Exam Tips for Uni Students

After 2.5 years and countless exams I think I may have some advice to give.

1. Don’t plan your time according to the marks allocation. Short answer questions usually require way less time than you think.

2. The extra time goes into planning for your essay questions, NOT for writing longer essays. Which brings me to…

3. Don’t rush, don’t ramble on in your answers. Correctness > Length. DON’T BE A SMARTASS BY WRITING ESSAYS WHEN THE MARKER SAID AT THE FIRST PAGE TO WRITE 2-3 LINES.

4. Select your FOUR out of FIVE, THREE out of FOUR questions BEFORE you even start on any. Tick the questions you want, cross those you don’t, then start. You don’t wanna break the momentum by thinking about them 1hr into the exam.

5.Normally essay qsns are long winded. Circle command keywords in all the questions before you attempt any. E.g. Give THREE examples, list FIVE yadaya. EXPLAIN, LIST, DESCRIBE etc. Circle and write a (1), (2), (3) etc so you know how many parts there are to the qsn.

6. Include clear, numbered headers for every subpart of the question. 1 Paragraph = 1 header.

7. If you finish the paper with 1hr to spare, use the time to underline your headers with a different color pen.

8. Draw mindmaps in essay answers if it helps. It takes up meaningful space and makes your answer look more structured.

9. Use short forms liberally. Your prof probably actually can read them. For example, I use ‘Eco Develp’ to mean Economic Development. Its not english language or GP, no marks deducted for short form, but long and illegible scribbles might annoy the marker.

10. For essay exams, if you finish, you’ll know it. No need to deceive youself into thinking you may miss something out by sitting out the remaining 45mins in the exam hall doing nothing. You’ll be better off revising the next paper / or enjoying the holidays 45min earlier than the rest.

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