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Exam tips from expert tutors

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Worried about the big exam day? The Academic Support Team have shared their tips and advice.

Preparing for your exam can be difficult. It is common to feel overwhelmed when sitting under exam conditions and trying to remember all of the information that you’ve learnt. However, our expert tutors have provided their advice on how to remain calm, manage your time and answer each question to the best of your potential.

Let’s take a closer look …

Read the question - It sounds like common sense, but many learners do fail exams because they are not reading the questions carefully. This can be due to factors like stress, struggling to concentrate and anxiety, which is all fine and normal! Just take a deep breath, read the question, and think about your answer.

The examiner spends time setting the questions, which are then reviewed for clarity and level of difficulty by the examining team. As such, you need to understand what you’re being asked to do. Misreading the question can lead to answering it in a way that the examiner has not asked for, therefore leading to failure. Take your time, understand the requirements and highlight any keywords.

Plan your answer - This might sound familiar and a boring reminder but again, failure to plan is planning to fail. The problem with not planning is that somewhere in the middle of your answer, you may realise that you are not answering the question, which can then waste more time and add to your stress.

Although at the time it may feel like you’re using up precious time that could be answering the question, it’s extremely important to know what you’re going to write before you write it. A quick plan will help you to capture all the requirements of the question. When revising, get into the habit of planning essay-type questions, and don’t try to practice this for the first time while in the real exam.

Selecting your questions - If possible, attempt the easiest question(s) first as this will help your nerves to settle. No matter how prepared you are for the exam, you are likely to be nervous on exam day. Doing the questions that you find easier first can calm your nerves and give you a confidence booster when you are planning your time and answers.

Keep in mind that every exam is different and you will need to adapt your approach depending on the exam paper that you are sitting. So, this advice is not prescriptive and universal. In an exam structured in sections, you may want to do sections C, A, and then B, for example.

Keep to your time as much as possible - When planning specific time limits per question, there is a strong temptation to finish a question that you have started if you’ve run over your set time. However, this approach can adversely impact your time management meaning you might lose time to complete some of the easier questions elsewhere in the exam.

Try to keep to your time restrictions and move back to complete any questions if you have time in the end.

Don’t get stuck on one question - Avoid getting stuck on one question. Looking at a question that you are going to struggle with for a long time can be detrimental to time management. Leave the question and move on and come back to it later. You will be surprised that when you come back later you might have the key to unlock the tricky part of the question and view it in a completely different light.

Looking for more support?

If you are enrolled on a course with us, you are able to contact the Academic Support Team via your MyKaplan. You can email, live chat or request a call back from our expert tutors who can support you with any of those trickier topics.

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