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Home » Education » Final exam – how do I best prepare for it?

Final exam – how do I best prepare for it?

Final exam - how do I best prepare for it?
Final exam - how do I best prepare for it?

It’ll be done soon. The traineeship is coming to an end – accompanied by the everyday school preparation and the stress of the final exam, the heart rate is significantly higher and the nights are sleepless – but it is the last few meters of the way and the goal is within reach.

Dealing with exam stress and everyday school life

When the exam period is approaching and you have to devote a lot of time to the exam in addition to the normal lesson preparation, it is not uncommon that a feeling of desperation spreads and one would like to give up everything. At least that was the case for some fellow trainees and for me. As I have already mentioned several times, it makes sense in every situation in life to always take a deep breath when you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. And when you have taken a deep breath, take a break. Because mostly there is no point in continuing to work at the same moment. Take a lap around the block or get motivated to exercise. Have a cup of tea in peace and do nothing.

As far as everyday class preparation is concerned, invest as much time as necessary and as little as possible. It is not a shame to work through tasks from the book or that the students spend an hour on a worksheet – the students usually find that “completely okay”. You are still in training and not every hour has to be “the hour of your life”, the exam preparation just goes on during this time. Use the daily lessons to try out or practice certain methods again – because it is precisely during this time that you can still sound out whether Z. B. a method is already well mastered by the learning group or what material you still have to repeat or expand on for exam planning.

If a good friend is completing the legal clerkship at the same time – you couldn’t ask for a nicer gift at that time. For example, I was very fortunate to be able to plan and prepare not only history lessons during the entire legal traineeship, but also the exam in this subject together with one of my closest friends. We made an appointment every week and exchanged ideas and together we developed the series for everyday school life and also the hours for the exam. And the exam time seems a little less bad.

Must Read: Mindfulness in Everyday Teaching: Ten Simple Ideas

The fact is: You can’t avoid the stress in the clerkship and especially during the exam period. Set specific goals for a day or week and motivate yourself with a small reward when you have achieved your set goals: One (or if you want to get really wild) two episodes of your favorite series or a film. If you can relax, cook your favorite dish or – if you are little lazy people like me – order something from your favorite delivery service. Go on a weekend trip, meet up with friends and do something. After the work is done, do something that gives you energy.

When do I start preparing?

About half a year before the examination period, I was given the date of my exam (with reservations). But even if that is not the case for everyone: Just by the fact that you are not sitting alone in the seminars, you will hear the question for the first time a year in advance: “Do you already know what you are showing in the exam?”

Whether for half a year or a whole year – it sounds like a long time, but you will be surprised how quickly the days go by and the big day is just around the corner. My recommendation is therefore to start planning at least six months before the examination period – whether alone or with friends. By that I don’t mean that you should have finished typing the exact course schedule and the drafts for the exam, but that you might write down your first ideas and thoughts on a scrap sheet, notepad or in a secret diary: Which topic will I be involved with? be of the class? What interesting topics and questions come to mind spontaneously? Which method is good for this?

But as in all situations in life, there is no recipe for this either. But experience has shown that it is advisable not to start thinking about the two exam hours until a week before the exam – this also applies to those who think that they work better under pressure. However, since you have to submit the alleged topic to the advanced seminar leader a few weeks in advance, you will probably waste a thought or two on it (nothing is set in stone and you can, for example, change questions, but at least the rough topic should already be specified).

How do I prepare for it?

As already described above, it makes sense to orientate yourself roughly during the exam hours and then to further concretize the loose ideas. A few food for thought can help:

  • Which competence of the subject should the students develop in each of these 45 minutes? There must be a clear reference to the framework curriculum!
  • What is the specific learning objective / learning product of the lesson? How can you contribute with material and method that your students achieve the learning goal in a very short time?
  • How do I show this development? Are you able to explain what the students have learned at the end, what they could not (yet) do at the beginning of the lesson or to what extent they have developed the competence you have chosen?
  • When developing individual skills, think carefully beforehand who in your learning groups corresponds to the minimum, standard and maximum standard and how you can show the extent to which the respective students have fulfilled the learning goal you are aiming for in the lesson. There must be a clear increase in learning!
  • Tries to arouse the interest or ambition of the students: I have often heard that it goes down very well when the examiners see that the students are discussing the topic authentically in the final phase and are looking for a solution or answer and exchange ideas. Because that is exactly what good teaching should ideally lead to!

Thoughts on exam evaluation

It always helps enormously to exchange ideas with colleagues and to talk to them about certain lesson plans; through years of experience in the job, they can assess certain aspects more realistically or, if they happen to know the main examiner, give you tips on what they think they should pay particular attention to during the exam hours. But be careful: The judgment of your colleagues or department heads is no guarantee that it will be your very best hour according to the examiners. Unfortunately and fortunately, the examiners at the exam are only people who have a better or worse day, and who, depending on the case, have a minor error or who are also dropped under the table when the lesson is basically running. Opinions are divided about the transparency of the evaluation and I understand if some feel that they have been treated unfairly, if the grade does not correspond to their own assessment in their eyes. As described in my article on grading, the assessment remains something objective and is somewhat relativized in the exam in that four people give the grade together, which the examiners achieve thanks to their many years of experience in the teaching profession. This should also be kept in mind.