Exam Room Techniques


You have crossed the first hurdle by studying cleverly and are ready for the big jump. What you now want to do, is to give your brain the best chance to perform at his best and that is to make him as relaxed as possible and create a well planned recall strategy. I am perfectly aware that anybody writing an exam paper will be on edge and will want to start writing as soon as possible as you will be afraid of not finishing in time.

As teacher and examiner of many years of experience I have seen countless candidates mess up because they did not plan the answering of their papers. What I want you to understand is that, first planning a paper and making rough notes goes much faster than thinking and writing at the same time.  I thus urge you to seriously take the following tips as 'must do' in your exams.

       As part of a good exam environment make sure you have the correct stationary, some water, and
       your own watch.

       When you get your question paper, leave it for a moment and relax by doing an Anchor. Put your
       brain in a positive mode of knowing that you studied well and that you are going to enjoy writing.

       Then take deep breath, exhale slowly and open your paper.

Now you plan your paper by doing the following:

       Spend 10 minutes out of every 30 minutes writing time on planning.

       Quickly read through the whole paper, marking the questions you know well. Do those
       questions first.

       Even in a Maths paper, do go through the paper and mark the questions you think you will be able
       to do easily.

       Do a time allocation for all questions. Stick to these times. Do not sit on a question you are stuck
       with. Rather carry on and come back later if you have time. You don't want to run out of time with
       easy questions not done.

       When answering short questions, do not force your brain to get an answer you can not recall.
       Carry on with the next question, your brain most probably will find the answer later, and when it
       does, write that answer down immediately. Do not try and 'remember' it, you are not going to.
       Once your brain has given you the answer he is not going to do so again.

       When answering essay style questions, plan your answer in rough and then write it out in neat.
       The rough notes are what the name says, rough, not full sentences. Believe me, you will
       answer your essay much better and quicker when you first plan it.

       Work as neatly as possible. You may not have the most beautiful handwriting, but you can still
       work neatly. Get the examiner on your side by giving him a neat answer paper to mark. If he is on
       your side, he will help you, if not, he won't.

       Do take a rest after 30 minutes. Give your brain a short while to rest. All you need to do, is to put
       your pen down, sit back and close your eyes for a minute. Even have a quiet stretch. Take some
       deep breaths and think positive things  -  "I know my work and am writing quite well."