STUDY SKILLS – PREPARING FOR AND TAKING EXAMS
It is much easier to obtain the first 25% of the grade for an essay than to make an already satisfactory answer 10% better. Still, every year many students find themselves over-running the allotted time, with little or no time to complete the last essay. Here are some tips to avoid this:
Work out precisely what time you should finish each answer and write the times down. This may seem silly, but if you stick to the schedule you will leave the exam satisfied that you gave it your best shot. For example, for a three-hour exam starting at 9.00 am that requires three essay responses:
9.00: read the exam and choose the questions you will answer (10 mins.)
9.10: outline your responses (30 mins.)
9.40: start essay 1, finish at 10.20 (40 mins.)
10.20: start essay 2, finish at 11.00 (40 mins.)
11.00: start essay 3, finish at 11.40 (40 mins.)
11.40: review all three essays (20 mins.)
Discipline yourself and have the courage to stop. Do not overrun an early answer by more than five minutes.
Make sure everything in your outline is strictly relevant to the exact question asked.
As a last resort, if you are running out of time - and you should be completely aware of the time you have - complete the final essay in note form. You will lose some points for doing this, but you will earn much more than had you written an incomplete response.
Do not waste time with the following:
• Writing questions out
• Staring at the ceiling
• Regurgitating an excess of facts
• Watching other people
• Repeating yourself
• Being irrelevant
• Worrying - get on with it!