Essay exams – it’s something that most students dread having to face. As if exams aren’t enough of a pain, right? To think that they’d go as far as combining the essay and the exam… You’re probably thinking that your teachers are out to torture you.
I don’t think that’s the case, though. You may feel pressured just at the thought of having to answer an essay exam, but that’s probably only because you have to write within a specified time. Well, I have good news for you: you’re actually capable of acing that essay exam! Let me share how I’ve managed it through the years:
Read all the questions (and the instructions) first.
This is a crucial step. Before you start answering anything, read and understand each of the questions on your exam paper. Which ones can you answer easily? Which would need a bit more thought? Are there any questions that you might not have the answer to at all?
Decide how much time you will need to answer each question.
After you’ve figured out which questions are easiest and which ones are hardest, you should budget your time. Say you’ve got an hour to answer ten essay questions. Prepare yourself to answer the easier questions in the shortest amount of time possible so that you’ll have more time to answer the hard ones.
Outline your answers before you start writing them.
Outlining is actually a practical thing to do when it comes to essay exams. The fact is that you need to save time and be organized and clean (no, your teachers don’t like it when you scratch words out) with your writing. That is actually achievable if you outline your answers.
Think of each answer as a mini-essay.
There will probably be instructions on how many sentences each answer is supposed to be composed of. You have to make sure to follow these rules. Think of your answer as a mini-essay – it needs to have a sort of introduction, a body, and perhaps a short summary.
Don’t forget to proofread!
This is something that you absolutely have to leave some time for. It’s not just about the content, after all – how you present the content is also very important to your teacher. Even teachers who don’t teach English usually care about your spelling.