Thursday, 13 March 2014

How To Tackle An Exam - Never Leave an Exam Early

The only possible excuse for this is when you are absolutely sure that you have got 100%, but even then, there is always something you can do to improve your paper. Check, and check again. When you’ve finished, start back at the beginning, and try to do the questions in different ways, and check they agree. Add more explanations if you can.

If you've got time left at the end, try remembering the mnemonic: ACUTE - This stands for Assumptions, Calculations, Units, Truth, Explanations.


Have you explained them all, even when not explicitly asked.

Have you checked them all - doing things different ways if possible and time permits. Did you press those calculator buttons right? Do the answers to different parts of the question agree? Check, and check again.

Have you written the units you're using? Do the units for all formulas make sense and agree - this is a very powerful technique for checking that your derivations are right and you're using the right formula.

Have you done all the parts of all the sections in the questions? If asked to make a list and explain why, don't just make a list. This is probably the biggest cause of unnecessary lost marks - read the question and answer the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Just like the truth in a court of law.

Have I explained what I'm doing at all stages - good explanations will get marks for method even if the answer is wrong; miss out the explanation and you're throwing away easy method marks. I have never left an exam early in my life.

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