Week starting 26 October

Hello HHDer’s! Welcome to another blog. This week I am going to run you through how to manage your time well on the exam, and what to do when you have 10 minutes left and you flick through the pages and realise that you have 5 pages left of questions to do *insert panic mode*

Break-down of the exam


You will have realised by now that each exam question is allocated a certain number of marks. Now correspond each mark to equal one minute. For example, if a question is worth 4 marks, you should spend roughly 4 minutes on that question, or if it is worth 6 marks then you should spend 6 minutes and so on. If you find that you are spending way too long on one question, then it probably means that you are writing an excessive amount of information that may not be necessary so it is best to wrap up and move on.

How much should I actually write?

Now how much do you actually need to write on each question so that you meet the time limit? Well it really depends on what the question is asking! What really helped me before the exam was compiling a list of command terms, such as ‘Identify’, ‘Describe’ or ‘Explain’, and learning what each of these words mean. This may seem tedious, but trust me, it really helps if you know what the examiner really wants from you. After doing this, you will realise that ‘Identify’ questions don’t consume as much time as ‘Explain’ questions, which means that if you are spending 10 minutes on an ‘Identify’ question, then you seriously need to move on.

Time management towards the end

If there are 15 minutes left until the exam ends and you find that you have 3 whole pages left including an extended response question worth 10 marks...don’t panic!!! This is where you should really plan your time out well to maximise your marks. If you see that you have a 10-mark question left, and a 6-mark question left, my advice would be to attempt the 10-mark question immediately, because in hindsight, it would be more ideal to lose 6 marks than to lose all 10 marks...right? If you are struggling for time, the 10-mark question would allow you to write down whatever information you know about the scenario and graphs you are given, and it would guarantee you some marks. You should have formulated a rough plan of how to answer this question in reading time (so yes reading time is really important so don’t use those 15 minutes thinking about what you are going to eat after the exam), so you should waste no time putting that pen down on paper. Of course this would be the worst case scenario, but how would you approach the exam so you won’t have to stress and leave out an entire 6 marks, or possibly more?

Approaches to the exam

With the extended response (10-mark) question being the most time consuming on the exam, it would be a good idea to do this question first. However, when you do this question first, keep an eye on the clock to ensure that you don’t spend the first half an hour on this one question and neglect the rest of the exam. Once you get this question out of the way, it would be a huge weight off your shoulders, and you can cruise through the rest of the exam paper. When you tackle the rest of the exam paper, it is best to do the questions you know the answer to first, to guarantee yourself some marks and to build your confidence in the process. With the questions you find difficult to understand, or the ones you are struggling with, don’t fret, and just come back to it later. You may find that as you continue grinding your way through the exam, something might enlighten you and you may suddenly think of a response for a previous question you left blank (as weird as that sounds, trust me, it has happened to me before).

Final point

So I guess the final point I’m trying to make is...DON’T STRESS!! If you have a gameplan going into the exam on how you are going to approach it, and not panic when things get tough, you will be able to think more clearly, even when you have 2 minutes left at the end and you realised you have a few questions left to go. You’ve got this HHDer’s!


Have a question?

In the final weeks before exams Martina will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Martina might answer it live!

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