Exam time can be stressful, but if you are well prepared for it, you can breeze through your next exam. After putting in the hours of studying and working on assignments, the exam is the last hurdle. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste because of mistakes that can be avoided.


Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when writing your next exam:


  1. Not answering the question

When answering exam questions, many students feel nervous and overwhelmed. This may lead to leaving some questions open, or not answering the question that was asked. Remember, leaving a question unanswered means no marks for it at all.


Start by ensuring that you have read the question thoroughly and that you have understood what is being asked. Avoid preparing set answers to questions when studying. This will prevent you from wasting time on writing down irrelevant information that has nothing to do with the question. Instead, ensure that you learn your study material well and that you have a good understanding of it overall. Don’t cram answers to questions when using practice papers to prepare for your exams.


Also read: This is What Happens When You Stop Cramming the Night before an Exam


  1. Not managing your time properly

Not planning your time during an exam is a mistake many students make. Many students find themselves rushing through the last bit of the paper because of poor time management. It is important that you plan how much time you will use on each question, and that you allocate an appropriate amount of time based on the length of the questions and how many marks they are worth. Set aside at least 5 minutes to read through all the questions before you start answering. This will give you a good idea of which questions to start with, and of how much time you need to allocate for each question.


  1. Not following instructions properly

The instructions you are given in an exam gives you an indication as to how you should be answering the questions. Pay special attention to words like ‘compare’, ‘define’, and other directional words. A word like ‘compare’ indicates that your answer should show differences and likenesses in your answer. A word like ‘define’ requires you to give a definition of what is being asked. Ensure that you have understood what is being asked and how you should answer it to avoid losing marks.


  1. Not checking all your answers

Many students make the mistake of not checking through their paper when they are done writing. If you have planned your time well for your exam paper, you should have enough time to give it one more check. This will help you spot any missing answers, give you an opportunity to add anything you may have skipped over, and help you to be confident that you are happy with your work.


Also read: Ace Your Exams! Tips for Reducing Your Exam Anxiety


Because of how stressful exam time is, many students find that they make mistakes that they could easily have avoided. Remember that it’s important to give yourself enough time to finish your exam by managing the allocated time effectively. Ensure that you read the questions carefully and that you understand what is being asked. This way, you can make sure that your exams are less stressful and that you steer clear of these mistakes.


Start your exam preparation! Click here to read about how smart students actually prepare for exams.


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