Tips to write an exam

I personally feel that writing an exam is a skill. A skill that improves with time and experience. At times, writing can exam can be exasperating due to many reasons like shortage of time, forgetting facts etc. Each person has his own style of attempting exams and pass the exam with flying colours. Here are some general tips you can follow in case you haven’t devised your style of writing an exam:

  1. Read the paper thoroughly: In some cases, an additional ‘Reading Time’ is provided to students but in case it is not try to devote about fifteen minutes in reading your paper.
  2. Demarcate: Try demarcating and marking the questions that you find difficult or the questions that you do not know. Do these convoluted questions at the end and concentrate on the other questions.
    • For instance, in a hypothetical exam there are three questions for five marks each. There are two questions to which you know the answer but one question that you find difficult. You can attempt this exam in fifteen minutes. In an ideal situation, you can spend about five minutes for each question. In case you attempt doing the difficult question at first then you might tend to spend a lot of time in that questions and hence you will not get adequate time to solve the other two easy questions. So, to prevent this from happening, do the easy questions first followed by the difficult ones.
    • If your paper is divided into sections then mark the difficult and easy questions for each section and attempt the questions as mentioned above.
  3. In case your paper is divided into sections then try solving the section that carries more weightage at first.
    • For instance, your paper is divided into three sections. The first carries five marks, the second ten marks and the third fifteen marks. In case you spend a lot of time solving the first two sections you might have to leave a few questions from the last section and hence might lose a considerable amount of marks. But if you solve the third section first and leave a few questions from the first section then you might lose fewer marks.
  4. Stick to the word limit: This tip applies to language subjects wherein you are given word limits for the writing section. Try to stick to the word limit. Firstly, by exceeding the word limit you might spend a lot of time on a single question and hence there will be deficit of time. Secondly, in most cases, you are not rewarded extra marks for writing more. In some cases, the examiner might reduce a few marks for exceeding the word limit.
  5. Never read unseen comprehensions during your ‘Reading Time’
  6. For your science paper, first do the questions involving calculations(in case you feel that the question involves calculation and is difficult then do it at the end).
  7. Write answers to the point. Try not to beat around the bush while writing your answers and just include the apt point.
  8. Read the questions carefully. At times, you might get exuberant after reading only the initial part of a question because you feel that the question is easy. When you do so, you might forget to read the remaining part of the question.
    • I have committed this mistake myself in the past. In a Biology paper, a question read “Write the functions of each of the following tissues in about one sentence. Write the location of each.” Reading the first part of the question I was so elated, as it was a direct question, that I directly went on to write the functions. Unfortunately, I didn’t write the location of any.

Some pre-exam tips are:

  1. Practice past papers to understand the pattern of questions.
  2. Time yourself while practicing.
  3. Revise the difficult chapters repeatedly.
  4. Solve sample questions given in your textbook

9 thoughts on “Tips to write an exam

  1. Thank you so much for the tips. This article is a must read to all the students out there. I’m definitely going to abide by your tips as I find them very beneficial . Very well written!!!!


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