Exam excellence

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  • Hi Heather can you send me you pdf book on exam excellence. It is a very good book !
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Exam excellence

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  2. 2. Title Book Name: Exam Excellence: The Ultimate Guide for Improving Exam Performance Book Code: 718 ISBN 13: 978-1-86968-664-2 Published: Previously published in 2006 as Exam Intelligence; this edition 2011 Author Patrick Sherratt (B.A. Psych, PG Dip. Ed) AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the past, it was considered that students should spend around forty hours a week preparing for study – as if being a student was like a full-time job. Today, with the pressures of our contemporary society, many students spend very little time doing study and exam preparation. I hope the information in this study guide will help you to not only improve your exam performance, but also boost your general confidence and self esteem. As a student, I have utilised all these methods personally and they have done a tremendous amount to help me. DEDICATION: To Leigh, for your patience when I was studying for exams. To all students who aspire to do better at exams than what they currently believe possible. Read this book. Acknowledgements The publisher wishes to acknowledge the work of the following people: Original editor, designer: Dana Fratila Designer: Cynthia Packman Editor: Ben Allan PUBLISHER User Friendly Resources New Zealand Australia United Kingdom PO Box 1820 PO Box 914 Staplehurst Road Christchurch Mascot Sittingbourne Tel: 0508-500-393 NSW 2020 Kent Fax: 0508-500-399 Tel: 1800-553-890 ME10 2NH Fax: 1800-553-891 Tel: 0845-450-7502 Fax: 0845-688-0199 WEBSITE www.userfr.com E-MAIL info@userfr.com COPYING NOTICE © User Friendly Resources Limited 2011. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored without the written permission of the copyright owner. Schools or teachers who purchase this publication may make photocopies of all pages of this publication. Such copies may only be used by the purchasing school for its own internal school use, or by the purchasing teacher for use by that teacher within one school. Copies must not be provided to other educational institutions or teachers. User Friendly Resources specialises in publishing educational resources for teachers and students across a wide range of curriculum areas at early childhood, primary and secondary levels. If you wish to know more about our resources, or if you think your resource ideas have publishing potential, please contact us at the above address. 2© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  3. 3. Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Reading Techniques . . . . . . . . . 40 This Book is About… . . . . . . . . . 5 Skim Reading . . . . . . . . . . 40 You Can Do It! . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Study Reading . . . . . . . . . . 40 Speed Reading . . . . . . . . . . 41 Section I: Preparation and Planning 7 Speed Reading Technique . . . . . . 42 Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Test Your Reading Speed . . . . . . . 43 Attitude Questionnaire . . . . . . . 7 Speed-Reading . . . . . . . . . . 43 The Power of Clear & Direct Thought . . . . 9 Study Reading . . . . . . . . . . 43 The Holographic Universe . . . . . . . 10 Note Taking . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Relaxation . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Linear Notes . . . . . . . . . . . 44 The Alpha State . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Princeton Method . . . . . . . 45 Relaxation into the Alpha State . . . . . 11 The Concept Tree . . . . . . . . . 45 Relaxation Techniques . . . . . . . 12 Note Taking Challenge . . . . . . . 46 The Five-Minute Morning Stretch . . . . . 13 The Linear System . . . . . . . . . 46 Mindful Breathing . . . . . . . . . 14 The Princeton Method . . . . . . . 46 Meditation . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Concept Tree . . . . . . . . . 47 Affirmations . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Body Awareness . . . . . . . . . 14 Section III: How to Retain 48 Mental Awareness . . . . . . . . . 15 Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Movement to Music . . . . . . . . 15 Memory Tools . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Professional Relaxation Sessions . . . . 15 Mnemonics . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Fun and Pleasure . . . . . . . . . 15 Spreadsheets . . . . . . . . . . 51 Your Subconscious Mind . . . . . . . . 16 Flash Cards . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Programming for Success . . . . . . . 17 Mind Maps . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Creative Visualisation . . . . . . . . 17 Essay Route Maps . . . . . . . . . 54 Affirmations/Incantations . . . . . . 18 Music and Memory . . . . . . . . 57 Seeding . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Rhyming Challenge . . . . . . . . 57 Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Rehearsing . . . . . . . . . . . 58 The Brain . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Association Links . . . . . . . . . . 59 Functions of the Brain Parts . . . . . . 19 Method of Loci . . . . . . . . . . 59 Did You Know? . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Story Method . . . . . . . . . 59 Brainwaves . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Remembering Numbers . . . . . . . 60 Activating Your Brain . . . . . . . . 22 Remembering Names and Dates Together . 61 Learning Styles . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Remembering Foreign Languages . . . . 61 Learning Style Quiz . . . . . . . . 25 Remembering Vocabulary . . . . . . 62 Thinking Styles . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Spelling . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Learning Methods . . . . . . . . . 26 Science Formulas . . . . . . . . . 63 Our Multi-Intelligences . . . . . . . 27 Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Preparing Your Study Environment . . . . 29 Mathematical Equations . . . . . . . 63 Six tips to set up your ideal Memory Practice . . . . . . . . . . 64 study space . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Cramming for Exams . . . . . . . . . 69 Learning States . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Dealing with Stress . . . . . . . . 69 Identify your current learning state . . . 31 The Top Ten Cramming Tips . . . . . . 70 Setting Your Goals & Intentions . . . . . 32 Students Memorised Exam Sheet . . . . . 71 Time Management . . . . . . . . . 33 Daily Planner . . . . . . . . . . 34 Section IV: How to Recall 73 Weekly Planner . . . . . . . . . . 35 Guidelines for Sitting Exams . . . . . . 73 Timeline Visualisation Technique . . . . 36 Practical Advice . . . . . . . . . . 73 Concentration . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Ask For Help . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Strategise an Exam Plan . . . . . . . . 74 Section II: How to Review 38 Multi-choice . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Using Former Knowledge . . . . . . . 38 Essays . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Listening in Class . . . . . . . . . . 38 What if Something Goes Wrong? . . . . . 76 Seven Rules to Make the Most Nearing the End of the Exam . . . . . 76 out of Listening in Class . . . . . . . 39 Celebrate! . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . 78 3© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only.
