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Tuesday’s Top Tip: How I approach my exams

Published On January 30, 2019 | By Amy | News

Hello hello,

The examination period has officially commenced! I hope that everyone is feeling calm and ready to nail their exams.

After years of sitting exams and approaching them differently each time, I have found a strategy that works the best for me. I like to think I enter exams ready and prepared but as soon as I pick up my pen, everything becomes a blur. I find that visualising a clear action plan for tackling the exam keeps my anxiety at bay at crunch time.

Before we get to the specifics, remember start slowly. Instead of answering the exam questions immediately, I take 5 to 10 minutes to look over everything and give myself that time to relax and focus. I understand that exams come in many forms. The majority of my experiences have been a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions.

How I approach Multiple Choice Questions:
For those of you new to exams, you will find multiple sheets of paper on your allocated desk. For multiple choice, one sheet will contain the questions and the multiple answers (the examination paper), and one will be for writing down your answers (the answer sheet). I ignore the answer sheet and just focus on the questions. I circle any correct answers directly on the examination paper. If I’m sure it’s right, I put a tick next to the question. If I’m uncertain, a question mark and if I have absolutely no idea, I circle the entire question and pray it will come to me when I revisit it.
This strategy allows me to move quickly through the questions and not allow myself to get stuck on questions I am unsure about. Once I’m satisfied, I transfer them to the answer sheet. This allows me the chance to double check my answers, and spend a little extra time on the ones I’m unsure about.

How I approach Short/Long Answer Questions/Essay Questions:
I read the short/long answer questions as soon as the examination commences before anything else. If the questions are optional, I will usually choose the ones I plan to answer straight away. I then expel any immediate information directly from my brain straight onto the examination paper while it’s fresh in my mind. This way I know my knowledge is saved and I don’t have to waste any mental resources on retaining it. I then go and answer the multiple choice. I always complete the written answers last. The reason for this is my next tip below …

How I use the Multiple Choice Questions to help with my Essay Questions:
You may find that some of the multiple choice questions trigger a memory for you that you can apply to your short/long answer questions. While I’m answering the multiple choice questions, I put a star next to any question I feel I could return to in order to help me with my written answers.

I hope my plan of attack can help you visualise your success and I, along with everyone else in Student Support wish you all the best.

How do you approach your exams? Please share your insights in the comments below.

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