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How to Perform Well in Exams - 10 Expert Tips

As a student, do you find yourself not scoring the results you know you could have achieved? What is it that you're doing wrong?

We have compiled a few things you can make sure you avoid while writing your examinations, and also a few good ways in which you can ensure you find success in your assessments.

1) Make sure to not mis-manage time

The plights of time management - it can be so frustrating to realise you could have scored so much more if only you had gotten more time with a question.

What causes time to slip away without your knowledge or your consent? There can be too many factors. Something could be distracting you within the room. Your mind could be caught wandering elsewhere for an unfortunate minute. Your writing hand might be asking for a break, so you take a few minutes off altogether.

How can you make sure you don't fumble with your precious time? Good time management is a skill that needs to be given focus. Yet it is expected to be learnt on one's own, outside the classroom.

2) Divide your time into segments

The best solution for time management that you can start with - before you enter your examinations - is to divide your time up. Create a plan that includes the amount of time you will be spending per question.

For doing this, you need to get an idea of what the question paper is going to consist of, and then calculate how much time you can ideally spend on the smaller question types, and the more elaborate ones.

Make sure to leave some time for planning your longer answers out, and also leave some time for the end so you can proof-read everything you've written!

3) Don't miss/ skip questions

As far as exams go, there is no greater tragedy than realizing you missed an entire question, or even an entire segment because you might have forgotten to flip a page over, or accidentally flipped two pages over. Surprisingly, this is not completely unheard of.

Another easily avoided mistake can be skipping questions - this is especially prominent in multiple choice examinations. There is no penalty for getting your answers wrong, and it is best to give each question your best shot, even if you are taking on a random hunch, as long as it is reasonable and logical to you!

Students who attempt challenging questions are more likely to score higher grades - and this is something you can practice for while you are revising. If you find yourself at a bit of tight spot for a multiple choice exam, make sure you look carefully at the options and eliminate the choices that you think are more plausible to be wrong.

4) Read each question carefully

In some exams, especially in multiple choice papers as well as essay papers, you need to watch out for certain key words in the questions. Make sure to not skim through the question - instead, scan the question and find the key words that are essential for you to come up with the best answer.

Some questions may seem slightly confusing due to elaborate language - this is usually done deliberately in order to confuse you. Make sure you read it properly and summarise very clearly in your mind, what it is asking for. This is especially necessary for questions that require longer, essay-like responses. You wouldn't want to write a whole essay that is missing key points that the examiners are looking for.

5) Leave the unfriendly questions

Is there a segment in the exam that you particularly dread? Is there a type of question that you completely hate? There is a good chance that you will encounter one of these - you cannot eliminate the possibility of facing the questions you don't like. What you can do, however, is leave them until the end!

The reason why I'm saying this is because you might have more time towards the end, especially if you started off with your relatively favourite, easier topics, and you have also been conscious of the time.

Also, consider this: when you have already written the rest of the paper seamlessly, without many challenges, you are likely to be more confident by the time you come back to the question you are dreading.

Although I give this as a tip, make sure you only take it up if it works for you. This is a very subjective technique - everyone has a different method to the madness, and you wouldn't want to deviate from yours - unless you are sure that it works, and also if you think your writing speed is satisfactory.

6) Create rough mindmaps

For your longer answers, make sure to construct a plan, because doing so will allow you to write quickly as well as confidently. Planning your long answers or essay questions might seem like a waste of time, since you are not contributing directly to your essays in any way.

Indirectly, however, it is going to help you save time. It is know which points you are going to write about, and in what order you would like to present them.

Creating a mindmap also allows you to understand the scope of each answer. Within the time that you've given yourself for each question, you might not be able to give too much attention to each point if there is limited time. It helps to use mindmaps to keep yourself organised, and more importantly, to show clarity in your writing.

7) Make the final minutes count

Once you finish answering all the questions, you might be tempted to just get it over with, and leave the examination hall. However, make sure to allow yourself enough time to proofread everything you've written.

Proofreading helps you see your writing with objectivity, and helps you pick out any mistakes regarding spelling, punctuation or your overall syntax. Moreover, you can also edit a little bit, in addition to proofreading - you might realise you can easily add new words and phrases to give more meaning or clarity to what you have already written down.

As you know, each minute you get for an examination is precious, so it's great if you can utilise the final few minutes to make sure you don't regret anything. If you leave early, you might even immediately realise there was something you forgot to do, and it's best to avoid that by being on your guard until the very end.

What else?

There are some other tips you can pay attention to while you are revising - even in the final stages of your revision - to ensure your pre-test preparation is done in a manner that makes the best utilization of your time.

8) Know your writing speed

If you think slow and steady writing is going to make you a winner, you might not be too correct. On the other hand, if you were thinking you should actually blitz your way through the exam with alarming speed,that might not actually be the best game plan either!

Students who usually score high write at a moderate to moderately fast pace. The reason for this is that they pace their answers deliberately. Writing too slow is going to hinder you from managing your time in an effective way. Meanwhile, writing too fast can make your writing lack clarity and organisation, and can also make your writing seem less legible.

The key to having good writing speed is making sure you strike the right balance between speed and accuracy. Make sure to go through a past paper at least a few days before you take your examination, so you can understand the way you're writing. If you are satisfied, and think you write relatively quickly yet neatly, then you're on the right path.

9) Practice the format of the exam

You need to know the question types you will be facing for the exam. In the midst of the exam, you could accidentally pick 2 questions to write instead of one - or vice versa - simply if you misread the instructions in the heat of the moment.

The key to avoiding is to know, for example, how many essay questions you need to write, so you know exactly what you are required to do before you start the exam. The format of the papers will stay consistent, and if there are any changes, the teacher will let you know what the changes are. If you were expecting more questions in any segment than you get, always ask your invigilator before you make your own decisions - it's best to be prepared.

If the worst happens and you realise you've written the wrong number of questions, don't panic. For the knowledge of your examiner, write down what you omitted or did wrong, in a condensed and comprehensive manner. Then, you can use the remaining time to repair the damage - either to write quick bulleted points of an essay response, or a shorter version of your alternate answer. There's no guarantee you will be compensated for lack of attentiveness, but your error could receive consideration if you take this measure.

10) Prepare with peers

For tricky topics, always seek ways to engage in a discussion outside of the classroom, with either your peers or your teachers. To be a top achiever, or to simply comprehend something taught in class, never feel inferior when it comes to asking for support. It is an initiative you are taking for actively engaging with your studies.

Certain curriculums and subjects can be difficult, and sometimes you require the help of a friend, a teacher, or maybe an expert tutor to help you score the best grade possible. We can help you there - Vidyalai provides live online one-to-one classes, with dynamic, certified tutors handpicked from across the world. If you aren't satisfied with your tutor, your first session will be free.

If you find yourself unsure about how to get the score you want, request for a lesson in any subject by clicking here, and take a step towards the academic excellence you know you could achieve, with the right guidance.

How to Perform Well in Exams - 10 Expert Tips
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