Scoring A 100% Exam Mark

Source of motivation

After taking a moment tracking my original source of motivation in ‘numbers’, i have realised that it all started ten years back, in 2003, end of January, when i was doing my Form 3, Ordinary level (10th grade) – i scored a 90% mark in a formative Mathematics class test. Despite  the test having a mark of out 20, it seems to be the source of all the inspiration i have when it comes to calculations. There is much i learnt from that test mark [while other learners were still recalling their Dec-Jan holiday moments, i put much effort towards the test hoping to build a future in education – i am a testimony as, surely, i am slowly building this and its coming up in good shape].

All the confidence i have when it comes to calculations was born in that particular test – i enrolled Advanced level mathematics in 2005 with boldness which was brought from the test and i made it as well. In my Ordinary level, i got an ‘A’ and a ‘C’ at an Advanced level (13th grade) – this was not common in my rural areas. The principle i relied on was ‘not to use statistics of the previous learners‘ performance to determine my outcome – i am unique. This turned to be the reality and i still base on this same principle. I do not feel a challenge to set a target in scoring a 100% mark in a test even in summative tests which at times weigh up to 40% towards the whole module mark. With a basic principle which guide me, i am always certain in attaining my set mini-targets.

I usually guide myself with principles. I always seek to identify the ‘principles observed’ in specific topics i cover. Since the beginning of the year, i have been frequently meeting with my group members mostly on Saturdays for revision and assignment purposes. I always emphasised observing the underlying principles all the time. For example, in writing assignments, i urged everyone to follow the format requested by every lecturer and where no structure was asked, i urged everyone to follow a ‘standard academic research thesis/dissertation or a journal article. When it comes to modules involving calculations, i urged everyone to observe the topic specific related principles. One of the basic principle i usually referred to is ‘BOMDAS’ or ‘BODMAS’ – very basic but it applies in many instances. I always said, there is no-way to get it wrong when it comes to calculations and has been a reality to me.

As part of a study i was doing towards writing journal articles that sought to ‘identify the academic performance factors at tertiary level‘, i once offered a free tutorial to Financial Management 2 Class in the ‘Entrepreneurship Diploma‘ course in preparation of their final year Exam weighting 40%. As i sent them an invitation email, i decided to title the ‘Tutorial Theme’ as “Attaining a 100% Exam Mark“. In this tutorial, i explained how students could make use of basic principles to attain a maximum performance i.e. scoring 100% mark. It is very easy to attain than in any calculation based subjects.

These were the main points:

1. Having a Exam strategy – a learner should know exactly how they are going to tackle the exam. This is assisted by knowing one’s progress mark. This helps to set the exam score target. One should also know the total marks of the question paper and the duration. This helps in allocating the appropriate time to be spent in every question. With this, a learner would be able to attempt all the questions.

2. Prepare one-self thoroughly – summative exams are not meant to surprise learners, but to test whether learners are ‘competent’ or ‘not-yet-competent’ (as per outcome-based assessments). Also, learners cover all the learning areas during their formative sessions. This could spell out that exams should not be surprises to learners in any how. I always urge my group members to comprehend the study guide as it has all what learners are expected to know. Therefore, once the learner makes use of such precious resources, one would be having an idea of how the questions would look like.

3. Arm one-self with relevant principles – i am sure every topic or module has specific principles that applies to it hence observing them would always direct learners in the right direction. Apply them appropriately.

4. Utilise maximum speed – on this one i always find it challenging to explain as some learners are naturally slow when it comes to writing. However, the principle of ‘practice makes an individual perfect’ serves to explain on my behalf that learners should be constantly practising to enhance their accuracy, understanding and speed at the same time. I always encourage learners to revise almost everything at their disposal especially on calculation-based modules with an aim of identifying various principles.

5. Never allow time to think during the Exam – i always remind fellow students that as part of an exam assessment, we are also tested on time management, taking few seconds to think is not recommendable from my side. I believe in the continuous flow of information throughout till the end of the exam and this is mostly possible when one has fully prepared for the exam – just like a sponge saturate with water.

Completing my second semester of my three semesters for my Btech. Degree in Business Administration at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, i would like to confess that despite the pressure brought by the course to fellow learners, every assessment to me seemed to be yet another ‘early Christmas present’. I was glad in the first place when i looked at the course modules as i knew anything involving calculations is a ‘morale booster’ to me. Out of the ten modules, half of them involve some sort of calculation. Besides the two to be done in the last semester (Managerial Economics 4 and Financial Management 4), this semester had the other three involving calculations: Production and Purchasing Management 4, Management Accounting Aspects 4 and Financial Accounting Aspects 4. It had been an interesting semester for me though to other learners it can be described as a ‘most trying and tormenting one’ as indicated by a significant number of dropouts not mentioning the alarming failure rate.

The experience has been great and the course has been very insightful. It helped me to explore some other avenues of opportunities such as considering venturing into the provision of Financial related decisions (personal and corporate investments) as well as considering focusing on a financial management related dissertation for my masters qualification in the near future.

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About Lucky Sibanda

He is a holder of Diploma in Entrepreneurship (cum laude) and a Bachelor of Technology in Business Administration at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (2014 June - cum laude) (Cape Town, South Africa, in Africa). He has varied basic experience stretching from engineering, office work, retail and to the provision of tuition gained from the period of 2005 up to date. He is a qualified and registered Assessor (Services SETA) with a scope of 10 qualification (up to NQF Level 4).

Posted on 16/11/2013, in Education, Motivation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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