How do I time my exam?
represents the best advice I can give but – as I always say – it’s
best to TALK TO YOUR OWN TEACHER to see what they say
probably the area where pupils foul up most often.
is certainly the area where good candidates can easily come a cropper.
up to 5 minutes reading through/thinking about the questions, to
decide which ones you are going to do. Think: ‘what is
it really asking’ and ‘how much could I say about that’ as you
scan the paper.
YOU START WRITING, look at the clock and work out the times by
which you must have finished each question.
LOOKING AT THE CLOCK throughout the exam, to see how you are doing
for time. Constantly be adjusting how you are working to
keep yourself on track, timewise.
EACH QUESTION, split up the time you give to each part of the
question in the same way. Allow a short thinking time before you start
writing – jot down a few words as ‘prompts’ for a
plan. Then use the number of marks as a guide – eg the
sourcework extraction question worth 3 marks must be done quickly with
three** correct points. Spend a greater proportion of the
time on the descriptive and analytical essay questions which carry 8,
10 or 15 marks.
PS my son disagrees. He says, if you have a three-mark question, put
FOUR points – in case you get one of them wrong.
NOT THINK-THEN-WRITE. Once you have mapped out a plan of what you
are going to say, while you are writing the one sentence be thinking
of the next sentence.
the questions in order of difficulty, not the order they come
in. Answer the easiest question first. It will build up
your confidence and, while you are writing, the back of your brain
will be mulling over the other, harder questions. So, if
there is a question you think you cannot do, read it, think about it,
then go and answer some other questions – come back to it later.
into the exam knowing how much time you have for each question, and
A WATCH ON THE CLOCK!
you have gone too slowly...
despite all this advice, you still look up at the clock and find you have
got 4 questions to do in 10 minutes:
just continue writing at the same pace and run out of time
with 3 questions not done.
how much time you have per question,
that time just jotting down key points.
make sure that you write SOMETHING for every
you end up with time to spare...
have not said everything you could have said – either because you did
not learn it well enough when you revised, or because you have not thought
of everything you know.
leave a few lines after every question so, if you do finish early,
you can go back and see if you can think of anything more to say.
through your work to see if it makes sense – you’d be
surprised how often you have written gobbledegook!
an exam early:
trying to add points to your answers, and
you have written to make sure it makes sense.