During the Exam
- If your exam has components other than essays, such as multiple choice or short answer sections, aim to complete these first. This will ease you into the exam and engage your thinking.
- Similarly, if there is an easier essay question than the others, attempt that question first to encourage the flow of your thoughts. You do not need to answer the questions in the order they are set out in the exam paper, as long as you clearly number your answer with the question number you are responding to.
- Note how much time you have to answer the question, and plan your writing around that time limit.
- Set aside some time at the start to make notes and plan the structure of your essay, so that you have a clear focus before you begin to write, and at the end to review what you have written.
- Usually in exams you will be given a few different question options from which to write an essay.
- Read through each question carefully, and try to pick the option you think you will be able to best answer, or that you feel you have the most knowledge about.
- Pick out the key words from each question, and make sure you understand exactly what they are asking of you.
- Click on the PDF link above to view a list of key words (or directive verbs) commonly used in essay questions, and their definitions.
- You can then test yourself on the key word definitions by completing Activities One and Two, on the right-hand side of this page.
- Even in a test situation, you should still plan out the main ideas for your response. By having a plan and sticking to it you will be able to focus your writing and ensure you have answered the question completely.
- Think carefully about the essay question, and what your response will be.
- Consider what you know about the topic, and how you can apply that knowledge.
- During the reading and note-making time, try to formulate your thesis statement. You can adapt this when you begin writing your introduction, but it will benefit you to keep your thesis in mind when planning your response.
- To view an example thesis statement, and to practise formulating your own, have a look at Activity Three on the right-hand side of the page.
- Jot down notes on the evidence and examples you will use to support your argument. Organise these into a logical argument structure, planning for at least three body paragraphs.
- For a template of an essay plan, click on the link above.
- Number your answers on the sheet provided. If you have to answer more than one essay or short answer question, make sure you make it clear to the examiner which question you are responding to. If it helps, re-write the question at the head of your essay.
- While you are writing, ensure you are following the plan you made. This does not mean you can’t make changes to improve upon your original plan, but ensure your response still provides a logical argument, and answers the essay question. Be careful not to wander off-topic while you are writing. Essays in exams are still expected to be concise and succinct.
- Although you will likely be writing quite quickly, ensure that your handwriting remains legible. You will not be able to receive marks if the examiner cannot read and understand your writing.
- Remember that the examiner may not necessarily be your tutor, and may therefore be unfamiliar with your handwriting style or written expression.
- Set aside time at the end of the exam to proofread your answers. Proofreading in an exam is just as important, if not more so, than in an assignment as it is easy to make errors and misspell words when you are writing under pressure.
- If you run out of time in the exam, jot down your ideas in point form (or include your plan in your answer booklet). Often the examiner will take this into consideration when allocating marks.
- After you have finished writing, ask yourself these questions to ensure you have included everything you need to:
– Have I filled in my ID details correctly?
– Have I answered all of the required questions?
– Have I clearly indicated to the examiner which question I have attempted?
– Have I answered the essay question completely and concisely?
– Does my argument make sense?
– Are my facts and quotations referenced where necessary?
– Have I proofread my response for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and legibility?
If you haven’t already done so, have a go at the activities on the right-hand side of the page.
Click on the NEXT PAGE button at the bottom of the screen to review Essay Structure.
Follow the link to view the ‘During the Exam’ pdf version.Previous Page Next Page