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How To Make Sure You Don't Lose Easy Exam Marks

Education : Exams And Revision

It is astonishing but is shown time and time again, that two people with the same knowledge can go into an exam, and one can get a high mark and the other a moderate or fairly low mark, depending on what their level of knowledge was.

Why is this? Exam technique. If you put down what you know and use it all correctly, then you will get a higher mark then someone who just puts down bits and pieces and doesn't attempt questions since they don't know how to do all parts of it or the overall answer.

So what do you do? Try reading the whole paper through from start to finish briefly- some say your sub-conscious will work on problems that you are not looking at, but at least it will give you some feel for the questions and the timing that you can allot to each question.

Pay close attention to each question, you might like to highlight the pertinent words if this helps - if it says 'why' then answer why, not what. Everyone misreads questions at some time and it can be the most disheartening of processes, as you leave the exam hall and you realise that you answered the wrong question and no doubt probably lose a good deal of marks in the process.

Make sure that you work out the time for each question - if there are three questions of 20 marks and it is a three hour exam then try to spend about 55minutes on each, this will give you a cushion if you run over, or allow you to come back and read through your answers at the end. You don't want to spend 1h30m on the first question, unless you are sure that you can provide very little information at all for one of the other questions.

Try and do your best question first - the one that you feel that you know most about and can answer the best. This way the examiner will know that you are a good pupil and it will help to relax you and make you more confident when it comes to answering the other questions where you feel that your knowledge is just that little bit shakier.

Also, make sure that your writing is legible. It is amazing how under the pressure to write a lot in an exam, students' handwriting deteriorates and becomes unreadable - and the poor examiner who is marking their hundredth paper of the night and is on their tenth cup of coffee really won't feel like struggling and straining to read what you have written, and also remember that your teachers at school may get used to your style of writing if it particuarly unusual. Examiners are used to being able to decipher writing and scrawl, but are not miracle readers, and so if it really is bad, make sure that you take time and write that little bit slower and get all the marks for what you write, rather than piling down loads of information on the paper but not being able to get any marks for it because no-one apart from yourself can read the writing.

Well, equipped with these tips, staying calm, thinking, reading the question, answering the question and applying yourself well and noting the time then you should give yourself the best chance to do well in those exams, whatever they may be! Good luck!

By: Peter Rancer on Wed, Jun 12th 2002

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