  4. 4. Introduction In recent years, the word ‘intelligence’ has taken on a broad meaning. No longer is it thought of as just being good academically. Mind researcher Howard Gardner suggests an individual can develop many types of intelligence: physical intelligence, verbal intelligence, even interpersonal intelligence, to name a few. This study guide suggests ways in which students can develop specific learning strategies to help them acquire Exam Excellence. Thus, doing well at exams is not just about being ‘smart’ academically; it is also about learning and using exam-skills that make the best use of the time you spend studying for and sitting exams. It seems to me that despite so many wonderful time-saving technologies, people are busier than ever. Saving you time, therefore, is an essential aspect of this study guide and that is why this book offers you many time-saving techniques that are also presented in an easily readable timesaving format. Whether you want to explore different learning styles, improve your memory recall or reduce exam anxiety, this book will give you the information quickly and easily. Overall, this study guide provides a kit of resources that can lead you to successfully improve your exam results. Even if you only put into practice some of this information, you will have the potential to dramatically improve your final grades. I wish you every success. 4© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  5. 5. This Book is About…Exam Excellence is a study guide designed to give you all the informationyou need to learn and to pass exams with great results. Here is an overviewof the entire book.SECTION I – Preparation and PlanningHelp your brain study quickly and effortlessly Key Points• Acknowledge your purpose for studying. Your purpose will influence SECTION I your thoughts and intentions and these can modify the reality around Preparation and you and bring the results you want. With the right thoughts, your Planning academic success is assured. – that is finding out• How do you programme your thoughts? Learn to access your how we can create subconscious mind, where memory and learning take place. You can the best conditions do this by: for increasing the – Relaxing. Relaxation techniques include learning to juggle, stretching efficiency of our and breathing, meditation and movement to music. Relaxation will learning Key Points induce the alpha state, which is the brainwave frequency required when you programme your mind for effective learning. – Using visualisations, affirmations, seeding and music.• It is also useful to have information about the levels of brain wave frequency, the functions of the different parts of the brain, and its needs (exercise, food, water and air) in order to operate efficiently.• Learning environments and styles are next, covering the visual, auditory, analytical and kinaesthetic (movement) modes of learning. Similarly, your multi-intelligences show you why you are better at some things and not others.Carefully prepare yourself for learning• Once this inner review is complete, there are more practical methods of preparation, including organising your study space, setting your goals and intentions, planning your activities, time management and the timeline strategy for reducing stress.SECTION II – How to Review SECTION II• Learn how to listen in class, read and take notes efficiently. How to Review• Use former knowledge when studying, along with how to concentrate more effectively. – that is learning how we take theOnce your information is sourced, you can move into understanding how to information in.remember it. 5© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  6. 6. Key Points SECTION III – How to Retain • Learning takes memory, so it is important to know about how you SECTION III remember and how short- and long-term memory operate. Much How to Retain of the information you take in can be lost or forgotten, so specific memory aids, such as using mnemonics, mind maps and flash cards – that is how are vital to your success. Techniques for remembering numbers, we remember names and dates, vocabulary – both English and foreign languages information – and science formulas are also important. Practise using memory effectively. tests to build your confidence. SECTION IV – How to Recall SECTION IV Finally, as you near exam time, tips for effective cramming and ways to How to Recall deal with stress are offered. – that is how we • General guidelines for getting yourself organised to sit the exam get information on are important now. to paper under the pressure of exam • Next, exam strategies for how to answer multi-choice questions, stress. write essays, and deal with events if something goes wrong are identified. Tips on what to do as the exam finishes are offered and finally, after the exam, the importance of celebrating your success is explained. You Can Do It! This study guide has been specifically designed to save students time. It will not give you screeds of reading and academic summaries. As a student, you are already bound to be overloaded with information to read. This book, therefore, also gives you the choice about how much time you will devote to the main text. It has been designed so that the inside page is the general text and the outside gives quick-access visuals and key points. This way, it becomes two books in one. You can get the time-saving techniques quickly by Key looking through the outside column and if you want more in-depth Points knowledge, you can spend more time on the inside. Furthermore, if you want to delve deeper into a topic, there are great websites recommended for each topic at the end of the book. Examples, Challenges, Quizzes and Questionnaires will help you practise what you learn, while the Learning Spellbook, will point out very important information on each topic and marvellous learning tips will sprout from the Tip Of The Wand. 6© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  7. 