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Answers from a Lazy Topper: How to write an Exam
Why the hell should I even bother writing this? All of you already know how to write an exam. You have been writing exams for a long time now.
But do you really? Do you really know how to write your paper You might think you do, but trust me on this one, you don’t.
So to help you out, here I have a list of suggested ways on how to write your exam:
1. Handwriting Matters:
A paper is usually judged by how neat and legible the handwriting is. A lot can be said about a person by simply looking at his handwriting. When the teacher has a bundle of sheets to grade, the last thing he/she would want is to work extra hard to just read what the student has written.
The key is to have really neat handwriting. If you can’t help scrawling on the paper then just leave a good amount of space between the words. In most cases, marks are not given for good handwriting. But writing neatly always has an added advantage and creates an impression on the teacher's mind. The teacher tends to skim through the answer rather than read it word-by-word. This is because good handwriting very inaccurately suggests that the student knows what he/she is writing. Which, in turn, means that incorrect grammar or sentence construction can be easily overlooked. Unless, it is an English exam.
Do you have good handwriting?
2. Repeat the Question?
There are sometimes one-sentence/word questions which are simply asking you give the correct answer. Sometimes, what we as students do (I used to earlier do it), we repeat the entire question before coming to the answer. For instance, if the question is, Who is the Queen of England?, The answer that some students give is 'The Queen of England is Elizabeth II.' The first four words seem a bit redundant in this case.
Imagine if the teacher had to read that same sentence for over a 30 times. He/She’d go mad. And you also lose significant amount of time writing those four extra words.
However, if your teacher does insist on complete sentences, then make sure that you underline the answer. In this case, the teacher can simply jump to the answer without reading the entire line. Trying to make your answer script more teacher-friendly is the key to scoring better marks.
3. Writing in points:
Always whenever possible, write the answer in points. But never do that in an English paper. In an English paper, you are judged on how you express your answer.
While for other subjects, I would recommend concisely presenting your answer in points. Say for a six or eight mark answer, it is always better to mention sub-headings before explaining your points. That is why, when you do make notes, always jot down the points. This will also help you recall them later. Again, this makes it easier for the teacher to make sure that you have written all the relevant points and grade you accordingly.
4. An introduction/conclusion is brownie points:
Great, so now you write your answer in well-formed, well-supported points. But without an introduction and a conclusion, your answer is incomplete. You need to introduce and conclude your answer smartly.
Like if for instance, the question is: Write down the factors which leads to Global Warming. The introduction will never be: The factors which lead to Global Warming are-. No that is #2 (repeating the question). The key to writing a proper introduction is to give a description of the answer that you are going to present. Now for the above mentioned question, the introduction can be the answer to: What is Global Warming?
However, the line the factors which lead to Global Warming can be a conclusion. But a single well-stated preventive measure would be a better conclusion.
Warning: Only write an introduction/conclusion if the answer is for a higher mark.
Otherwise you lose time.
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- Always remember that the clock is ticking. If you are running short of time, then just mention the important points to the answer.
- Try to frame your answer before you attempt it instead of criss-crossing afterwards.
- Never beat around the bush, unless you don’t know anything. It is always frustrating for the teacher to go through a long answer and not find any relevant points.
- Keep the language simple. Your goal should be present the answer in a way that even a small child reading it will understand.
5. Dates/timelines make you look smarter:
Many students refrain from giving dates or timelines for fear of getting them wrong. If you are not sure, then it is better to avoid giving them. But if you are sure about them, then don’t hesitate. Providing dates and timelines is an important aspect of any knock-out answer.
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