10 Tips for Exam Writing Success – Ridley College

Exam writing begins on Monday June 3rd, so in preparation the Learning Centre has created some tips to help you with your studying!


Examination period can be very stressful. However, being diligent about ongoing review, strategic planning, and writing strategies can help you persevere and do well. Successful exam writing requires: 1) effective review plans that refresh your memory and 2) exam writing strategies that help you demonstrate your learning.

Tip #1: Choose an Effective Space

If you are easily distractible, it is best to sit in the front or against a wall.

Tip #2: Relax and Stay Positive

Destructive thoughts can negatively impact your mindset while writing an exam; and ultimately impact your results. Try relaxation strategies like breathing deeply or using positive self-talk. Challenge faulty reasoning and visualize success.

 Tip #3: Write Quick “Memory Notes”

Do a quick jot note of important formula, dates, acronyms, facts, etc. in a blank space on the exam before you start answering the questions.

 Tip #4: Use the first 5 minutes wisely: Preview the Exam

Preview the exam for the format. Look at the types of questions. If there is an essay question, read the question so that your mind can begin thinking about it while you work on the first part of the test.

Tip #5: Allocate Your Time

Plan your time to ensure you have enough to answer all the questions. Allocate more time for questions that are worth more marks. Do not spend too much time on a question.

Tip #6: Start Where You’re Most Comfortable

Start with an easy question or a type of question that you prefer. This is a strategic method of increasing your confidence and lowering anxiety. Also, question types such as multiple choice may help you answer the essay or short answer questions.

Tip #7: Read the Questions Carefully

Read the questions carefully and do not make any assumptions abut what you have to do. Misreading or misunderstanding can cause an unnecessary loss of marks.

Tip #8: Write Legibly

Assessors cannot mark what they cannot decipher. Use headings within the answer if necessary.

Tip #9: Use All the Exam Time

Check that you have answered all the questions to the best of your ability. It is not a race to see who leaves the room first. Ignore what others do, especially early leavers.

Tip #10: What to do If Stuck

Skip the question and come back to it. Something on the test might help you in answering it. If you still don’t know, make an educated guess.

*Review your marked exam, especially if you are unhappy with the results. Determine why your performance wasn’t as expected, then adjust your studying and exam writing strategies for improved performance in the future.

There are two exam writing workshops, one this Thursday and one next Thursday May 30th 4-5pm.   Please click here to register.