If you have to deal with written exams as every student does, knowing a few tricks for revision could be quite helpful.

How to increase your chances to pass written exams?

1. Be prepared, get up early before the exam.

Prepare all you need in advance: pens, pencils, calculator, dictionary, etc. It will make you focus on the task at hand.

2. Relax and don’t lose belief in yourself.

Try not to worry too much. Avoid talking to other students before the exam: anxiety can be contagious. Instead, remind yourself that you are well-prepared and will certainly pass the exam well. If you are feeling a burst of anxiety during the exam, take a few slow deep breaths to relax.

3. Be calm and self-disciplined.

Take a comfortable place. Make sure you have enough working space. Keep your posture straight.

4. Take a look at the task.

Spend 10% of the time carefully reading the task, highlighting key points, and making a decision on how to allocate your time.

In the beginning, answer easy questions and put aside the most difficult ones to have more time to think about them at the end. After reading questions, write down a few ideas that could be used for responding.

5. Think about what you are going to write.

Make a plan including the ideas you are going to use. Number them clearly according to the order in which you are going to list them.

6. Answer questions in a considered manner.

Start with easy and high-value questions, the answers to which you know. In the end, think about the most difficult and complex questions that require many calculations or detailed responses, or those that would give you a few points.

7. If you are asked to pick one option out of a few ones but don’t know the correct answer, try to take a guess.

First of all, rule out the answers that you are sure are wrong. Always try to guess if you have sufficient grounds to exclude options. Usually, the first choice is correct, so don’t change your answers if you are not sure.

8. Try to answer to the point.

Describe your main idea in the first sentence. In the first paragraph, make an overview of your essay. After it, expand the outlined concepts in detail. Add to your answers more information, examples, excerpts from textbooks, or lecture notes.

9. Devote 10% of the written exam time to reviewing your answers.

Look through the test and don’t stop until you have reviewed all the items. Make sure you have answered all the questions. If you have time, check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If you are taking a math exam, check your answers for possible mistakes in calculations.

10. Analyze your results.

Each exam prepares you for the next one. Decide what strategies are right for you. Find out which of them don’t work, and don’t use them in the future. Use your test papers for preparation for the end-of-course written exams.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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the power of misfits

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