7. SECTION I: Preparation and Planning PurposeOne of the most important aspects of studying is a clearly definedsense of purpose. Sometimes a student’s purpose is not clear and this Key Pointscan have a major impact on their motivation to learn. Do you have a strong sense of As with everything in life, you get out of learning what purpose? you put in. So if you want to do well, take some It is important to time to look at why you are studying, what your know what your motivation is, and what your intentions are purpose is so that you once you have finished your study. can maintain your drive to succeed – especially when theSome students are studying because they do not really know what else going gets tough!to do with their lives. Some do it because that is what their parentsexpect of them; others are working for specific reasons, for example to Do the questionnaireup-skill or to prepare for higher education. Each of these reasons can below to get a clearinfluence the result. idea of your purpose. Attitude Questionnaire Finding your purpose for wanting to achieve something is important because it identifies why you want it, what drives you, and what keeps you going when faced with difficulties. To help you get clear on your purpose, answer the following questions Rate on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the highest) how motivated you are to succeed at your studies. If you are in the lower half, it may be helpful to redefine your purpose and reasons for doing this. 1 Why are you studying? (For example: To get good marks.) Rate: _______________________________________________________________________ ______ 2 Does your purpose motivate you to study? (For example: Yes. I am totally committed to doing this work!) _______________________________________________________________________ ______ 3 What is your intention once you have finished? (For example: To go to university.) _______________________________________________________________________ ______ 4 What are you prepared to give up in order to stay on purpose? (For example: Watching television until exams are over.) _______________________________________________________________________ ______ 5 Are you aware of any limiting attitudes or beliefs about undertaking academic study? (For example: I am only doing this to please my parents.) _______________________________________________________________________ ______ 7© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  8. 8. SECTION I Preparation and PlanningPhotocopy these and put them up around your study area as a little reminder. I’m going to stop procrastinating and… STAY ON PuRPOSE! STAY ON PuRPOSE! 8© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  9. 9. SECTION I Preparation and Planning The Power of Clear & Direct ThoughtEach of us interacts with people, places and events. This is each person’souter world. At the same time, we have our thoughts, attitudes and Key Pointsemotions, which make our inner world. You live inThe first thing we need to do is become aware of each of these two two worldsworlds we live in and try to keep them separate, so that we can gain simultaneously.control over the way we react to the often rapid changes outside You can think of yourourselves. outer world as being a reflection of your inner world. Challenge By harnessing the Take a look at this. power of your clear and directed thoughts, you can achieve remarkable results in your life. Now imagine that each of the two sentences below goes into the thought bubble. Which of them would give you more power to control the outer world to your advantage and stay on purpose? Discuss. 1 “...My inner world is a reflection of my outer world...” 2 “...My outer world is a reflection of my inner world...”Constant reaction to exterior changes does not give us much peace, butif we can learn to separate the two worlds, to stop reacting to all theseevents and think of the outer world as a reflection of our inner world,we will start to develop a remarkable power.This is the power of clear and directed thought – the same power thatcan produce exactly what we want in our lives. Therefore, the momentwe stop reacting is the moment we start creating – and, as students,we want to create better learning and exam skills. 9© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  10. 10. SECTION I Preparation and Planning The Holographic universe The concepts of positive thinking and mind power have been Key Points around for quite some time, and for many people they have brought remarkable results. This new millennium will bring many changes to Science has our lives, with technological advances and advances in understanding researched a theory human consciousness and our interaction with reality. Today, science according to which is beginning to explain how our thoughts affect our reality through the universe is theoretical models. one limitless sea of energy that can New discoveries in Quantum Physics suggest that true reality is energy be manipulated by – dynamic, alive and ever changing at a quantum level. Our brains our thoughts and interpret this energy through our senses to create a perception of intentions. reality that is three-dimensional. If this is true and we Two prominent European scientists, Dr David Bohm and Dr Karl can influence our Pribram, are working on a theory according to which our three- reality, what are your dimensional reality is actually an illusion – more a holographic image intentions towards interpreted by our brains. This holographic model, which can be studying for exams? understood as a complex set of conventions, becomes the basis that helps us create – and coexist with – our reality. If everything in the universe is one limitless, interconnected sea of energy, then our individual consciousness, being part of it, is also energy. Therefore, by shifting the energy of our consciousness through Manipulating directing our thoughts and intentions at a quantum level, we can reality is a piece manipulate the energy of our outer world so that it reflects back the reality of our choice. of cake! So what? Well, under this model, understanding the power of our intentions is vital to anything we want to achieve in our lives – and that includes improving in exams. If thought influences reality, have you analysed your thoughts about studying and exams yet? Go on, do it now. I shall study My exams will 10© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  11. 