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E Simultaneous equations

Simultaneous equations are pairs of equations that are both true (i.e. they are simultaneously true). They are both expressed as equations with two unknowns. By making one of these unknowns the subject of both equations, we can then substitute the subject in one equation and then solve for the other unknown. Then we can substitute back into the equation and solve for the subject.

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5.2.2 The emergency stop technique

This exercise is an emergency relaxation technique to counteract panic and the build up of tension.

  1. Say sharply to yourself STOP! (aloud if the situation permits).

  2. Breathe in and hold your breath for a moment before slowly exhaling. As you do so, relax your shoulders and hands.

  3. Pause for a moment, then breathe in slowly again and hold. This time, as you breathe out relax your forehead and jaw.

  4. Stay qu
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5.1.2 Turning the negative into the positive

Here is a rewording of some of the negative student comments from Section 2, which we have re-worded into positive comments.

Negative Positive
I am no good at exams, I
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4.3.3 After the exam

When you come out of the exam try to forget it. Going over what you have written with other students can make you worry about areas you haven't covered. Go and enjoy a planned treat as a personal reward for all your hard work.


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4.1.1 Getting off to a good start

You may find it useful to plan the way you will start your exam. Having a routine can be calming when under pressure. This is from a student who recommends a checklist:

I have a mental checklist of what I need to do once I've turned over the paper. I do this because I used to rush in and answer the fir
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4.1 Arriving and getting ready

When you arrive at the exam centre, you may prefer to stay quietly on your own, rather than chat to other students. Do what suits you best and helps you to feel calm and positive. Once you are in your seat, try not to look around. Your senses can be heightened by tension and can fasten on irrelevant details, such as what other students are doing or wearing. Try visualising a relaxing scene, or relax using breathing exercises. Visualisation and relaxation exercises are described in Author(s): The Open University

3.6.3 Making audio tapes

Why not try recording material from your summary sheets, or cards, onto audio tape? Students who have a strong auditory memory find information sticks if they hear it rather than read it. You could play the tape back to yourself when travelling by train or car.


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3.2 Stage 1: Finding out about the exam paper

As a first step, it is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the exam paper for your course. Find out how your exam paper is set out, the way the questions are organised, and what weight each question carries in terms of marks. Different papers adopt different formats. Some require multiple-choice answers. Others ask for essay or short paragraph answers. Some require technical or numerical answers. Reading the instructions on the exam paper is particularly important, as the followi
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2.1 Finding out your key concerns

Each one of us has a different set of concerns about preparing for and taking exams. It is worth spending a little time reflecting on these concerns and identifying what your individual needs are, in order to set up good support strategies for yourself.

Activity 1


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Introduction

Do you feel that sometimes you don't do yourself justice in exams? Perhaps you've never taken an exam and are wondering how to prepare yourself. It may have been a long time since you took an exam, and you feel a need to refresh your technique. You may be looking for reassurance and advice because you've had a bad exam experience in the past.

This unit aims to help you to improve your own revision and exam techniques and reassure others who experience anxiety and stress over exams.


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7.2 Learning from feedback

This is actually quite a difficult thing for any student to do. It is most effective when your assignment is returned, but by then you may have moved on to the next part of the course. Even so, you do need to make time to re-visit your assignment when it is returned and take note of your tutor's comments. It is the one time when your tutor is able to give feedback and advice to you as an individual student so it is well worth taking time to really absorb their comments. Try to separate
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4.1 Preparing

In the preparation phase you should pause before starting a new section of work and think about it as a whole. What needs to be covered? What are the various components of this block of work? What are the learning objectives or outcomes? What will you need to know and be able to do at the end of it? What is required in the assignment?

There are two main activities during this phase, both directly related to your course work and assignment:

  • analysing
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2.4 Organising your study - keeping a learning diary

If you have found this approach to learning interests you, you might like to take the analysis a stage further. To do Activity 4, you need to be studying a course so that you are engaged in learning on a regular basis. To examine your learning patterns, try keeping a 'learning diary' over a short period of time - at least a week - or maybe during the period that you are studying a particular section of your course.

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2.1 Introduction

In encouraging you to think explicitly about how you learn, as well as about what you learn, we are drawing on research about learning which has shown that this approach can actually improve your performance. Certainly it can and will make you a more efficient and effective learner. Before we start to explore the process, let us consider two general points about learning.

  1. There is no single method of learning that guarantees success. How
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Learning outcomes

The broad aim of this unit is to provide a framework for learning-based activities and reflective exercises. More specifically, it is designed to offer you the opportunity to:

  • think about and understand how you learn;

  • apply the ideas and activities in this unit to your own learning experiences;

  • learn how to become a reflective learner.


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Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material:

The following material is Proprietary, used under licence (see terms and conditions) This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

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5.2 Thinking for yourself

These are the kinds of questions you need to ask in order to read critically. As a higher-level student, you don't read simply to ‘find out facts’. It is assumed that you will think for yourself and question what you read and hear. The ‘truth’ is taken to be uncertain, so you weigh up ideas and arguments as you read about them. According to Marton and Saljo (1997, p. 49) research shows that successful students read as if they are constantly asking themselves questions of the kind: ‘
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5.1.1 How much trust can I put in this text?

You would generally assume that any set texts for a are trustworthy. But when you find a text through your own research you need to run a few checks to assess the soundness of its content.

Who is the publisher?

If an article is from an academic journal, you can assume that its quality has been vetted by the journal's editors. Also if a book is published by a major academic publishing house, you would expect it to be ‘respectable’. And if it's a book from an academic ser
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4.1 Underlining and highlighting

To be able to make sense of what you are reading, you need to read actively. One method that can help is to use a pen.

Activity 2

Did you underline or highlight any words as you read the Layard article? If not, go back over the
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1 The experience of reading

The best way to develop your understanding of the reading process is to follow the principles of the Kolb learning cycle, by doing some reading and then reflecting on your experience. To this end, Activity 1 asks you to read an extract from an article by Richard Layard (2003) titled ‘The secrets of happiness’ which appeared in the New Statesman. To keep the task manageable I have reduced the article to half its original length and, for ease of reference, paragraph num
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