Monday, January 13, 2014

5 tips before you go into the Exam Hall

Exams can be a stressful time!  Having a plan before you go into the Exam Hall can help.  Here are some of the things you can plan for:

1. Read the exam paper slowly and carefully.  Ensure that you understand the instructions before you start writing!

2. Look at the points available for each question, or part of a question, e.g. if there are three questions - worth 20%, 20% and 60% - you need to plan to spend most of your time on the last question.

3. Answer the question that was asked.  Sometimes it can be tempting to write down everything you know about a topic.  It is important to read the question carefully and answer what was asked.  Look at directive words, e.g. are you being asked to list information, to describe a theory or an idea, to evaluate a concept & give your opinions...

4. Plan your answer before you start writing.  Jot down your ideas, on a separate sheet of paper, and consider how you are going to structure your argument.  What order will you put your ideas in?  Does your introduction include all your main ideas? Is your argument clear and logical?  (if you must submit this piece of paper, write "rough work" at the top of the page and the marker will understand that it is not part of your answer).

5. Leave time to re-read your answers.  Leave 10 minutes or so to re-read your answers before you finish.  This will allow you to catch any obvious mistakes.  Reviewing your work reduces the number of spelling and grammar mistakes, and allows you to change any obvious errors.  This makes a good impression on the marker.

... and if you "blank"?  Don't worry.  First of all, this happens to lots of people!  Take a deep breath and jot down any relevant information, no matter how basic it seems.  Jotting ideas down often reminds you of how much you know and stimulates related thoughts!

Best of luck to everyone sitting an exam today!

(Image: "Exam Hall" by Samuel via Flickr)

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