Topic outline

  • General

  • How to Prepare for an Exam


    What to bring

    • Writing implement of choice + backups (always, ALWAYS have a number 2 pencil and eraser).
    • 8.5 x 11 paper for scratch work.
    • Water.
    • Some kind of accurate timekeeping device, like a watch.
    • Anything else permitted (see the list  below of permitted books from
      • English Language Arts 30–1, English Language Arts 30–2
        For Part A only, all students may use a print dictionary (English and/or bilingual), a thesaurus, and an authorized writing handbook.
        The following seven writing handbooks areauthorized by Learner Assessmentto be used for this purpose. With the exception of ACanadian Writer’s Guide, any edition of these texts is acceptable for use:
        •A Canadian Writer’s Guide (J. Finnbogason and A. Valleau), second edition (only)
        •A Canadian Writer’s Reference (D. Hacker)
        •Checkmate: A Writing Reference for Canadians (J. Buckley)
        •English Language Arts Handbook for Secondary Students (Alberta Education)
        •Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing (J. Buckley)
        •The St. Martin’s Handbook for Canadians (Andrea Lunsford, Robert Connors, and Judy Z. Segal)
        •The Writing Process (Quentin L. Gehle and Duncan J. Rollo)

    What not to bring

    • Items brought into the exam room are susceptible to theft. Do not bring valuables as you may be asked to leave them in an area of the exam room out of your line of sight.
    • Do not bring backpacks, pencil cases, pagers, music players, cell phones, unauthorized calculators, or electronic dictionaries. The use of a cell phone as a watch is not permitted.
    • Do not take unnecessary articles of clothing, bags, laptops, etc. You may be required to store them in a distant part of the room during the exam.  In the event of an emergency, you will be required the vacate the room immediately, and you may need to leave your belongings behind. Do not bring anything that you are not prepared to be without for several hours.

    What to do

    • Show up to the exam room 10-15 minutes before the exam begins.
    • LISTEN to the remarks at the beginning of the exam. Often these are just announcements about how long the exam period is and so on, but sometimes there is crucial information about typographical errors and other things which require your attention.
    • Put your name on it and date on the exam. And especially check to see if there is any auxiliary materials for the exam being passed out — handouts with formulas or statistical tables or what have you. Arrange these materials front-and-center on your desk.

    During the exam

    Step 1: Brain dump. In the first 90 seconds of the exam period, do a complete brain dump of any important information that you will need for the exam which is not printed on the exam itself and which is not firmly in your memory (literary terms, etc.). Once the information is out of your head, you don’t have to worry about remembering it. Try doing this on scrap paper.  Practice doing this while studying - it will make things easier during the exam.





    Step 2: Fly-through. Having done your brain dump, now spend at most three minutes doing a front-to-back fly-through of the entire exam. You want to accomplish two things here. First, you want to map out the overall content and organization of the exam. Second, while mapping the exam out, you want to gain a sense of where you are likely going to need the most time or energy. See the formats above - this will help you to prepare ahead of time.

    Step 3: Time budget. Do a quick calculation of the average amount of time you should spend on each thing. For example, if you are working an exam with 10 problems and you have two hours in which to do it then you should plan on spending about 12 minutes per problem. Every time you go over that average time value on a problem, that time has to come out of some other problem. So this average is a critical number to know — it will tell you at what point you need to put a problem down and either come back to it later or else cut your losses on it and move on.

    getting ready
    • How to Study


      exam tips

      shall not pass

      Memory Techniques


      Using knowledge you already have to remember new information.


      This example uses your knowledge of the sandy desert and your cravings for dessert to help remember which word has one 's' and which word has two.

      Initialisms                                                      Acronyms




      Using acronyms to make a sentence.



      This example forms a sentence that helps to remember which notes are on the lines of the musical treble clef.


      Picturing the information in your notes, in your textbook, etc. as it is without looking at it.

      mind map

      mind map



      Don't do this.

