If you are wearing a wrist watch, take it off and place it on the desk where you can see it. This way, you won’t get so absorbed in what you are doing – and that happens often – that you forget the time and finish too late to read over your paper, edit and correct spelling and punctuation. In the re-reading at the close of the exam you may need or want to add a few points that you missed. While these may be out of sequence in the answer they can still earn you marks. So leave space after each question, say half a page, just in case.
Keep a wary eye on the time because you may be surprised at how quickly it passes. If you find the first question out of four has used up a third of your time, calculate the time remaining for each of the other three answers.
Better still, don’t allow that to happen in the first place unless you see some advantage in such a strategy. Some questions may carry more marks than others (this is indicated on the exam paper) so you may prefer to go for the big time first!
People work at different rates. If you are a fast worker you may also be a careless writer, so be aware of this and allow more time for checking and correction at the end. If you are a slow worker don’t waste time on roughing out notes for an answer or dithering about which questions to answer. Self-discipline now is vital if you are to keep up with the quick workers. Slow and steady may win the race, but an exam is invariably a race against time for anyone who knows their subject well.
Having placed your watch on the desk, get in the habit of glancing at it frequently to see if you are on schedule. If you are not, take corrective action to ensure that you don’t run short of time to answer every compulsory question as comprehensively as possible.
These may seem like statements of the obvious, but it’s amazing how many students don’t think about the technique of writing an examination paper. They focus only on the knowledge they must regurgitate, not how they are going to do this to the best of their ability.