Even the best student can fail an exam by ignoring the basics of exam technique
- Make good use of your reading time by carefully reading, then re-reading each question.
- The most common reason is running out of time. Ensure you set time allocations according to marks (see Handy Hint). On the margins of your paper, write what time the clock should read by the time you finish that question. Plan to finish the paper five minutes early.
- If you answer a question in less than the allocated time, but feel you have covered most points, move on. You might need the extra time for a harder question.
- If you come across a question that you cannot answer at all, leave it and move on to the next question. You can always come back to that question at the end.
- Try to think like a marker. Markers might have hundreds of exam papers to read. They will usually have a standardised marking scheme; that is, they are looking to allocate a set number of marks if you have mentioned certain key words.
- For written exams, try to write neatly - printing is preferable.
- Don't waste precious time on 'waffle' or on re-writing the question. If you don't know the answer, write a couple of key words and move on to the next question.
- Use the final five minutes to check your paper. Look for obvious errors, such as having skipped a question. Read your answers to see whether you have anything extra to add. Check your name and student number are on the paper, including any exam booklets or answer sheets!
- If you do run out of time, use point form as a way to summarise what you intended to write (it may earn you one or two extra marks).