Before the exam:[yes_list]
- Get ready your pens, pencils, rubber, calculator, etc. Any items you know you will need.
- Plan the morning of the exam to make sure you are in plenty of time- bus, lift, cycle
- Check the location, room, site of the exam
- Don’t stay up late revising, get a good nights sleep
- Don’t forget breakfast. There is nothing worse than hunger pains during an exam.
- Make sure you have been to the toilet before the exam. Make sure you have time for this.
During the exam[yes_list]
- Don’t start writing after reading the first question. Read the Read the guidance notes-do you have a choice of questions? Are some more suitable to your knowledge than others.
- Decide how long you have for each question. The time will reflect the length of your answers, Stick to this time plan. If you overrun on one question it will not leave time to start another question.
- Look at the marks for each question. One mark normally means one answer. Don’t write too much. Similarly three marks expects to see three points, don’t leave it after just two.
- Thoroughly read the question. The short part normally is easier but you may struggle with part two. Read the whole thing before deciding to answer it.
- Don’t leave a question you are expected to answer. Something is better than nothing.
- If you find the details hard to remember, start with a short plan and jot down what you can remember to get you started.
- A thorough answer may be good, but don’t leave too little time to start another question. Two shorter answers will score more than one long answer.
- Don’t rewrite the question – it wastes time
- Make sure you read the question and identify the key requirements eg ‘explain’ or ‘why do you think’ these give pointers to how you approach the answer
Choose relevant information to answer the question. Do not just write down everything you know on the subject. Use information that you have learnt on your course to answer – names, dates, research, theories, don’t just waffle generally.
- When tackling a comprehension, read the questions before the text, this way you can underline facts that relate to the answers.
- If you find you are running out of time, start by jotting down a list of relevant facts. This way you show the examiner you have suitable knowledge.
- Take your time over how you write. Don’t be sloppy, write legibly, don’t use slang or abbreviations. This will only make it harder for the examiner to mark your work.
- If you have time check over your answer. Check spellings and for incomplete words.
- When asked for a short essay or long paragraph, make a quick list of the key points you want to cover, then start to write in sentences and put things in the correct order that answer the question.
- Always provide a short introduction to your essay that sets the scene in relation to the question.
- Always refer to actual examples in your writing if asked about a poem or particular facts.
Multiple choice exams
A lot of exams are multiple choice now. They can be quite easy as long as you work through them carefully and work to a plan.
Revising for multiple choice questions[yes_list]
- Always get hold of past papers to get an idea of the topics covered and the way they state the question
- Make lists and learn key issues relating to the topic being revised.
The multiple choice exam[yes_list]
- Make sure you read the rules for answering and make sure you are clear about how to use the answer sheet.
- Answer everything you know first. If you leave a question for later, make a small mark on the question paper and make sure you leave the gap on the answer sheet.
- Sometimes they give two options that are very similar except for a key word such as ‘a colour chart should be used’ and ‘a colour chart shouldn’t be used’.
- When reading the options, eliminate the ones you know are wrong, that leaves the two you feel are closest. Read them carefully and spot the one that meets the answer most closely.
- At the end if there some unknown answers, always put a tick somewhere. At least you are giving yourself some chance of a mark, even if it was a guess.
- If you have time, check through your answers, or even just the ones you were unsure of.