In-trays are short term tests, usually no more than two minutes each, which can be performed at home or in the examiner’s office, depending on the type of exam. They’re designed to gauge your memory, attention span, attention to detail and your general comprehension of the subject. These tests are used by recruiters to assess candidates on key issues that are likely to be tested on university exams. The in-tray exercises are used to help the assessor to identify the key issues that students need to resolve, so that they can prepare for the exams in an appropriate manner.
In order to do an in-tray exercise, the assessor will ask you to complete some simple tasks. For example, they might want you to complete a list of four or five basic everyday words, along with some other simple tasks. You’ll then be asked to translate these words into English using dictionary and phrases found in the Oxford English Corpus. The assessor will also want you to complete some other word lists, including date, time and place. Finally, you’ll be required to complete a list of three to five main points about each topic.
In addition to the in-tray exercises, your tutor will teach you how to use other forms of assessments, which can be very useful in aiding you in completing your studies in a timely fashion. These include essay-based assessments, such as the four quadrant item, and questionnaires. The tutor may also decide to have you read a chapter or book from the Oxford English Corpus, in order to build your vocabulary. Other tasks in this module may include computer-based assessments and small group projects.
Once you’ve completed the in-tray exercises, the tutor will move on to teaching you how to complete your assignments using the procedures taught to you in the syllabus. Most of these tasks require you to work through the main ideas in each chapter using different procedures and strategies. It is important that you find the correct strategy for performing these tasks, as different strategies can make it more or less difficult for you to complete the tasks, depending on your level of comprehension. Your tutor will teach you the strategies that are appropriate for your own level of comprehension and should show you examples of other students who have completed similar tasks in a previous class.
Another in-tray exercise tip concerns organization. You may be tempted to skip the in-tray exercises in order to save time; however, doing so can leave you completely unprepared for the remainder of the semester. Although you can use the notes you take during the course of the semester in your essays, studies, and assignments, you should also use all the information you can gather in order to organise your notes and prepare for your final exams. This will make it much easier for you to remember what you’ve already done and what you still need to do, so that you can focus on the tasks in front of you and your final examinations. Your tutor will be especially helpful in this regard, as he or she will be able to point out any information that may be confusing or that is relevant only to your studies.
Finally, another useful in-tray exercises tip is to list down whatever key issues you need to work on, no matter how small the task seems. Once you have listed them, you should spend some time thinking about each of the key issues, drawing a line between them and the rest of the work that needs to be done. By drawing a line, you’ll be able to determine at a glance whether the task you’re trying to complete is smaller in scale than the others or not. In this way, you’ll know when you need to set aside some time for that particular task, and you’ll be able to manage your time more effectively by knowing where you’re at and what needs to get done.
It’s easy to look at a large amount of information, and hard to sort through it. Using in-tray exercises to help you work through the information, and then using the priorities and organize tips to sort it out is a great way to make sure that everything gets done in the right order. This will also make sure that you don’t get carried away and do other work on the side. Following these simple steps, and utilising the example in-tray exercises, will ensure that you work smarter, not harder.