Before the Exam
- Preparing and studying for the exam is just as important, if not more so, as writing the exam itself.
- Revise your lecture notes, iLectures, and unit readings, and make notes on the important aspects of these.
- Remember you are being tested on what you have learned throughout the semester, or a particular module, as well as your ability to demonstrate that knowledge by arguing a case.
- Usually your tutor will give clues around what the exam will be based on, so make sure you attend all the lectures and tutorials you can, particularly those that are planned as revision sessions.
- Before the exam, find out the following information:
What is the test worth?
Knowing this will allow you to plan how much time to spend studying and preparing for it, in comparison to other subjects and assignments. Even if it is worth only a small percentage of your overall mark, still put in your best effort, as these minor marks add up to the final total.
How much time is allowed?
Knowing this will help you to plan how much time to spend on each question, as well as how much time to allocate to planning and proofreading.
How many questions will there be to choose from, and how many am I expected to answer?
Make sure you know what is expected from you in the exam, so that you don’t answer too many questions, or not enough.
How are the marks allocated?
Will there be marks allocated for referencing; supporting evidence; critical thinking; demonstration of knowledge of the subject; and grammar and structure? Bearing this in mind will keep you on track to ensure you are covering all possible aspects of the assessment brief.
Are there practice exams available?
Practising past exams is invaluable for exemplifying what will be expected of you in the test.
- If there are practice exams available to you, be sure to make use of this opportunity.
- Brainstorm questions and answers with other students, and draft your responses.
- What examples and supporting evidence would you use to back up your argument?
- Ensure you have memorised important facts or quotes that can support your argument. You will then be able to call on them in the exam and strengthen your argument.
For tips on memory exercises, see: “Ways to Focus and Concentrate”, via the link above.
As with all exams, it is important that you arrive prepared and on-time. Ensure that you:
- Check the exact time and location of your exam
- Have a decent sleep the night before
- Allow plenty of time to travel to the venue, accounting for traffic and other delays
- Arrive early to avoid being stressed or panicked
- Do not consume too much caffeine or energy drinks beforehand
- Do not discuss with other students how stressed you are, or how much you studied
- Ensure you bring your student ID with you
- Bring a water bottle, and plenty of spare pens or pencils
- Turn OFF your mobile phone, or leave it outside of the examination venue
- If you are feeling stressed or anxious, close your eyes and take deep breaths. You can pause and do this at any time during the exam if you start to feel overwhelmed. It is also recommended you sit towards the back of the exam room if you are able to, to avoid feeling crowded in.
Review essay and argument structure in our Better Essays program.
Although you do not have the benefit of revising and editing the structure of your essay in a test situation, it is a good idea to have the basics in mind when approaching the test.
Click on the NEXT PAGE button at the bottom of the screen for tips on what to do During the Exam.
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