11. SECTION I Preparation and Planning RelaxationThe Alpha State Key PointsBefore you can start programming your thoughts for success, you need Learning to relax isto know how to relax into an Alpha State. vital if you want toThe Alpha State brings your brainwaves to 8–12 cycles per second. This improve your learningstate is an essential key to improving learning and exam techniques for and exam results.two reasons: Relaxation helps1 It unlocks the door to your subconscious mind, which is where most you access your of your effective learning will take place. subconscious mind,2 It can help you reduce stress during exams. which aids memory and helps you reduce stress, especially during exams. Relaxation into the Alpha State Because of the mind- Here is one way you can relax quickly. body link, when you 1 Sit in a comfortable position with your hands on your lap, one relax your body, you cupping the other, facing upwards. relax your mind. Close your eyes and roll your eyeballs up twenty degrees. (This is the position they go when you are sleeping and tricks the brain into thinking it is time to relax for sleep.) Imagine you are looking at the centre of your forehead. Breathe deeply into your stomach, without expanding your chest. Inhale through your nose and gently out through your mouth. Feel your weight in the chair, paying attention for a moment to any tension, aches or pains in your body. Let them go as you breathe out. 2 Now visualise a memory of a time in your life when you felt incredibly relaxed. It could have been a holiday scene. If you cannot remember, create a scene in your mind of the most relaxing time you can imagine. Perhaps you are sitting in a hot bath. Bring in as much detail as possible. As you visualise this scene, start affirming to yourself, “relax, relax, relax”, over and over, slowly and deeply. Feel your body becoming increasingly relaxed as you go through this process. Because of the bodymind link, as you relax your body, your brainwaves will begin to slow down. This is what you want in order to enter your subconscious mind. After a few minutes, you should reach a reasonable level of relaxation. 3 Now return to the room by opening your eyes. You can reach this state of relaxation again, simply by sitting in a comfortable position, cupping your hands, breathing deeply, imagining your relaxing situation and affirming to yourself the words, “relax, relax”. The more often you do it, the more easily and quickly you will find that space in the future. Practise for five to ten minutes a day for at least 30 days. This will help make it habitual and part of your life. 11© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  12. 12. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Relaxation Techniques Key Points There are a number of great general relaxation exercises that you can employ immediately to Practise some of the help you relax during your day. The following relaxation techniques are some easily learned practical examples. given here, so that You could also consider more structured you can improve your alternatives such as Yoga or Tai Chi classes. learning ability and reduce stress. Juggling Learning to juggle is Buy some juggling balls from the local a great way to centre toyshop and teach yourself this enjoyable your mind and let hobby. The process of juggling brings in go of any worrying hand-eye co-ordination and mind-body thoughts. co-ordination. By being totally focused in this enjoyable way, you free your mind from thinking about stressful thoughts or worries. Try a stretching and Stretching / Breathing breathing technique. How often do you consciously stretch and Stretch and breathe breathe when you get up in the morning? through all your body By gearing your body up in this way, you from your head down feel brighter and more alert, ready to face to your toes. the day. Follow the sequence of stretches on the next page for five minutes every morning and you will be surprised at how bright and alert Tip of the Wand you feel – even if you Stretching and breathing are not a morning exercises can be performed outside of the comfort of your home. person! Find a moment in a break at school to shake out your arms and legs, or stretch your neck and back. You can do it even while you are sitting down, at a desk or in the car (provided it is stationary). Try to become more in tune with your body and what it needs. It can tell you what it needs – if you find time and stillness to listen. 12© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  13. 13. SECTION I Preparation and Planning The Five-Minute Morning Stretch Sit down on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Take some deep breaths, right down into your stomach. Put your awareness into your breathing throughout the exercise to help you stay focused in the present moment. Move your ankles around, stretching them forwards and backwards. Wriggle your knees. Move your Now move your Turn your hands around head slowly shoulders up to stretch your wrist from side to and down and joints. Raise your arms side, then up then loosely above your head and and down – move your clasp your hands. As stretching arms around. you stretch, feel your your neck. shoulders release. Massage your face Open your eyes wide and move them and scalp from side to side and up and down. Bring your right foot to your with your pelvis and lean forward over hands. Move your jaw. Try making some your left leg. Hold the stretch noise while you do this. for 15 seconds and then do the same on the other side. Spread your legs wide out in Return your legs out in front of you and lean front and lean forward slightly forward, stretching over them, gently the inner thighs. stretching your lower back. Bring your left leg up by bending your knee and placing the foot over your right leg. Turn your upper body around to the right, stretching by placing the outside of your left arm against the outside of your right knee. Do the same twisting to the left. Stretch your back the other way by raising your buttocks up to stand in an Now release, relax and turn over, inverted ‘V’ on your hands and feet. lying on your stomach. Arch your Feel the stretch in your calves. back by raising your upper body Let your head hang loosely between your shoulders. up with your arms. Breathe deeply, lower, relax, then repeat three times. When you have finished, sit quietly on your knees for a few moments, breathing deeply again and being aware of your body. 13© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  14. 14. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Mindful Breathing Key Points Have you noticed that when you are concentrating, feeling nervous, or afraid, you reduce your breathing? Mindful breathing is a vital tool to Breathing exercises help reduce stressful situations. for relaxation are A good breathing exercise is to register the in-breath and the out- very effective. breath. Pay attention to the rhythm and flow of your breathing. Where Become more aware does the air fill first – the chest or the stomach region? How long is the of your breathing gap between breaths? Is it longer on the in- or the out-breath? patterns and try the techniques When you are in a stressful situation, always take a number of deep mentioned here. breaths. Try to breathe out longer on the out-breath than when you breathed in. Count to yourself – up to four on the in-breath and up to eight on the out-breath (or any count using a ratio of 1:2). On the out-breath let the tension and emotion you are feeling go with it. Make some movement and noise too, if it feels appropriate. Meditation Some people believe that meditation is about spending hours sitting in serious contemplation or humming “AUM” for some mountain guru in India. Others practise meditation by simply walking in the countryside. Any quiet time that frees your mind from thoughts and worries can be classed as meditation. Even if only for a few minutes, try to clear your thoughts and bring your mind to a resting state. Being totally focused in the present moment calms the mind and brings in a stillness that can also help alleviate stress. Affirmations Cup your hands over your eyes to make it One simple exercise you can do, when you need to relax, is to place the dark. This tricks your palms of your hands over your eyes to create darkness. This tricks the brain into thinking brain into thinking it is night time and signals it is time to sleep. Now it is night time and repeat to yourself a relaxing affirmation, e.g. “peace... peace... peace....” signals the body to Remember to always breathe deeply and feel your body relax. relax. Body Awareness How long can you keep your body still? Lie on your back with your arms and legs slightly apart. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine your whole body relaxing. Move in your mind’s eye through your body from your feet to your head, relaxing each part as you go. When you feel as relaxed as you can get, stay lying there as still as you can for at least three minutes. If your body becomes tense or fidgety, stop the exercise and try again later. 14© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  15. 15. SECTION I Preparation and PlanningMental AwarenessAnother exercise you can try is to help you realise just how much timeyou spend thinking thoughts you may not even be aware of. Take your Key Pointswatch and look at the seconds turning. Concentrate only on them and Try this mentalsee how long you can go before your mind thinks about something awareness exercise toelse. Can you make 30 seconds, a minute or even two minutes? Just see how much controlhow short is your concentration span? you have over yourThere are many meditative exercises you can do that will help you thoughts.to relax. Find out about meditation classes from your local library ornatural healing centre.Movement to MusicFree creative movement to music is an enjoyable exercise. Put on somemusic that feels appropriate to the type of mood you are in. Close youreyes and let your body move with the music – but not to it. Your bodyknows how it wants to move and that may not be to the beat or rhythmof the music. Let your soul express itself. It may be just lying on yourback, moving a hand, or anything you want. Free-dance movement to musicProfessional Relaxation Sessions is a wonderful way to release stress. DoTreat yourself to regular relaxation sessions. Therapeutic Massage it in private and letor Aromatherapy, for example, can do wonders to your self-esteem, yourself go wild!confidence and general outlook on life. Because the body and mindare so integrated, keeping your body relaxed has a positive effect onyour mind. Give yourself a regular therapeutic massage.Fun and Pleasure Bodywork of this nature is beneficialFinally, it is important to give yourself plenty of time for fun and mentally, emotionally,pleasure. Ask yourself these questions. How much fun do I have in my physically andlife? Do I have balance in my life, or am I spending all my time studying? spiritually.Do I need to find new ways to enjoy myself? What did I do for fun as achild? Fly kites or go to a sports game? Would I like to do these thingsagain—to let my ‘inner-child’ express itself? If you have veryYou could start a night class or take up a new hobby, just for fun—and little fun in yourit is a good way to meet new and interesting people. Get out into the life, perhaps youparks and the countryside. Learn to appreciate your surroundings more. could create more.Acquire a pet—having a dog or cat can allow you to be playful. Invite Get some cluesfriends over more often. Go out dancing. There are plenty of ways, if from the things youyou take time to think about it. enjoyed during your childhood. 15© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  16. 16. