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Introduction Exam techniques

Thinking through how you’ll approach your exam will help you demonstrate the knowledge you've gained during your studies to best effect. You aren't expected to know or remember everything but there are techniques that can help you allocate your time and approach the exam feeling confident you’re doing your best.

You may also want to look at techniques to manage exam stress and the important topic of revision.

In this video Open University student Katherine describes her way of coping with the emotional demands of an exam.

Coping with exam demands


Wording on screen at the start of the video: The first thing I do in an Exam? Katherine, student.

Katherine: Breathe. I breathe when the exam starts, I get very, very nervous about exams. And I found my last one I had to stop studying two or three days before because I was just so anxious. I was starting to have panic attacks every time I looked at the material so I started cleaning the house furiously and just kept myself physically active.

So I think for me it's trying to be centred and focused and also to try to be structured in answering the questions. So I'll look at the paper and pick out what I'm going to answer and then allocate myself times so I have a plan to work toward and don't get carried away on the first one for example.

You may find it useful to plan the way you'll start your exam. Having a routine can be calming when under pressure. This student recommends a checklist.

I have a mental checklist of what I need to do once I've downloaded the paper. I do this because I used to rush in and answer the first question that looked at all familiar. I tended not to plan and so the facts were all jumbled. My checklist makes me stop and think.

Exam stress can arise for many different reasons. If you're susceptible then read the article Managing stress and listen to the relaxation exercises. 

Last updated 7 months ago