taking notes | Learning Groups | Attention Activity | Confidence | discipline  | rest | order

That is a beginning. But if one looks closely, these are more things of self-management. The question is: “What are the success factors, so I passed my exams?” So I have to think of the audit perspective. Before a boxing match coaches and athletes analyze the opponent in detail. They then determine a strategy to defeat them, and work on respective weaknesses.


A successful test is not just the amount of the learning material. Its quality, query form, timing and good intuition are also important:


No question: solid expertise is the core of each test. But depending on the examination form must otherwise expressed and applied ( “Package”). Are you going confident and relaxed in the examination, your chances are higher. The aim of this article is to provide a better sense of the nature and packaging of knowledge and to reduce the element of chance.

Expertise: the first success of your exam preparation

Success Factor 1: The knowledge

Of course, you need to know about, understand photosynthesis, can form a derivative, recite paragraphs correctly or know the key messages of the great philosophers up in the individual subjects. But just people who learn to thoroughly checks are disappointed – because they give 120 per cent and the famous ZDF (Facts and Figures) memorize. Then they are surprised when applications, examples and interpretations are in demand. And this is almost always the case! There is a big difference between information loosely next to each other – are stored, or whether they are related – such as in a database. A painter bring 120 individual colors nothing – only impressed a skillful composition on the canvas. This also highlights a concept from the sociology of knowledge, which is different data, information and knowledge:

  1. Data . Facts, statistics, numbers, words, technical terms, names are the base of learning – but only meaningless. The word “Metoprolol” initially tells us nothing.There is a lack of context. Unrelated data are worthless.
  2. Information . “Take the drug” metoprolol “3 times a day without chewing after eating, if you have high blood pressure.” Now the word “metoprolol” is embedded in a context of meaning. We know that it is a medicine and how we use it. Information ie data with a meaning and a certain practical value.
  3. Knowledge . Hopefully the doctor knows who prescribes metoprolol, enough about the drug. He must evaluate our disease, known drug interactions and choose the right type of treatment and dosage. It integrates different information, based on a specific case.


These three components of knowledge are like a ladder: When learning we work our way up the stages: First, we have single words or facts that we need to transform it into information. So are, for example, PowerPoint slides many data only with placing them in a context to information. The brain things can only remember if it can arrange this. It needs to connect to prior knowledge and a practical reference. In the second step, the information must be linked such that they can be flexibly adapted to new situations and tasks. Only then “know” we somewhat. The beauty of it: Have we developed an extensive knowledge network, we can deduce information: Who little “white”, need not to worry about forgetting, because he has understood the logic and structure. It was once a click – to get even later by deriving the right solution.The advantage is in stressful situations such as exams, because a dense network of knowledge is much more robust than individual facts. Although change the questions, one can react flexibly. Even if you “only” facts must memorize, it is worthwhile to understand their context and meaning.
When learning is consolidated your knowledge and guarantees available in the exam

Beware of traps! Data seem objective and operational.It is difficult to separate from them, one reads the words and phrases (data), and does not look for the overlying contents and statements (information). The subject matter to be accepted as it is, seems more convenient: You have to expend little energy, not think, can not find their own position. As a result, facts are learning at the expense of the other two stages.

Lessons focus on relationships and Verständnis.Viele details automatically derived therefrom.

Written or housework? Customize your exam preparation to the exam form!

Success Factor 2: The packing / verification methods

One test measures not only expertise, but also on how well you apply this in terms of a particular query form and packaging can. Exams z. B. measure especially the ability to write exams. This includes:

  • how well you work under pressure can (Endurance)
  • how well you apply your knowledge to a question can (topics related),
  • how well you can organize your thoughts (logic / reasoning ability)
  • how well you clear your thoughts, precise and express forcefully can (communication skills)
  • whether you have recognized the Global Picture (Overview)
  • if you can easily focus on essential factors / content
  • (Ability to prioritize)
  • own ideas, examples and your opinion
  • (Creativity, practical transfer, assessment administration).

You may have a brilliant memory. Unfortunately, brings you not that much if you can not formulate the relationships unerringly in the exam. This also applies to oral examinations . The measure not only knowledge, but also:

  • how well you argue and can present yourself,
  • as well keeping the essentials in view,
  • how well you understand the knowledge,
  • how flexible you react to new problems.

