To point you towards some of the many useful resources the OU can offer.
To discuss some key revision techniques.
To practice some questions from previous papers.
To have an opportunity to revise as a group and learn from each other.
James Chapman Guidance
Please refer to the preparing for the exam section by James Chapman on pp. 198-199 of Book Five, for some useful tips on revision.
Revision Techniques - Starting Point
Refer to the OU’s Revising for Examinations website for more detailed guidance.You can find it here: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/revising-exams-and-assessment.php
There is a printable PDF booklet available for free from this site, which has many more useful tips. Look at page 12 of this booklet for a diagram on ‘How to Revise’.
Do not become obsessed with cramming ‘facts’ - better to know the themes and issues than release dates.
Revision Techniques - Summarising
Summarising each block into key themes, facts and arguments can work well. Use the guidelines from the OU Revision website to help you: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/summarising-for-revision.php
Task One: Draw up a grid that lists the course topics for each unit, and then jot down key facts for each one (such as important historical events from the period, major directors, memorable scenes and relevant theoretical approaches).
Revision Techniques - Memorising
The key approach to good memory technique is to make vivid what you want to retain, and preferably interact with other memorable items, events or locations.
You have a major advantage in studying film, as key scenes can form the hook needed to remember your idea.
Memory Techniques - The Loci System
With this technique, you link ideas to vivid images, but imagine them in memorable locations, such as landmarks on your way to work or a friend’s house.
This works well if the location relates to the items being remembered (particularly if in a slightly absurd way, e.g. the interior of your local swimming pool to remind you about Jaws and Steven Spielberg).
A more detailed explanation of this system can be found here: http://mindmodifications.com/2008/02/15/the-loci-system/
And a more general approach to techniques can be found in the Radio 4 Programme Sharpen Your Memory : http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/memory/programmes/sharpen_memory3.shtml
Revision Techniques - Using Case Studies
Remember, you are not being assessed on how many facts and figures you can retain, but on the quality of your arguments.
So practice these with a few short case studies - In other words, watch a few key scenes from films included in your course material and apply the four approaches to them.
Try using http://wrangl.com/ to help formulate arguments
Task Two: Watch an excerpt from Citizen Kane ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzhb3U2cONs ) and give yourself ten minutes to write notes about how to approach this scene from an aesthetic, social, economic and technological perspective. Once completed, work on improving the area(s) you feel are weakest. You can apply this approach to each of the course units, until you are comfortable applying the approaches to a variety of film texts.
The Exam Paper - Regulations
Familiarise yourself with the exam arrangements booklet beforehand
This should have been posted to you but if not you can download it from here: https://intranet-gw.open.ac.uk/studentservices/ea/pages/exam-arrangements.php
The Exam Paper - Past Papers and Structure
You can get past papers from the OUSA webstore ( https://rsm2.rsmsecure.com/ousacart/webstore/store.php?dept_no=9&dept_name=Exam%20Papers%20sent%20by%20Post ) - although a specimen paper is accessible via the course website
Part One - Radio is almost always featured, as is a question about one or more of the four approaches
Part Two - Each of the four national cinemas gets a question
Part Three - All six genres are represented, but as there are only four questions, two will be combined or in the form of an either/or option
The Exam Paper - Practice Test
Task Three: Answer one question from the specimen paper.
Begin by identifying the key elements of the question and writing out a brief plan of the structure of your answer, before beginning the essay in full.
Allow yourself one hour for this task.
The Exam Paper - Key Guidelines
Refer to page 25 of the Revising for Examinations booklet - What Examiners Look For - for guidance on common faults that lose marks
Give equal weight to each of the three parts - i.e. one hour for each essay
Write out a structure for each question and identify it on your paper as your plan - This may help you to gain marks if you run out of time.
Answer your best question first
Support your arguments with good reasoning/evidence
Produce a coherent intro and conclusion for each answer - Refer to the skills for study website for guidance on this: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/introductions-and-conclusions.php
Dealing with Stress
There are some useful audio files on the OU website regarding managing exam and revision stress: http://www.open.ac.uk/skillsforstudy/coping-with-exam-stress.php
Online Tools That May be of Use
There are several online tools that may be able to help you structure and visualise your notes
Timeglider lets you create online timelines - Useful for charting the history of genres/movements
Squrl lets you store collections of online videos - Useful for orgainising short revision clips
Plus there are a variety of web annotation tools available
Plan to do a little bit of revision as often as possible.
Plan time to review your revision notes.
Preparation is the key to relaxation in the exam hall.
Plan to arrive early for your exam and consider alternative routes, just in case.
If you have any further questions, you are welcome to contact me up to the date of your exam - [email_address]
I wish you the best of luck for the exam and for all of your future studies.