Woohoo! Summer is just around the corner, and that means a few more weeks of hard focus and then the end-of-year holidays we have all been waiting for. On the final stretch, it’s crunch time now more than ever. Let’s make the most effective use of the time we have left to get the grades we deserve.
Regardless if you are in NCEA Art History Level 1 and this is your first time sitting the NCEA exams, you have learned the ropes in NCEA Art History Level 2 or you are ready to spread your wings into the big, bad world after NCEA Art History Level 3, there are always tips and tricks you may find useful to help you brush up your study methods.
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NCEA Art History Revision
First thing’s first, you need to figure out when you are able to study. Let’s be realistic, you probably have other exams looming too, or heavily weighted internals that you may still need to hand in. One way to get around this is having a look at the exam timetable and making a schedule of what days your exams are on. Make sure to double-check that you have the correct date and time! You could even add these dates to a calendar. Then, you’ll be able to get a visual guide of how many days you have to study for these exams. Try to allocate a roughly even number of days to study for each exam.
Breaking these days down further, everyone finds different timetabling methods that work for them. Are you an early bird or more of a night owl? You’ll most likely function better if you arrange your study sessions according to when your brain is most active. However, if you’re studying super late each night, make sure you don’t throw your circadian rhythms off whack when you have to start waking up early for those morning exams! If you have other commitments such as work, family, friends, and extracurriculars and you don’t know how to fit everything in, or you’re just feeling a bit overwhelmed with exams in general, a good idea is to write down all the tasks you need to get done over the next month. Break them down. Don’t just say ‘study for Art History’. Do you want to make summary notes? Practice 10 past exams? Once it’s out of your head and down on paper, you can feel the stress leave your body!
You can then prioritize these tasks each week according to the Important Urgent matrix. Think to yourself, is this task urgent? For instance, revising for your Art History exam would be pretty urgent! Do these tasks first. Or, is it important, but not urgent, like finishing the painting that you started last month? Yes, that could definitely be super important to you, but it isn’t necessarily urgent. Finally, if it’s not urgent or important, like tidying up that wardrobe you have been meaning to for ages, scrap it. Prioritize your tasks into urgent first, then important and finally nonurgent or important, if you have time. This will cut any unnecessary procrastination temptations.
You can even divide your day by hours. Maybe you’ll revise material for two hours, take a one-hour break and then head onto practice papers for the next two hours. Try your best to stick to your schedule, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you can’t always! We all take some time to adjust to a new routine.
Finally, schedule in breaks! You’ll be more productive, study, and perform better if you do. Get plenty of rest, go outside for fresh air, or watch an episode of your favourite Netflix show to unwind after a hard day’s work. Exam time is also a great opportunity to pick up relaxation and mindfulness techniques such as meditation or yoga, and there are heaps of free resources for these online. If you can work in foods like bananas, nuts, tuna sandwiches, seeds, berries, yogurt, and plenty of water to your diet, these will all fuel your brain to perform at maximum capacity. Junk food is so tempting, especially in times like this, but it can make you feel sluggish!
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We get it, it’s so hard not to procrastinate, especially in this day and age with fire banter going off in the group chat. But it’s just a few weeks of concentration before summer times and good vibes. Make them count. You will be thanking yourself if you study at a steady, comfortable pace rather than cramming it all in the night before. A good way to get around pesky procrastination is by trying the Pomodoro Technique. Schedule your work into 25-minute chunks, with a mini-break every 5 minutes, and then have a break of about 15 – 20 minutes after you’ve done four 25 minute lots. Go on, you’ve earned it. While you do this, eliminate all distractions. Turn those notifications or WiFi off on your phone, install apps that block social media like Instagram or TikTok for a set amount of time if you really need it.
A quiet study space with minimal distractions will do wonders for your focus. If you can’t find a quiet room at home, check if local libraries are open, or even go find a quiet area outdoors. Feel free to form a study group with friends (in-person or over Zoom, depending on current lockdown restrictions in your region) as long as you all vow to stay on track! That will make the summer post-exam catch-ups even sweeter.
So, what do you actually study? It is a good idea to go over the content you have learned this year that you know you will be examined. Sidenote, for Art History Internals preparation, check out our tips and tricks here. Looking for exam revision? We've got you covered too. For some people, reading the material to understand it is enough. You may prefer to read it out loud so you can hear yourself and absorb the knowledge that way, or you could like to write out summary notes and flashcards. Maybe even making up raps helps you remember information better. Mind maps can also work well for visual learners. Different styles of learning suit different people. YouTube has plenty of deep-focus music that can promote increased concentration as well. Are your siblings always annoying you? Why not put them to good use and start explaining what you are studying to them. The more you help someone else understand this, the more this deepens your understanding of the subject material as well. If you don’t have anyone at home and even the cat doesn’t want to listen, call a friend – or make a friend – from class, and take turns explaining different parts of the material to each other. Who knows, you may even learn a thing or two from an alternative perspective.
In Art History, it is better to study to understand, not memorize. At the end of each study session, put your notes away and try to remember what you learned. Bonus points if you go through what you studied at the end of the day as well. Learn how to make the most of your past papers here. And if you're sitting scholarship exams? Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about you!
Sitting Your Art History NCEA Exam
Once you are in the exam room, have a quick read of all the questions. This will help your brain to subconsciously start forming answers as you get to work. In Art History exams, it is so important that you make sure your answer actually addresses all parts of the question. Prepare for a range of questions that could come up by looking through past exams as well. When in the exam, work through as many questions as you can, writing is something is always better than leaving it blank. Make plenty of use of your resource material and planning space! Finally, write in a manner that is clear and easy to understand for the marker, and use formal language, such as ‘decreases’ rather than ‘goes down’. If you can’t recall something in the middle of an exam or you don’t know what to write, that’s okay! Happens to all of us. Take a few deep breaths and go again. If you still can’t, that’s fine too, move on to the next question. Always remember to proofread your work if you have extra time in the end rather than heading out early!
Allocate plenty of time to get yourself to the exam as well. Allow some extra time for the journey in case of traffic or unexpected delays, these things happen. Prepare your stationery beforehand, make sure your pens work and you have a spare.
Need a hand?
At Superprofs, we are here to help. We can help you sort your study schedule and go over the content too to make sure you are as prepared as possible for your Art History NCEA exam. We have a wide range of tutors, find one who is perfect for you and your study needs today.
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