Updated: Aug 24
During an exam can be an intense and often overwhelming period. You may forget things which once came easily to you or become easily distracted. These tips may help you improve your exam performance and ultimately improve the marks you receive.
Reading every question twice.
Receiving your paper back and realising that you’ve made countless mistakes due to reading errors can be extremely frustrating – Personally I have struggled with this immensely and have found bringing a highlighter into the exam and highlighting key words both forces me to read the question completely and draws my attention to providing what the question is asking me. This could also be effectively done by underlining or circling as well.
Attempt every question.
Even if you have absolutely no clue as to how to answer a certain question guessing and attempting is always better than a definite zero. This is easier in multiple choice – make sure to use a process of elimination for each question. In maths multiple choice, you are often able to input the answers they give you back into the question to find the correct answer with a little extra time.
Effective time management.
It can be easy to get carried away and spend too much time on a question or topic which doesn’t deserve your attention. Furthermore, realise when you have answered a question. I myself struggle to realise when I have sufficiently answered a question and spend an inordinate amount of time on something not worth the effort.
Mark the questions you are unable to do.
Doing this will allow you to pass by a question you are unable to do and not forget it later in your final skim through your questions. Ultimately this is efficient and will save time for the more intensive questions later in the paper.
Always double check your answers.
Finding out that you made small error in a singular line of working or used the wrong word in a topic sentence is an easy way to lose marks. Keep in mind that research consistently shows that if you are in doubt of a question, a revision of your answer later in the exam is statistically 51% more likely to be correct.
If unable to answer a question, write down any rule or statement that applies.
Ultimately, the HSC markers are looking to give you marks rather than take them away. If you show any scrap of knowledge regarding a question you may end up gaining a mark, which is better than none.
While these tips may seem rudimentary, it is amazing to see how drastically they can improve a mark. What works for you during an exam is what is important. Unfortunately this can usually only be figured out during exams, as such, putting yourself under exam conditions can help you combat the overwhelming conditions in exams.