By Andrew Shi (Aged 12)
Have you ever thought, "I'm never going to pass this exam!" or "This exam is way too hard!"? Well, you've been waiting for this foolproof guide on the top 5 ways to always pass your exam!
1. BE CONFIDENT DURING THE EXAM!! I cannot stress this enough! Almost 20% of the points in the exam is directly related to how confident you are! That can mean the difference between a fail and a pass, or a pass and a merit. Don't know what being confident means? It means to act (or at least to pretend to act) like your enjoying your piece, and you know what you're doing. Act professional. Act like your performing to ten thousand people and you don't want the audience to be bored by your performance. You can accomplish this by incorporating actions, like a little swaying, head nodding, excessive arm motions, etc. It might feel a bit silly, but it'll give you those points you deserve in the exam. Anyone who doesn't try to get these easy points is basically asking for a failing grade.
2. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Practice means perfect, right? This is almost the only way to be great and proficient at your pieces and scales. With more practice, you'll develop muscle memory, too, so you can memorize your pieces and how your examiner that you have the skill and determination of a great musician. The amount of practice you should do every week depends on your skill level. For example, if you're trying to pass Grade 1, 15-30 min of practice every day should be enough, while if Grade 8 is your goal, you should definitely do one or more hours a practice per day. With enough practice and confidence, it's a one-way road to Merit-Land.
3. Ask for help when you need it! I won't do you any good to go to an exam and not know what 1st inversion dominant seventh arpeggio is! Ask your teacher for any help or clarification on any unknown terms. Do you really want to go search up on the unreliable internet on what a music term means. To prove my point, go search up what allegro means. The internet would probably give you a website to an apartment complex somewhere in Seattle. Your teacher, though would say that it means to play in a fast and lively tempo. You want the music term, not an ad for an apartment complex.
4. Be polite to the examiner! Shake his/her hand with a smile. Say good morning (or good afternoon). Ask how's his/her day's going. You want giver the examiner a good first impression about yourself. You want the examiner to like you. Which do you think would give you a better score: An examiner that really likes you and is in a happy mood, or an examiner who dislikes you and is in a grouchy mood. Of course it's the first examiner! Even science proves it. Most people start to have a opinion about somebody within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, and that opinion can be good or bad. Start off strong! And also at the end, make sure to say "Thank you for the time", and "Have a great day!"
5. Try your best in your mock exam and learn from your mistakes! If you didn't know, a mock exam is a fake exam that replicates a real exam, with your teacher as your examiner. They would grade you realistically and can (and will) give you a failing grade if you did badly. Here is where you can learn from your mistakes. If your teacher wrote down that you did a bad job on accurate notes on the comment sheet, then now you know to practice and fix that problem. There was always that old saying "mistakes lead to success". That saying still hold true in this case. If you don't accept that you have mistakes, you can never succeed. So when you fail your next mock exam, you'll see it as a learning opportunity instead of a loss. It also won't hurt to do another mock exam afterwards.
With these 5 foolproof tips on how to pass your exam, you don't need to feel down or stressed out on your upcoming exam! Just remember this guide and you'll pass your exam, guaranteed with no sweat!