So, you’re taking a driving test.
The examiner gives you an instruction – and you ignore it and do something else.
You would expect to fail the test, right?
And yet this is what happens in academic exams All . The . Time.
AND it’s why many students end up getting results they’re disappointed in and that don’t reflect their effort or true ability.
The difference is, that for most students, it isn’t that they are IGNORING instructions, they just weren’t totally clear on what the examiner was really asking of them.
(Although sometimes the ‘IGNORING instructions’ thing does happen when a student realises they don’t know how to answer what’s actually being asked, so decide to answer a different Q they WISH it was asking instead!).
FYI – that doesn’t work either. Ever.
Both of these scenarios will lead to the same result (though perhaps the second will mean the disappointing result is little less unexpected).
This is why it’s SO important for students to not only read the INSTRUCTIONS on exam papers rrreeeeally carefully. Things like the front cover info, such as the number of questions to answer, the amount of time available and so on.
(Because EVERY year there are students who don’t answer the right selection of Qs, or too many, or not enough).
But moreover, it’s essential that students understand how to dissect and break down each and every exam Q so that they can work out the exact instruction they’re being given.
The problem with this, is that unlike reading the front page of exam info, most students don’t know how to dissect or precisely what to look for in a Q, or exactly how to respond.
That’s why the 6 Elements of Exam Technique are so important, so that your teen isn’t performing a parallel park when the examiner has asked them to do an emergency stop.
But of course, it’s usually more subtle than that – more like the examiner’s asked them to turn left, but they’ve simply moved into the left hand lane (and failed to indicate) 😉
They’ve heard ‘left’ – which might be the topic or a key word in the Q, but they’ve missed the command word in the question. And in an exam, *that* is what determines the level of cognitive skill their response needs to be at and is what the mark scheme is centred around.
So, if you’d like to get all the behind-the-scenes info on Command Words, what mark schemes demand aaaaannnnnd get advice on how your teen should prepare for exams, then come join me at my Exam Special – Parent Webinar that I’m running this week, where I’ll be teaching and sharing all this info and (lots!) more.
CLICK HERE to save your digi-seat 🙂
Can’t wait to see you at one of the webinar sessions!