There are two kinds of students in the world – students who don’t mind
exams and students who completely hate them. If you’re the first kind, this
guide isn’t for you. If you’re the second kind, read on.
Do you go to pieces writing
essays in exams?
It’s not a trick question…
Examiners aren’t trying to catch you out. This might come as a
bit of a shock to anyone who’s ever been caught out in an exam,
but it’s true. So, if you’ve had one too many nasty surprises in
your exam papers, you probably want to know how to avoid it in
future. Here’s a few ideas:
Look at past papers – there should be loads in the library, or
ask one of your tutors where you can get hold of them.
Look at your old essays – what kinds of questions did you
get asked? Can you see a theme emerging?
Review your lecture notes – and look back over the lecture
timetable – again, can you see themes or patterns? They don’t just
do lectures for no reason, you know – most likely, the topics covered
reflect the sorts of areas that will be covered in the exam.
They’re there to help you – and it’s in their interest for
you to do well in your exams. Tell them your ideas, get
Have a chat to your course supervisor.
Well, you could start off by trying to plan four key mix-and-match
essays. Look in the course handbook at the overall goals for your
course – there’s probably not too many of them. Now look at the
really good bits of the essays you’ve written over the semester. How
do they relate to the course objectives? You should start to see some
connections – those are your revision topics.
Once you’ve got your revision topics,
you’ll be amazed how a little bit of fancy
footwork can change one essay into a
completely different one.
Look at some questions from past papers
– can you see how you could change what
you’ve written for one essay to fit a whole
If you can, good – if not, let’s try a different
Mix and match
Maybe you’ve done all that and the list of