How to write a good exam

From UBC Wiki
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The most important aspect of writing an exam is being able to clearly convey what is going on in your mind. Think of an exam like a job interview. You want to convey your best side and eliminate all ambuguity. Ambiguity can be thouhgt of as something that can be seen in more than one way. You may know the right answer but if you don't clearly show the marker how you know the right answer they will not give you the marks you deserve. It's not so much about cheating either, sometimes the question requires a long calculation to arrive at the correct answer and you will need to show that process clearly.

Tips to remember:

1) Always bring a pencil, eraser and ruler to all exams. It shows that you are taking the exam seriously and are trying your best to convey your thoughts clearly.

2) Write your name and student number in ink, and initial all pages in ink but do the rest in pencil so that you can reorganize your exam if you need to.


Do not erase anything that you may want to refer to later!!

3) Keep in mind that your exam is the only medium that your marker will see. It should be seen as a resume of your thoughts. Take a moment to lay it out correctly and leave enough room for calculations, diagrams, etc.

Tips while in the exam:

1) Get to know your exam first, make sure you have all the pages and skim each question to get a feel for the types of questions you need to solve.

2) Don't spend more than a couple minutes if your stuck. Move to a question that you feel you know more about. Often times I will remember important information for one question while doing another.

3) Manage you time. A wrist watch is always a good idea. If your exam has more than one question there will be a number of different ways to complete your exam. For example: You may want to focus on the questions worth the most. You may want to focus on questions that you feel most comfortable with. You may want to spend a proportional amount of time on each question.


My strategy is to answer the questions I feel most comfortable with first. As soon as I get stuck at one part of the question I will move to the next most comfortable. I try to answer as much as I can for each question and then I will start the cycle over. Usually I need to do this cycle a few times before I am finished the exam. Sometimes I don't finish the exam but at least I have answered the parts I feel most confident with.

Lastly, relax. You will always have a second chance. Before an exam occupy your mind with easilly reviewable material, like a chapter review. It is good to find a classmate you like and alternate asking each other five questions. Don't worry if you don't get the question, most student do better during exams then they thought they would.