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Ace Your Exam: Tips for Success

Exams are a stressful time for all students, but there are a few tricks you can use to make it less stressful. Here are some tips you can use right before you write your exam to ensure that you ace your exam!

Reading time

If there is a multiple-choice section in your exam, DON’T READ THE QUESTIONS IN READING TIME. You are going to have to read them again anyway in the actual exam, so you’ll only be wasting your time by reading them in reading time. Instead, use this time to read through the short answer and extended response questions and think about how you’re going to answer them. This will give your brain some time to process the questions and subconsciously think about their answers.


I know many people do this, but I would highly recommend not leaving your exam early. The people that wrote your exam have given you the time they think it will take you to answer all questions WELL. If you leave early, chances are you haven’t done that. Use spare time to go over answers, add more detail to answers and check all calculations. In saying this, I do know people that have done well in an exam that they have left early- just not very many.

If you find that you never finish exams in time, try to pace yourself throughout the entire exam (not just towards the end when you start stressing). Try to allocate a minute per mark. I.e.: if the question is worth 5 marks, only spend 5 minutes on it.

If you find that there is a question that you are struggling to answer, skip it and come back to it when you have answered all of the other questions. If you keep focussing on that one, you might miss out on many marks that you could’ve gotten in the rest of the paper. Skipping it and coming back to it also gives your brain some time to process the question and think about an answer.  


I would highly advise doing the exam in the order that it was written. For example, if it is written: section 1: multiple choice, section 2: short answer, section 3: extended response, then do the questions in that order. The exam was written in this order deliberately. You may be tempted to answer the extended response first because it is worth more marks, but by completing the other sections first, you may remember some information that will be helpful in the extended response section.


Get straight to the point. Write concisely. If you feel tempted to answer a question by writing down EVERYTHING that you know about the topic, write down a concise answer first, and then if you feel the need put everything else after that. Markers will get annoyed if you dawdle through your answer. Perfecting your exam answers can take practice, but it will be so worth it in the end!

Also, make sure that you write down an answer for every question- even if you don’t really know the answer. If you write something down, maybe you’ll get follow through marks! Don;t leave any questions blank!


Getting a good nights sleep will definitely help you ace your exam. Sleep will most likely benefit you more than those extra few hours of study. By getting enough sleep, you will minimise stress and maximise performance. You’ll be able to concentrate more clearly in your exam the next day. Even if you could learn new things over the sleepless night, you would most likely perform better without that knowledge and with a good nights rest!

Don’t talk exam with your friends

Talk to your friends, yes. Don’t talk about the exam and the material that you had to study. Here’s an example situation- You leave your house feeling confident and calm- you’re fairly certain that you have covered all of the topics and feel ready. You arrive at the location of your exam and start talking with your stressing friends about the content. “We had to know about photosynthesis” says Suzy. You didn’t think that it was in this exam, but continue asking her questions about it trying to learn it for in case there is a question on it in the exam.

Now, you are stressed. You won’t answer any of the questions that you know well, because you are stressing. My advice? Even if there is a question on photosynthesis in the exam, you’ll be better off making educated guesses for that one question and doing very well in all the other areas that you have prepared for.

Talk about the weekend or American politics (ha) instead.

I hope these tips were helpful in helping you ace your exam!

Best of luck gang!

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