A Conversation for Exam technique

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 1

The Jim


Thought I ought to submit this, as there doesn't appear to be anything else on the subject.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 2

Jeremy (trying to find his way back to dinner)

This Entry contains some very useful information on how to come though an exam. You might try to add some information I'm missing:

- How do I behave in an oral exam?
- Concentration - Meditation?
- What kind of exam are you describing? (I ask for the latter one because I have written many exams in my life, an none of them was like the one you have described.)

Besides that it's a good Entry with great potential to enter the Edited Guide.

Jeremy FS JBB

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 3


First para: Do you mean that the completely arbitrary instructions are on how you should conduct yourself in the exam? Its not clear to me what you mean.

About cramming before the exam - its not necessarily a good idea, particularly in subjects with more of an understanding slant rather than regurgitation of facts. Theres no chance you'll understand anything better in 5 min before an exam (although you might remember the odd fact/formula fine), and it can just increase the panic. Oh yeah, remember to breathe. Get lots of oxygen in. Also before the exam: make very very sure that there's no crib sheets accidentally left in your pocket. Even worse than spending 20 minutes on something worthless would be being caught with a crib sheet when you didn't even intend to cheat and just left it there by accident. In the UK, they can cancel your entire GCSE results on that, and thats your life down the drain.

Also might be worth mentioning that its worth having at least a quick scan through of the questions on the paper before you start. You can find the easy ones, and your subconscious gets a chance to mull things over a bit before you actually start the question.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 4


This entry contains good, common sense guidance on taking exams - but I feel there could perhaps be a little more depth. Don't forget there are different types of exams - what about long essay questions? And what should you do in, say, a three hour exam to stop yourself going insane and battering someone with your chair?

A personal tip on essay questions: PLAN your answer - spend a few minutes drawing one at the start. If you think you're running out of time, write a CONCLUSION and answer the original question directly. Then, using bullet points, list the other stuff you would have said.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 5

The Jim

Being a student of A-level Maths, Physics and Chemistry, the exams I encounter tend to be short in length and question. I'll have to ask some of my fellow students about living with the other sort of exam.

I believe I've mentioned concluding questions if you're out of time, and choosing questions at the start, but perhaps I've been to cursory. I'll look over it.

This was intended to cover written exams only. I considered encompassing oral/practical exams, but again I would not describe myself as an expert in these fields.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 6

The Jim

...I've just updated the entry in an effort to address some of your issues. I still don't have anything on the retention of sanity, though. I may ask around, if I can find some sane people at college.

By the way, I would consider actual essay writing technique as distinct from exam technique.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 7


Not bad, not bad at all (want an 'A'?). I think you have identified some crucial points there. You might want to consider kicking off with some general advice that is suitable for all kinds of exams and then have catagories like writing papers and so on with advice that is more specific to them. If you wanted to go all out you could include a section on revision, but that is probably a whole other article. I would add that anybody taking an exam should get to know the exam way before they sit down at that desk in that room. This is what past papers are for. And teachers, hopefully. Then you know what to expect and you can find out where your strengths and weaknesses are (ie, what type of tasks you zoom through without any trouble, and which are more problematic for you. And it helps with working out timing and stratagies, too.

And planning IS important, yes. And one day I will convince my students of this. Learning to plan effectively in writing papers is almost as important as learning to write good essays. As is sticking to the word limit if there is one as this is part of the task (but not, for goodness sake actually counting every word). And answering the question. For this reason......

I totally agree that reading through the instructions is vitally important too. The writing part of the exams I teach towards have information that has to be included in the answer and incautious reading loses the candidate marks. Similarly some of the other parts have bits that are like 'sometimes it's option A, sometimes option B'. The instructions tell you which it is this time around.

If you are doing a foriegn language where the grammar part of the paper has a text with spaces you need to fill in words or whatever, READ THE TEXT FIRST before you start filling stuff in. With listening papers. Don't sit there staring into space while the moderators faffs around cueing up the tape. Read the questions. Think about the questions. Try to think about the info you are going to hear. Anticipate. And reading papers come to that, why waste time reading a huge text if you don't know what you are looking for? READ THE QUESTIONS FIRST (though actually this depends on the type of task you are doing, sometimes it is actually better to skim the text first without worrying about the questions. But quickly, for gist. Ask your teachers about this, boys and girls).

Try not to arrive late is always a good piece of advice for exams I feel. Or oversleep and miss them altogether. Or assume they are on a different day/in a different building and miss them that way (all of these have been done by my bro. He's studdying for a doctorate now, mind you).

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 8

Sad, Mad or Bad? - I always wanted to be a dino, but alas, I'm just old.

How about: go to the toilet before you start. This may not apply so much to boys, or young women, but it can be very difficult to 'hold it' if you're a woman who's had kids (yes, we sometimes do exams smiley - smiley). Going during the exam is OK, but does distract you, and to some extent, reduces the amount of available time. I tend to consume a lot of caffeine to keep me awake during the exam, and this is, of course, a diuretic, hence the toilet planning is important.

I'm not sure if there have been any studies on this, but I use caffeine (coke or pepsi) to keep me awake during the exam, and a high-sugar food because I have this idea it keeps me alert. I don't know if it actually DOES, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. smiley - smiley

smiley - blue, smiley - steam or smiley - devil

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 9


I read somewhere that it isnt such a good idea to take caffeine before an exam, if the exam is longer than about an hour. A can of coke will perk you up for about an hour, then you tend to crash down to less alert than you would be if you hadnt taken anything. And in a 3 hour exam thats bad news.

A509906 - Exam technique

Post 10

Wayfarer -MadForumArtist, Keeper of bad puns, Greeblet with Goo beret, Tangential One

Thanks for your recommendation. You'll be smiley - smiley to know that we think this entry is great, and have put it into the Editorial process to be in the future Edited Guide. When it does get Edited, you will get emailed, but please remember that it takes awhile for entries to get through the system. Thanks for writing for the guide!


Post 11

h2g2 auto-messages

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