      Instead, try this:

      • Look briefly over the entire book or article to get a feel for its structure and how its argument or arguments will proceed.
      • Pay particular attention to introductory and concluding paragraphs. These often contain summaries of important points.
      • Look for certain words and phrases that can tip you off that something important is coming up, such as "In sum," "The point is," "Most importantly," and so on.
      • Consider reading the conclusion first. It's like doing a maze backwards: If you know where you're trying to end up, you can find and understand the path better.
      • Look back over the book or article the next day, reading only the highlighted material. Do so again in about a week. This will help the material stick better in your mind.
      • Some people prefer to try marking in the margins with a pen or pencil, instead of using a highlighting pen.
      • How to Write Multiple Choice

        downClick below for 10 tips on writing multiple choice testsdown

        multiple choice

        • How to Write Essays

          5 paragraph

          Thesis Statement


          A thesis should fulfill the following roles.

          • It makes a clear and specific statement.
          • It indicates the direction of your thoughts.
          • It sets a stage.
          • It provides structure.
          • It is supported by the body paragraphs.

          thesis diagram

          Here are a few examples of how to plan an essay.  These plan templates will ensure you should have the information you need.

          structure 1

          structure 2

          structure 3


          • Jazz up Your Writing

            parts of speech



            Do you see how much more interesting adjectives can make things?  Use adjectives to enhance the description of what you are saying.  For example, instead of saying "I was near the ocean" you could say something like "I was near the vast, salty ocean."  What other adjectives can you think of to describe the ocean?  Remember to use adjectives to jazz up your writing.







            Do you see how adverbs can also enhance the quality of a description?  Use adverbs to make the reader feel the description.  For example, "She is tired" is not nearly as relatable as "She is helplessly exhausted". Using adverbs improves the connection between the audience and the reaction or impression they are meant to have.

            Do you see the difference that adverbs and adjectives can make?

            Try one yourself:

            "The boy ran to the theatre"

            Where could you insert an adjective or adverb? How about an adjective before 'boy' and an adverb behind 'ran'.  You could even put another adjective in front of 'theatre'.  That sentence is now improved


            (click on the mind map below to view more) click



            An interjection is a word added to a sentence to convey emotion.





            Try to avoid using contractions when writing formally.  Make sure you know what your contraction expands to in order to use the proper words (for example, "would've" is NOT short for "would of", but IS short for "would have".)





            Click on the flag below to see a list click

            canadian spelling

            • Time Management

              downClick on the picture below to view a sheet about time management for students.down


              time management

              downClick on the image below to read an article about how Facebook can decrease your gradesdown


              downClick through the slides below for insight into digital distractionsdown

              downClick on the picture below to view a video on time management.down


              downClick on the picture below to view tips on how to decrease procrastination.down

              Y I NO


              • Last Chance Glance

                Before handing in your exam

                Multiple choice:

                • multipile choice

                  Go through the booklet with the answers you have circled and make sure that those answers match the ones on your bubble sheet.
                • Make sure your name is filled in properly along with all the other required information
                • Make sure EACH question is answered - if you skipped one, make sure to fill it in



                 - When you have completed all the questions on the exam paper, make sure you check your answers thoroughly before handing in the answer booklet.
                 - Check for spelling mistakes.
                 - Make sure you have answered the questions completely.  Some questions may have multiple parts.
                - Ensure your name and all other required information is on the booklet.

                • Exam Anxiety

                  downClick below for 10 tips on reducing exam stressdown



                  • Poetry



                    • Media

                      Click on the image below to read through an extensive description of analyzing media. click it


                      Click on the image below to see several case studies and more information on how to analyze it


                      Click on the image below to see several case studies and a description of media it

                      media again

                      • Examples ***IMPORTANT***

                        Examples of the Standards for Students' Writing

                        The link above contains examples of Satisfactory, Proficient, and Excellent written responses to the diploma exams for 30-1 or 30-2.

                        Guides for Students

                        The link above contains a description of how both Parts A and B are formed for 30-1 or 30-2.

                        ***The following three links are extremely useful for writing the English Diploma***

                        Overall review

                        Part A - writing review and tips

                        Part B - writing review and tips