QMU Guidelines Exam Tips

QMU Guidelines Exam Tips

Exam Tips - Six strategies for exam essays

Take time to choose the right questions

  • Read the whole paper carefully - tick questions you can attempt
  • Check you are clear re: the key words and content you need to know. Make a final choice.
  • Check amount of marks per question. Divide the time between questions in proportion to marks – note starting times for each.

Make quick plan of structure and content

  • Essential! -and jotting down points helps to calm nerves.

  • Make a quick plan or diagram – work out essential content to put in, and double-check the angle you need to address (Discuss? Explain? Compare?) Number your points in the order you will cover them.

Get to the point

  • The more relevant points you cover, the better your essay.
  • Don’t get ‘long-winded’ – if you start to ramble, stop yourself and go back to the plan.
  • Shorter sentences can help you stick to the point and say more.
  • For each point, check: am I still answering the question?

Stick to a time plan

  • As you write, keep to a time plan. Leave a gap if you can’t remember a name or fact – go back later.
  • Don’t risk missing out a question –attempt the right number.

Keep structure clear–‘signpost’

  • Make your structure clear: intro, main body, conclusion.
  • Use linking words and phrases to ‘signpost’ the structure and help it flow - let the reader know when you move on to a new point or section, so they can follow the steps of your argument.

Intro and Conclusion

  • Keep these short but clear.
  • Introduction: say how you will address the question. Outline the order of your main points as a guide to your essay – stick to it.
  • Conclusion: Sum up main points briefly – and refer back to the question, to show how you have answered it.
  • Number questions/pages clearly. Obvious, but easy to forget...

Contact the Effective Learning Service for a more detailed leaflet, and for extra advice and support or drop in to room 1153