Presentations – you guessed it long ago – not only measure the range and accuracy of knowledge, but whose structure, your facial expressions and gestures, rhetorical skills and the use of technology. A communication psychologist from the United States has often quoted study written that only seven percent was decisive in public presentations of content, how competent the speaker was assessed. Seven percent!The rest were appearance, poise, presentation! While it is seen in tests on the contents and tries to be “objective”. Nevertheless, structure, examples and a clear, distinct language are the essence of a good presentation! Social psychological studies show: The overall impression influences the assessment of the content. If someone perhaps presented instead with T-shirt in a jacket and wearing glasses, he is unconsciously perceived as competent. His credibility rises. This leads to a positive evaluation of the content, even if it has remained exactly the same. A similar effect has language: it is high-squeezed to squeaky-insecure or speaks the speaker confidently facing the audience?

Housework . A little further down, I once organized an evaluation form for written work, to actually get only auditors (one has his sources). Consider the three evaluation criteria: It is striking that the third, least important criterion “Formal” is most clearly defined. These points are the easiest to control – just because they have nothing to do with the content. Only through proper scientific work and consistent formatting you secure you already 20 percent!

The second criterion “relating to the seminar” can also meet well. Create a checklist in which you auflistest the main theories of the seminar, you then einbaust in your argument. Or, write a “vocabulary list” with the ten most important new terms that you einstreust in your text. Games directly to situations and discussions from the seminar. This will warm the heart of the corrector.

The first criterion relates to a case study or an essay on a topic chosen. Here you can clearly see that the contents are only means to an end. They want to see how well you argue and can write (classification, structure, red thread) actually.


Good news: Even getting enough sleep is one necessarily preparing for the exam!

Success Factor 3: daily condition and energy level

Energy, relaxation and sleep. A good day form the day X is not to be underestimated.It does not help until late at night to get into it, or the day before that messed close to want to be totally exhausted bring bests! The immune system is under attack.Anyone who has ever had to endure a cold an exam, white: This is horror! (Especially for your bank neighbor who would you most like to strangle for your Geschniefe …)

Time management, motivation, organization. Your days form again depends on your time and stress management. A college friend was technically brilliant and his chores were a dream: Butterweich to read, in a rousing elegance he developed fascinating lines of argument. He could always get a smooth one – if he would have made a single time on time. So tests measure how well you deal with stress and how well you can organize yourself in advance so as not stressed out to go into the examination.

The exam success depends not on 100% of exam preparation

Success Factor 4: Happiness

I once had a talk in which I knelt in properly. It was also well received by Prof.Nevertheless, he gave me “only” a two, although he stressed that it was “very good” was. I was taken aback. If anything he liked, why this note? He said that I was lacking in two lectures and this is incorporated into the review. How unfair! It was nevertheless expressly in the course description that only the Unit was relevant for the exam! Here I did not have good instincts, assess these oddball: He was just offended because only six students had come to his final lecture before his retirement.

Ultimately, is always a bit of luck in the game. Sometimes your dream theme that comes up really interested and just so out of hand is – next time we do it ourselves harder. So the question is: How predictable is your next test? The unpredictable on the more scenarios you have to adjust yourself! Think about strategies in case of miscalculation a “Plan B” to have. Do not put everything on one card.

When a test always includes a little chance, says that as well if we are well prepared, we are well prepared. About Learning is a waste of time! Take care dear to your other subjects and projects. Even if you langst times deviated in a tray, you can compensate in other trays. The success of a sportsman also does not depend on only a competition. Lost competitions are important experiences and give you clues to be better in the long term.

What really matters in your exam preparation

What we learn from this?

    1. Facts are not enough. Not Cling to data. Dare to interpret this to be interpreted, a personal connection to manufacture. Your success does not depend on, how could recite many numbers and technical terms you in your sleep, but how well you can apply them.
    2. Examination success is based on several factors. The things always do in the same way, success is not promising. When it comes to facts? When do we understand the relationships? For learning is not only the drums, but also the control of processes, attunement, structuring, Reduce, verbalization and the weighting depending on the examination form and destination.
    3. Never go into a test without a trial run! A test measures knowledge and specific skills. A friend recently learned day after day until late into the night for an exam. She was so excited that they at night slept badly and could hardly concentrate. When the big day came, he was quickly over. Too fast: In just two hours she could not write all the things she kept too long on a question on, was not taken formulations repeated often. No wonder: The situation was completely new to her – she had not written a single test exam!
    4. Invest in key skills. I am surprised how few students ever read a book about scientific work, practiced learning techniques or have attended a presentation course. Clear is a time investment. But what are a few days in exchange for a greater self-confidence and better grades?
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