Resources for Students

Exam Tips

Exams are stressful for most people. Here are some exam tips which will help students maximise their performance in their exams:

1. Take care of yourself

Get a full night’s sleep the night before your exam and eat a good healthy breakfast. Drink water during the exam because it boosts energy levels and brain function. Avoid drinking energy drinks because they will make you feel worse later.

2. Keep calm

It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to keep calm when you’re taking an exam. Students who are very nervous and panic in exams make silly mistakes and it can cost them dearly. It’s perfectly natural to have butterflies in your stomach before an exam. Welcome them because they will make you perform better. Take deep breaths if you’re feeling very anxious and try to keep things in perspective.

3. Read the question carefully

Some students fail exams even though they have a good knowledge and understanding of the subject because they don’t read the question properly. Read the question twice and then underline the most important parts of it. Some students rehearse answers in their head and then write out a rehearsed response when they see specific key words in the question. This can be avoided by taking time to reflect on the question.

4. Make a plan

Don’t start writing immediately. Spend a few minutes making a plan of what you want to include in your answer. For example, if you’re going to write a persuasive letter, make a list of the language devices you’re going to use and plan what points you’re going to make in each paragraph.

5. Don’t be too preoccupied with the word count

Students are often more concerned with quantity rather than quality. These students have a tendency to repeat the same points over and over again in an effort to write as much as possible. You won’t get any extra marks for repeating yourself. Some students tend to make as many points as possible. This means they won’t achieve a higher grade because their answers will be superficial. Examiners like in-depth analysis.

6. Stick to the allotted time for each question

Keep to the allotted time for each question. Some students waste precious time trying to get a couple more marks when they’ve already have more than enough for a particular question. The first 50% of marks in any question are far easier to pick up than the next 20%.

7. Pay attention to the allotted marks for each question

It’s tempting to write as much as you know for a question, but this can be counter-productive. If question is worth four marks, you can assume you need to make four points. You won’t get any extra marks for making extra points and you’ll be wasting time you should be spending on another question.

8. Stay in the present  

Stay in the present and keep your mind sharply focused on the question you’re answering. Don’t think about what will happen if you pass or fail the exam and pay no attention to what other students are doing.

9. Check your work 

You should have enough time to read through your answers and correct any errors you may have made. Students do make silly errors in exam conditions, so it’s worth checking what you’ve written.

10. Don’t carry out a postmortem

As soon as the exam is finished, you need to quickly focus on your next one. Don’t waste a single second dwelling on an exam you’ve completed because it’s a waste of energy and time. It’s also demoralising to worry about any mistakes you may have made. You need to remain calm and positive.

These exam tips will help you minimise your stress levels and ensure you perform effectively in your exams.

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