1. You are not done until the time is up!
Do not think you are finished just because you have finished the paper/section. If there is still time remaining you should be checking over your work.
2. Get your easy marks first!
Papers and individual sections often have long or difficult questions placed fairly early on. These questions may end up costing you many marks without you meaning them to. If you know a question is going to take some time, starts to take up too much time or is going to be difficult, put a star (*) next to the question and come back to it later. In multiple-choice papers, each question is generally worth one mark so it is best to spend your time gathering all of the easy marks first from questions which take hardly any time to do and go back to the longer ones if you have enough time. With CEM papers there are often too many questions for the amount of time given so this technique will be very useful for students taking this style of paper.
3. Check over your work!
Always allocate some time to check over your work. This does not mean staring at your answer sheet proudly and saying to yourself ‘I’m finished’. It means actually working out the questions again to see if you come to the same answer.
4. Leave nothing blank!
Never leave a question unanswered, especially if it is a multiple-choice question. Think about multiple-choice questions in terms of probability. In a question with 5 options, an unanswered question has a 0% chance of being correct. However an answered question, even if it is a complete guess and you have no idea, has a 25% chance of being correct. If you don’t know the answer take an educated guess but if all else fails, put down something!
5. Running out of time?
If you are running out of time on a multiple-choice paper, mark something for every question. For example, if you find that you have a few seconds left and you have not answered the last 6 questions, put down something, or more to the point, anything, for those last few questions. Remember, an unanswered question has a 0% chance of being correct!
6. Do not revise the day before the exam!
Do not do any papers or revision the day before the exam. Have a complete day off. You do not want to become disheartened if you end up trying a tough paper and getting a bad score. This will stay with you and make you doubt your abilities during the real thing. It will also crowd your short term memory, hamper your ability to recall information from your long term memory and bias your answers towards the topic you have just crammed. Do what you like; watch TV, play on the Xbox, relax but get an early night. Make sure you have a healthy breakfast on the day of the exam and again, do not try to revise!
If you follow these 6 simple steps, exam day should run smoothly.