You’re in a fluorescent lit room with a bunch of your classmates. You’re out of grade boosting exam writing techniques. You’re anxious.
The table is cold, the plastic seats are hard and your teacher finally plods over to you in her high heels and hands you the biggest exam of the year – which is also your worst school subject.
It’s so quiet and the air is so stifling, that you can hear your teammate borderline wheezing as a nervous wreck on the other side of the room.
It’s game time. However, somehow you feel like you are being played.
Cramming sucks, so stop doing it.
According to a UCLA study, sacrificing sleep for last minute, caffeine-overdosed studying is actually counterproductive.
But what other tricks can you do before a big, letter grade changing exam to ensure you stay eligible to remain on the field of play?
Check out our exam writing tips below to ensure you keep your grades up and not become academically ineligible to play:
Sleep Good the Night Before the Exam
Remember I said that cramming sucks? Coincidentally, more often than not, students are tired from a lack of sleep and nervous from exam pressure due to being ill-prepared.
On the flip side, if you know that you have prepared for the best and the next day you just have to write what you have prepared for, there is nothing to worry about. So ensure you get into your night time routine and prep for a good night of sleep (hyperlink to sleep blog).
You will need it.
Get There 15 Minutes Before The Exam Starts
Nothing piles on the pressure more than a late mad dash to your exam where you know every precious minute counts.
Do yourself a favor and arrive at the exam destination 15 minutes before so you can do the following:
- Use the bathroom before it’s too late
- Hydrate yourself, especially for those long 1.5 to 2 hour exams
- Get in those extra study minutes on your areas of weakness
- Allow yourself to get settled and prepared mentally
Don’t Skim but Thoroughly Read the Exam Upfront
Don’t allow a misinterpretation of a few key questions on that big year end exam grade you down.
Take the time to thoroughly read the whole exam up front and the individual questions before starting the exam.
Analyse the questions, particularly on written papers before you decide to write your GPA down the drain. On written papers, spend at least 5-10 minutes to read it in its entirety and think about your plan of attack for each answer, its positioning and key points.
Take the extra effort early on to plan which questions you are going to answer and in which order so that you are not spending too much unnecessary time on questions that are not worth much in marks.
This initial planning will be both a time and letter grade saver.
Easy First, Hard Last
After reviewing the paper or exam, get the questions you deem the easiest out of the way first.
Some others may opt to do the hardest, longest or most heavily graded portions first – it’s all based on personal preference and based on a case-by-case scenario.
But if you think you can hammer out the easy questions first allowing you to feel like you are quickly progressing through the exam rather than painstakingly struggling through the harder parts, then this method is for you.
You can always later think over the questions you are not sure about and proceed to answer them accordingly. In fact, sometimes answering the easy questions will jog your memory on how to answer the hard or long parts.
Either way, it will save your time.
Limit the Fluff and Get to the Stuff
After you have a plan in place, it is very important to make sure you answer exactly what have been asked of in the question.
Try underlining the key words of the question for a visual reminder. Identify the main topic and make it clearly evident in your answer.
This will help you to write your answer in a proper order and in a right manner.
Coping with Writer’s Block
Dealing with writer’s block? Don’t’ worry about it as your mind can go blank on a particular answer from time to time during an exam.
Take control of your thoughts and reassure yourself that it was temporary and that you will soon get over it.
Move on to the next easiest question to reaffirm those positive thoughts.
After all, you have prepared and studied as best as you can. Therefore, the best will come out on your paper.
Look It Over As Many Times As Time Permits
Remember how fast your heart was beating as you jotted your answers in a flurry?
No that you have extra time, do some revisions to correct any mistakes you would have otherwise missed had you just patted yourself on the back and handed your exam in prematurely.
This may seem like overkill but the wise would revise their answers at least three times before submitting their paper.
Never Ever Leave Your Exam Early
Let other people who wish to show off do this. Before you run out of that door 15 minutes early to celebrate getting out of jail, there is always a chance to improve your exam or paper.
Review it repeatedly. Start back at the beginning and try to think of addressing your answer to the questions in different ways.
Something may jump out at you that you can quickly edit. It may make the difference between a B- vs. an A+ letter grade.
Writing exams can be daunting. However, by preparing with a solid foundation from a good night of sleep, starting with a plan of attack, staying on topic and using the extra time to review should produce winning results even in your toughest school subject.
Use the above steps so that when its exam time and the clock is ticking, you are able to be above your class both on and off the field of play.
Tell us in the comment section below, what other grade boosting exam writing techniques do you use?
So to start, if you have not done so already, be sure to create your profile on Classlete.com for more access and begin your journey to balancing school, sports, and your social life today.
-The Classlete Team