I’ve always known that managing my time during exams is extremely important, as it is essential to spend an even amount of time on all questions of a similar difficulty level.
My normal routine is to read all the questions first, before starting with the fundamentals that I’m most confident answering. I like to get these ones out of the way, securing myself a pass in the process. This helps me to concentrate more, when it comes to answering the questions I’m not so sure on, as I’m no longer stressing about scoring that pass mark.
There is a downside though, to this way of going about things, that being that it’s easy to ramble on for too long about a subject you know. Even though it shows you are quite knowledgeable in a certain area of this subject, it can affect your overall mark in a negative way, as going into too much detail means you are spending less time on the rest of the exam and, when it comes down to it, there is a limit to the number of points an examiner can give you for one question.
This is something I did quite recently. I started off my exam with confidence, finding that several of the questions were relatively easy and the others still simple enough to understand and answer. However, I did get carried away with those first few easy ones, which meant that I found myself, an hour into my two hour exam, having only answered five out of the twelve questions. This, obviously, made me a tad anxious and even though I did manage to finish up without any major problems, I wasn’t as detailed in the final questions as I would have liked.
I took away, from that exam, two important tips for surviving a test:
1) Time management is critical. Make sure you only spend a set amount of time on each question. If, when you’ve finished, you still have time left over you can always go back to add a bit more detail to some of your answers.
2) It’s about time I invested in a watch!!