Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Exam Writing 101

As I wrote an exam last night it got me thinking about all that I have learned from writing exams over the past 5 years of post-secondary education and 2 years of designation courses.

Disclaimer: I am not an exam writing expert, just someone who has been writing exams for what seems like half of her life.
1. Don't study too hard
This seems opposite of what you should do right?  I mean study hard, but don't go to your exam and sit outside the room with a piece of paper trying to cram stuff into your brain, because it won't work and it will just stress you out.
2.  Don't ask people who are writing the same exam as you if they have learned this and this and this
That freaks them out and will leave them panicked.  And it's basically just rude.  And maybe I don't care if I get 11% on this exam because I have calculated it and I only need 52% to pass the course at this point.....end rant.
3.  Bring multiple pens and pencils
You don't want to be that person who runs out of ink.  And bring both, even if you think you won't need a pencil, in case you forgot that the multiple choice was using a scantron sheet or something.
4. Relax before the exam
I stop studying a few hours before my exam to just chill out.  You also don't want to be exhausted when writing.  Take a nap that day if you need it.  (Or sleep for an hour and a half yesterday if you are me).  If your exam is in the morning, study hard the night before, but go to bed at a reasonable time and get enough sleep.
5.  Eat
Nobody wants a grumbling stomach mid exam.
6. When it's over, celebrate!
Usually, when I have an exam on a Saturday, I go shopping on my way home.  Because when you are studying for an exam you never feel like you have time for that.  It's nice to do something you enjoy without feeling guilty for not studying.
7. Forget about the exam afterwards
There's nothing you can do to change the results at this point, so don't go over every answer in your head and worry about it.  Easier said than done for some people I'm sure.
I could keep going, but I will stop at lucky number 7.  I know that everyone has their own exam writing style and the things that work for them.  So really this is most likely irrelevant to most people, but it is what has worked for me!

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