By Gulaid Mohammed Yassin (Dalha)
The Somaliland National exam is getting closer and students are becoming anxious. So, in this piece of writing, I shall deal with some of the most tangible tips that students may use in during the exam. It is worth remembering that no one is 100 percent perfect, but hard work is always imperative. On the contrary, tips and tactics are the best ways of tackling such challenging tasks. Furthermore, most of the students of Somaliland failed to use systematic solution of doing exams. Instead, they do the exam and get lower ranks. Therefore, here are some tips and guidance to my beloved students. I shall continue to reiterate the same topic on the coming days, insha Allah.
DO NOT PANIC
Many students feel anxiety and less of sleep during the waves of exam mystery. You will have seen exam papers very similar to the real thing many times before. There should be no surprises. Even if you feel that you haven’t done enough revision, there is nothing you can do about it now. Try to stay calm; if you panic you will just make things worse.
CONFIRMING THE PAPER
In your SLNECB, make sure you are given the correct exam papers. Fill out your personal details at the top of each exam paper. For example, write down your school name, roll number and full name. Then, read through the instructions on the front cover. This is very important part – we as Somali do not always read the instruction carefully; try to read it painstakingly.
In addition, take time to glance through the whole exam paper and look at some of the questions. At SLNECB and similar exams, many students do not read the paper. Instead they start doing the exam. That is completely wrong and needless. You should read the exam thoroughly. Do not worry about the time, it will be enough. This will help your brain to recall some challenging questions. Otherwise, you will remember the answer when you get out from the exam hall as many Somali students make.
First of all, read each question carefully. Read it once, and then read it again noting any important key words. It is good to use a highlighter to pick out the key phrases to help you with your answer. Use a pencil if you have not a highlighter.
Check the marks available for the question. This will give you a good indication of how much you are expected to write. Obviously you will be expected to write more for a six mark question than for a two mark question. I would like to point out one important aspect that many people fail to understand – marks are equal to points. Let me vividify and make it very clear, if questions worth two marks you will be expected to make two points or make a statement and elaborate or give an example of what you mean.
FURTHER TACTICS TO YOUR SLNECB PASSING PROCESS
Do the past exam papers. I have, as a teacher, many times reiterated and delineated that a student is extremely required to do past papers, if not he/she is far from the criteria of passing such marvelous exam. Use past papers and sample questions to practice examples of how to do this. This is a very indispensable tactic a student may proceed and get higher ranks. It first boosts the students confidence and makes him/her to do the exam the so-called dhagi-dhagi ku ciyaarid.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE EXAM
Fortunately, the Somaliland exam does not contain more than 20 pages i.e. the exam paper. You will be given 2 hours. This is an outstanding news. The Ministry of Education of Somaliland is filthy to the students. At IGCSE, and similar levels, twenty-page paper is done in hour; not more than. So, this is a good time of your future, make use of it.
Likewise, unless you are really pushed for time do not answer a question by just giving a list or using bullet points. The examiner will be expecting you to show a good use of English and if you use bullet points you will not get the highest level marks no matter how good your knowledge or understanding. If the examiner asked to show or list number of ………., then use the Roman numbers.
AVOIDING WAFFLE – QARDA JEEX
Some students write more and more, without saying the answer. Surprisingly, we have seen some students taking the prescription brochures and fill in the spaces provided. ( warqadda awfaashta, sharoobada warqadda la socota). This is ridiculous.
Plan your answer by jotting down words or phrases that you will need to include in your answer. Do this in the margin or on the back of the exam paper -you can cross it out once you have written your answer. Planning is also useful as it helps you sort out the facts in a logical way before you start writing your answer. Planning helps you to stay focused and stick to the main point of the question.
USING A SOURCE
In exams, there must always be a question on a diagram. I personally believe that the today the International Exams are always PRACTICAL – that is, most questions asked to candidates are on the application sector. What a beautiful exam, unfortunately, in Somaliland exams, the application questions are less in number and there is no exact validity. Saying validity, I mean the exam should focus on all classes and on all chapters. You can see some science or math exams without a single diagram – that is a raw or qarax exam.
By the way, if the question asks you to look at a source -USE IT! A candidate should always keep in mind that there is a strong relationship between the question and the diagram. Some questions are specifically designed to be answered by analyzing or getting information from a source, but all sources will help you to answer the question. So, stare at the diagram and study it carefully – it is a known fact that you could understand even a bit. Indhaha ku gub kuna giiji.
Gulaid Mohammed Yassin (Dalha)