Exam season is over in many schools but for those doing O and A levels it’s in full swing and nerves kick in worse every passing day. Summer holidays are great but you have to survive exam season to get to them and then there’s the dread of results day. So how is it that you avoid embarrassing exam mistakes? Here are some tips to give you a fool-proof paper and a A* transcript:

Don’t get ahead of yourself

Don’t get cocky if you find a subject easy or have rote learned the mark scheme – always revise and check EVERYTHING.

Not reading the question properly

It’s daft to throw away easy marks because of silly mistakes. The stress and pressure of the exam situation can lead you to make silly mistakes that cost you valuable marks. The brain has a habit of seeing what it wants to perceive. This is most likely to occur in the high-pressure environment of the exam room. If you don’t read a question carefully enough, your brain can easily trick you into thinking that the question is asking you something completely different.

Don’t go overboard

Thinking outside the box is great but sometimes (read that as all the time –  in exam situations), it can lead you to lose marks that you wouldn’t have lost had you stuck to the orthodox method.

10/10 for creativity. 0/10 for correctness.

 Making basic spelling and grammar errors

It is admittedly much harder without a spell check, particularly, if you’re used to regurgitating your teacher’s notes and writing essays based off of them on your laptop. You do, however, need to be able to write basic English well, without spelling or grammar errors and believe it or not, under exam pressure, sometimes your mind goes blank when in search for the easiest of phrases or spelling.

Just as a basic check, read back over what you have written at the end, and make sure it makes sense. Stress > Syntax

MCQ conundrums

It’s all too easy to overlook the fact that you’ve already answered a multiple choice question and answer it again with a different answer, leaving two boxes ticked and an examiner who has no idea which you meant to mark as the correct answer – and no choice but to give you no marks for this question. It’s also easy to circle one answer when you know that you meant to circle a different one; focus, you’ve only got one shot at this. If you’re sitting a multiple choice paper, it’s important to allow enough time at the end to check through all your answers to make sure that the correct ones are circled. If you change your mind and want to cross out an answer, make sure it’s very CLEAR that this is not your answer by putting a big cross through it or erasing it thoroughly, just so that there’s no possible ambiguity.

And finally… don’t forget to actually go

Make sure you read your statement of entries accurately. Double check whether you have an AM paper or a PM paper and on what day. If you have clashes, get arrangements made for them well in advance.


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