Improving Your Exam Technique

Title: Improving your exam technique

Author: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Full Text & Source:
The Internet, Online, 10/8/2015

Sample Text:

Improving your exam technique could be the difference between a pass and a fail, so it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you are or aren’t doing correctly in the exam with this checklist.

Use your reading time
The 20 minutes’ reading time given to you before the exam starts is a gift that you really should make the most of. Although you can’t open or write in your answer book during this time you should have an action plan, dependent on your subject, on how to use this time to your advantage.

Read this article for advice, by subject, on what to do with your 20 minutes.

Answer the question that has been set
It sounds obvious, but time and again our examiners say a common reason why students fail is because they didn’t actually answer the question that had been set in the exam.

To ensure you avoid this problem, do:

  • read the question carefully – each word is included in it with a purpose
  • understand and analyse the question – break it down and think about the verb(s) used. If you wish to know what is expected from you with each verb used in the syllabus and exam questions, read this article
  • plan your answer – firstly, the structure (introduction, sub-headings, how many points, conclusion and so on), and secondly the content (by going through the data or the scenario given)
  • answer the question that has been set – make sure that you answer all of the requirements in the question and keep referring back to your answer plan to stay on track.

Do not:

  • answer only part of the question
  • answer the question that you had hoped to see
  • write everything that you know about the topic – you will only get marks for answering the question requirement.

Manage your time
This is simple but very important. You have 1.8 minutes per mark available – this means you have 36 minutes for a 20 mark question, 54 minutes for a 30 mark question and 90 minutes for a 50 mark question.

When your time allocation for a particular question is up, move on to the next question. You can leave some space to return if time permits at the end of the exam.

Even if you feel that you have more to write, you must move onto the next question and start picking up marks there. You will earn more marks by answering all of the required questions than if you spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to create a perfect answer to one particular question.

If you have time at the end of the exam you can always go back to a question and add more to your answer

Help the examiner out
Spend a little time thinking about how your answer paper looks, and if it is easy to read. This article provides a CIMA marker’s top ten tips for making your paper easy to mark….

read the rest of the article online


About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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