During the Exam

Instructors are usually not trying to trick you but rather want to know how thoroughly you have mastered the information. Remember that an exam is testing what you know, it is not an evaluation of you as a human being.

Exam tips

  • Keep a positive attitude throughout the whole test and try to stay relaxed. If you start to feel nervous take a few deep breaths to relax.
  • Keep your eyes on your own paper; you don't want to appear to be cheating and cause unnecessary trouble for yourself.
  • When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that you know how to efficiently budget your time. Use a watch to better pace yourself.
  • Do the easiest problems and the problems that have the greatest point values first.
  • Always read the whole question carefully. Don't make assumptions about what the question might be asking.
  • Do not linger too long on one question. If you do not know the answer or approach right away then leave it and come back to it later. By doing this:
    • you will be less likely to miss points for questions that you can answer correctly;
    • you may build up your test-taking confidence and minimize undue test anxiety; 
    • you may be prompted with answers to the more difficult questions
  • Ask the instructor for clarification if you don't understand what is asked for on the test.
  • Write legibly. If the grader can't read what you wrote it will most likely be marked wrong.
  • Don't worry if others finish before you. Focus on the test in front of you.
  • If you have time left when you are finished, look over your test: 
    • Make sure that you have answered all the questions. 
    • Change an answer if you misread or misinterpreted the question or if you found corrective information elsewhere in the exam but not out of uncertainty. 
    • Watch out for careless mistakes (E.g. missed accents, dropped negatives, arithmetic errors), and proofread essay and/or short answer questions.
    • Double check to make sure that you put your full name on the test.

Next, learn some practical things you can do after the test to learn from mistakes and set yourself up for success on the final exam.