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Your Subconscious Mind Some scientists say that our personality, self-image, beliefs, values and Key Points long-term memories are stored in the subconscious mind. They believe it is the subconscious that is needed for improving learning. Accelerated learning programmes Many years ago, a Bulgarian scientist named Georgi Lazanov realised are founded on the importance of the subconscious mind in learning, after he found the belief that our he was getting remarkable results with teaching students foreign subconscious mind languages. This was the beginning of accelerated learning programmes. plays a big part in Sandy MacGregor, an Australian personal and professional developing learning development trainer, thinks that between the conscious and and memory. subconscious minds there is a filter controlled by the conscious mind. To access the This filter allows information to pass into your subconscious mind and subconscious long-term memory. However, up to 80% may not get through. This is mind you need because the filter opens only when you are relaxed – in the Alpha or to be relaxed so Theta State (see Brainwaves on page 21). Furthermore, if you are not information can pass interested in the topic you are learning, the filter is less likely to open. through to it. You have to trick your mind into accepting the information by using, Think of the for example, positive affirmations, such as “I am really enjoying learning subconscious as a this…”, while consciously relaxing. garden that needs tending. You need to plant your thought seeds and nurture You see, the subconscious mind is also them to grow into like a garden. You need to plant seeds your personal – ‘thought seeds’ of what you want to academic goals. achieve. If you continue to feed them and pay attention to them, they will sprout and grow into a wonderful garden you call your life. You plant seeds by using specific mind/body techniques such as relaxation and thought control. You can plant whatever thought seeds you want because your subconscious mind does not know the difference between fact and fiction. You are limited only by the extent of your imagination. 16© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  17. 17. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Programming for SuccessCreative Visualisation Key PointsThis is probably the most popular mind-power technique for creating Hold a vivid visionyour reality. Famous actors, Olympic athletes, even successful students of exactly what youwill swear that this method has helped them achieve incredible results. want to achieve.A pioneer in the field of personal growth and consciousness whose Spend ten minutesmany books have sold millions of copies in over thirty languages, programming yourShakti Gawain, describes visualisation as using your imagination to subconscious mind,mentally rehearse something you want to obtain or achieve that has twice a day – beforenot happened yet. you go to bed and when you wake upFor example, say you want to be calm and relaxed during your exams. in the morning. It’s aYou would close your eyes, breathe deeply to relax then, after a few powerful techniqueminutes, see yourself in the exam room looking and it really works!calm and relaxed. Research has also shown that visualisation works well when imaginingYou could imagine yourself the process neededsmiling as you work through to achieve a result.the paper, easily recalling all See yourself sitting down doing the studythe information you need preparation for exams.to get a great mark. Whatwould you like, 70% – 80%, The goal is more likelywhy not more? Bring in as to be realised whenmuch detail as you can. See the you not only visualiselayout of the room, the people your outcome butaround you, and yourself as you you also visualisediligently work away. Make it so real the steps needed tothat you could almost be there now. When you accomplish it.have completed your visualisation, repeat it over every day, if only for a Visualisation has afew minutes. When the day actually arrives, you would have been there physiological effectin your mind so many times that you will feel exactly as you imagined – on your body becausecalm and relaxed. your brain does not know the difference between what is real and what is vividly imagined. Mentally rehearse your ideal exam situation to condition your body to be calm and relaxed during exam time. 17© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  18. 18. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Affirmations/Incantations Key Points From a metaphysical perspective, where everything in the universe is energy, Decree your the power of the spoken thought desires out loud in a is another important tool for private place. Notice manifesting the reality you desire. the effect doing Strong and concentrated spoken this has on your thoughts alter your physiology and physiology. help motivate you towards your goal. Affirmations work Try decreeing aloud at the top of your well when they are voice! short, catchy and To accompany your visualisations in an stated in the positive. exam situation, what would you say to Seeding adds yourself? Positive self-talk is essential the element of and makes all the difference. How about: feeling into your “I am clear, calm and confident”. programming. Never affirm what you do not want, Music enhances the such as “I do not want to be nervous”. intensity of your If you find you are saying negative programming. remarks about yourself, try wearing a rubber band on your left wrist and To programme and giving it a sharp flick if negativity power-up your mind creeps in. for success, you can use visualisations, affirmations, seeding Seeding and music together. The third technique to accompany visualisations is seeding. Seeding is energising your thoughts with emotion. What do you want to feel in this exam room? Can you generate a feeling of confidence, for example, as you see and hear yourself doing well in the exam? The strength of the emotion you bring to your imagined situation will increase the power of your intent Remember, it is intention that creates reality. Music A great way to empower your thoughts is to use music. Many people use emotive music, visualisations, affirmations and seeding together to programme their subconscious for exactly what it is they desire. The music increases the emotional intensity and strength of the programming, making it much more effective. Specific types of music, such as classical Baroque, help slow the brainwaves to access the subconscious mind and generate a state of calm alertness. This is the ideal state for studying new material. 18© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  19. 19. SECTION I Preparation and Planning The BrainTo understand how we take information in, it is useful to know a little about the physiological make-upof our brain and brainwaves. Scientists have proven through brain scans that we use different sides of thebrain for different functions. The cortical brain covers the mid-brain and is the Functions of the Brain Parts most evolved section. This enables us to think and reason, set goals and think abstractly. This sets us apart from other animals. Noted for its grey colour, it controls the use of language and other responses received through the senses. The CORTICAL BRAIN (neocortex) enables us to think, reason and problem-solve. con Corpus Callosum . nects eres the two hemisph The left hemisphere is more The right hemisphere is more conscious, orderly, logical, subconscious, creative, imaginative, systematic and analytical. artistic, musical and spatial, and it processes information much faster Responsible for: than the left. LOGIC Responsible for: IMAGINATION LANGUAGE MUSIC MATHEMATICS ART SEQUENTIAL PATTERNS The MID-BRAIN contains the: - thalamus - hypo-thalamus - limbic system. The thalamus receives sensory information (except smell) and passes it on to the cerebral cortex. The BRAIN STEM (reptilian The hypothalamus controls bodily needs like hunger, thirst brain) The limbic system controls our and temperature. This keeps the emotions and motivation. It plays brain and the rest of the body a key role in long-term memory supplied with vital survival needs. and learning.The brain stem controls instinctual drives and responses, such as breathing and heart-rate. It is connected to the spinal cord. It takescare of information from our senses and coordinates the instinctive movements of the body that are used for our safety and survival.In states of extreme stress, the reptilian brain would become active, blocking access to higher parts of the brain. This is anotherreason why we need to find strategies to reduce stress if we want to study and learn effectively. 19© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  20. 20. SECTION I Preparation and PlanningDid You Know? ChallengeThe cortex contains billions Now check your left hemisphere’s performance and try to highlightof neurons (brain cells) the key points of this topic.that are connected to eachother by tree-like branches There are three primary parts of our brain, which have evolvedcalled axons and dendrites. over time:A person is born with • The brain stem (or ________________________) is the oldestapproximately 100 and controls _______________________________ .billion neurons, andthe number of dendrite • The mid-brain holds the limbic system, responsible for ___connections increases to ____________________________________________. Otherup to twenty thousand asthe brain processes more parts include the_______________________, which works withinformation – that is, as a bodily needs, and the thalamus, which receives _____________person learns. ________________________________.As you learn moreinformation, a • The forebrain (or cortical brain, or ___________ ) coversphysiological change the _________________ and enables us to ___________,is happening inside ___________________ and _______________________your head. Your brain iscreating more dendritic Effective learning occurs when we use _______________connections, making it hemisphere(s) of the brain.easier for you to learn and For example, have you noticed how easy it is to learn andremember as time passes. remember the words (logical/left) of a song (musical/right)?Learning to learn is likeany new skill you take on. Are you more artistic/musical (right-side dominant) or logical/Practice makes perfect! analytical (left-side dominant)?__________ What makes you think so? Tip of the Wand • Our education system has tended to use the left hemisphere more and generally our left sides are more dominant, but researchers are now aware that in order to have more effective learning, both sides need to be developed equally. This can be done through specific exercises such as problem solving or cross-lateral exercises known as ‘brain gym’, which are discussed later. • It is possible for everyone to enhance his or her intellectual capacity by stimulating the brain with learning. New information is passed through the brain cells by an electro/chemical process, and the movement of this energy is what creates brainwaves. (See next page.) 20© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  21. 21. SECTION I Preparation and PlanningBrainwaves Electro-chemical energy moving as new Key Points information passes through brain cells There are four main and creates brainwaves brainwave states: beta waves are usedResearchers believe brainwaves function with four main frequencies of in our normal stateelectrical energy. of alertness; alpha waves are created1 Beta Waves (13 – 25 cycles per second) are used in our normal when we are relaxed awakened state. All our senses are operating at this frequency and yet alert; theta waves these waves also direct our short-term memory while attending to begin when we are daily activities. exceptionally relaxed;2 Alpha Waves (8 –12 cycles per second) are generated when we and delta waves are are in a relaxed yet alert state, being still aware of our outside the slowest and occur surroundings. This is the ideal state to learn in. during sleep.3 Theta Waves (4 – 7 cycles per second) emerge when we are deeply When studying, relaxed. This state can be reached through meditation or deep place yourself in daydreaming, and it is beneficial for enhancing creativity and alpha state, ideal problem solving. Long-term memory is easily accessed in theta, for receiving and which is what hypnotists use in therapy. remembering new information.4 Delta Waves (0.5 – 3 cycles per second) are the slowest waves and usually occur when we are sleeping. At this time, only the automatic functions of the brain are required to keep the life-support systems operating. Tip of the Wand Ideally, all learning should take place in a relaxed state that accesses alpha (and theta) brainwaves. In alpha state, the Reticular Activating Filter will allow information to flow more freely into long-term memory. With deeper relaxation, in theta state, you can draw on greater inspiration and creativity. 21© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  22. 22. SECTION I Preparation and Planning Activating Your Brain Key Points To activate properly, your brain needs exercise, food, water and air. If you are feeling Exercise for your Brain drowsy while With everything that goes on in our lives, it is easy to get tired, stressed studying, you could or anxious, especially when there is a mountain of study and exams do some brain looming. Brain gym helps you prime your brain for learning by relaxing exercises to wake your body and strengthening your mind. Brain researcher Dr Paul yourself up. Dennison created brain gym (also called Educational Kinesiology™) as a Try cross-lateral system of simple body movements that also stimulate the brain. These movements such as movements get both sides of the brain synchronised and help slow the touching your left brainwaves down. knee with your right elbow and vice versa. Try stretching The three main types of brain gym movements: movements such as 1 Any cross-lateral movements of the arms or legs that those discussed in the synchronise the left and right hemispheres of the section on relaxation. brain, such as walking, dancing or juggling. Try Try energising lifting your knee up to touch your opposite elbow, movements such as and then do the same on the other side. Repeat this opening your eyes exercise six times. wide and moving 2 Any lengthening and stretching movements that your eyeballs about release tension and aid relaxation, such as those while taking some described in the relaxation section. deep breaths. 3 Energising movements that help increase concentration, such as opening the eyes wide and moving the eyeballs from side to side and up and down while breathing deeply. For best results, it is preferable to do brain gym exercises from each group until you feel ready to proceed. Food for your Brain In The Brain: The Last Frontier (1979), Richard Restak talks about the importance of keeping our brain well fed, watered and oxygenated. Because our brains use an electrochemical process to operate, it has been found that good nutrition enhances brain activity. In order to remain mentally sharp, we need to keep our brains well fed, as energy is received from sugar compounds created in our bodies from the food we eat. Therefore, it is important to keep our blood sugar levels up to maintain our concentration and motivation especially through times of study and exams. Here are a few tips to consider. Never eat large 22© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents
  23. 23. SECTION I Preparation and Planningmeals before study times. This draws energy for digestion and leavesyou feeling drowsy. Instead, eat smaller meals and frequent snacks Key Points– fruit, vegetables, nutty snacks, seeds and cereals. A good breakfast Remember to eatthat includes these complex carbohydrates is also recommended for well and take smallera balanced diet. The old saying, “You are what you eat”, is certainly meals before studyrelevant when it comes to studying. times. Fruit andWater for your Brain vegetables, which are high in water, areAlthough we draw our energy from food, effective brain functioning good.comes from drinking plenty of water. Our brain dehydrates quickly.Even without being thirsty, we can lose concentration and motivation. Drink plenty of waterWhile studying, always keep a water bottle handy and try to drink up to to keep your braintwo litres a day. If you cannot drink this much, supplement your water hydrated.intake with plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are high in water Supplements suchcontent. Stay away from high sugar energy drinks if you can. as Omega 3 fish oil capsules are good forAir for your Brain brain development. ItOur brain also needs plenty of oxygen in order to keep functioning is worth consulting aeffectively. One quarter of our oxygen intake goes to supply the brain. naturopath or healthIt is easy to begin feeling drowsy during study time. If you are hunched food professional forover a desk or sitting at a computer for hours on end, your breathing more suggestions.will be shallow. To stop yourself feeling drowsy, sit up straight and If you feel yourselfdo some deep breathing down into your stomach. Do this without becoming drowsy,expanding your chest. check to see if there isMake sure you get the residue air out of your lungs. A good way to a window nearby sodo this is to breathe in through the nose for a count of four, hold it for that you can open itsixteen seconds and then breathe out through the mouth for a count and get some air.of eight. This will re-oxygenate your brain and help you become more Breathing out foralert. Repeat this process ten times, and then return to your study. longer than you breathed in is a great technique to help you become more alert. If you can hold your breath in between, Tip of the Wand it is even more • When we concentrate during energising. study time, we tend to use shallow breathing. Remember Try using a ratio of to take some deep breaths from time to time. 1:4:2. That is, if the • Exercising regularly is also another good way to re-oxygenate in breath count is the blood. Walking, running, dancing – any physical exercise four, the hold will be for at least twenty minutes, several times a week – will keep sixteen and the out your brain effective and alert. breath will be eight. 23© User Friendly Resources. Copying permitted by purchasing school only. Contents

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