“Big time learning happens only when the knowledge is implemented well”.
Having said this, a point that comes to my mind is how to put your thoughts and knowledge on paper during exam times is an ART, which everyone should know and develop to score good marks. To solve any question paper there are certain pointers that need to be followed well, as in Strategizing, Structuring and formatting the answers. Let us discuss each pointer in details.
“Strategizing your process of writing the exam”
- Spend at-least 4/5 minutes reading and re-reading the question paper.
- Mark the questions you are most comfortable in answering or you are confident about the answers.These would be the questions you would be attempting first.
- Check the marks allotted for each question, this should be your criterion to decide the length and points you would like to include in the answer.
- A question paper might have some numerical and some theoretical questions, if you are good and confident with numbers, attempt the numericals they will fetch you more marks.
- Once these questions are done, move on to the other questions where you are not that sure with the answers. Try and write some definitions, formulas or some explanation as per your understanding. You can even draw some relative figures or graphs for such questions. This will compel the examiner to give you some marks. My suggestion is do not leave any question un-attempted.
- Time-management is very crucial when it comes to writing papers. How much time you have to spend on writing an answer to a question entirely depends on the marks that question carries and not on how much you know about it. For example, if it is a 2 marks question, write concise and concrete answer without much details and sub-pointers even though you can write an entire article on it.
- If you don’t understand any question or some technical term in question feel free to ask about it to supervisor.
- If you feel or understand question in exam is wrong / inappropriate, still do attend it. You can get full marks for it from board/ university.
Let’s discuss the second pointer “Structuring your answers”.
- The moment we see a question, there are various points that come to our mind which we intend to write in the answer and we start writing haphazardly however the logical structuring of the answer is very important and this structure gives a clear idea to the examiner that you have enough and right information with you.
- If it is a theoretical question then the answer needs to be divided in 3 sub-points, introduction, elaboration and conclusion.
- Start your answer by writing definitions or general information about the topic in the first paragraph. Move on to the elaboration part and write the details about the topic. Last but not the least write the conclusion. Let me explain with an example, the question is about advantages/disadvantages of media. You can start writing about media, types of media and its overall impact. In the elaboration part you can write the advantages and disadvantages with examples and lastly while concluding put in your views about the whole topic.
- The elaboration part includes, diagrams, examples and pros and cons of a topic.
- If you are not very confident about the answer, do not write irrelevant points and waste your time, rather focus on questions you are more confident of writing the answers to.
Information that is presented well is always received well. Formatting your answer sheet is very important to make an appeal to the examiner. Certain points that you should keep in mind while writing your answers are:
- Always draw margins on your answer sheets; this helps the answer to be written in a proper space and even gives you space to do calculations if it is a numerical question.
- Use question number while writing. Always write the question number on the left side of the margin.
- Use good handwriting (legible) so that your examiner can understand what you have written and the over-all impression is good.
- Use special headings while writing an answer.
- Write brief, succinct, to the point answer.
- Try not to exceed word limits.
- Write in bullet points, especiallythe elaboration part. (except if you are writing an essay).
- Draw flow charts, diagrams, pie charts, triangle, stars, any shape and label them (even if they do not exist in textbooks, create them out of your imagination).
- Highlight key words. Do not highlight words which you are not sure about, otherwise you might land up in a scoop.
- Leave space between 2 rows. Draw a line to separate one answer from the other.
- Try and start a new answer on a fresh page, if you have a few lines remaining on the same page.
- Use a high quality pen to write answers. Nobody likes smudged ink.
- Keep the copy as neat as possible.
- Be careful while attaching the supplements. Number them and write the total number of supplements on the main sheet.
- Write your roll number on each supplement however ask the invigilator first.
Friends! It is exam time right now and as discussed in my previous blog you should be physically and mentally fit to write a great exam. Keep yourself stress free and motivated to do well in the exams. Always remember this is not your last and final opportunity to be successful. In life you have to face many more and bigger challenges with fruitful results. Believe in yourself, everybody has got a potential, just prove it friends!!! Stay positive, calm and focused. All the best!