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Taking Exams

(adapted by Sally Kuhlenschmidt from Patty Randolph materials)

  • Getting Ready for Exams
  • The Night Before the Exam

    Going To The Exam

    Taking the Exam

    Taking an Objective Test

  • If an answer is not immediately evident to you

    Writing an Essay Exam

    1. Look for optional questions (if any) and understand what the options are. Points are often lost by students who haven't followed the directions.
    2. Read allof the questions before starting to answer them.
    3. Understand what you are asked to do; how does "define" differ from "compare" differ from "contrast", from "justify" etc.
    4. Make a rough outline of what you want to cover after your first reading.
    5. Read the question again and check that your outline will answer the question. It won't help you to answer some other question than the one asked.
    6. Plan your time allocation for answering and stick to it. Allocate time by the number of points assigned to a question, not the number of questions. More points-- take more time to write it.
    7. Write legibly-- have margins, write on every other line. Your professors eyes are tired when grading this-- make it easier on the professor and you won't generate irritability.
    8. If you are feeling anxious, do a short, easy item first. Be sure to check it again later when you are feeling calmer.
    9. If an item is ambiguous, begin with your interpretation of the meaning of the question.
    10. Mere quantity is insufficient. Listen to your writing instructors and apply those lessons to your essay question-- it's all about communicating your ideas to someone else.
    11. Don't leave a question blank-- No answer guarantees no points. A partial answer may at least earn you something.
    12. Don't waste time on emotional reactions. Gripe later.
    13. Watch your time.
    14. Save time for checking your answers (and space for insertions or additions).

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    Website created: June 1996. Page Created: August 1996. Last Modified: August 4, 2000.