Summary Plan the paper StayFocussed Be Tidy Equipment? Time is marks.

PLAN THE PAPER - Now that you are calm, you can read the exam paper knowing that you will do well if you have revised. DO NO START THE EXAM WITHOUT A PLAN. From your revision, you will know which are your favourite questions, and there will be special advice in the subject area. But always include the timing below as part of your plan.
Check the rest of the advice on this page, and then go to the subject area page.

During the exam it is important to Stay Focussed, and that is not easy. Read Stay Focussed to make it a bit easier.

(If you have not read about coping with exam nerves then click here.)

RECOMMENDS Read Stay Focussed first before reading the rest of "Starting the exam".

BE TIDY - Marking is the worst part of teaching. At home the teacher is doing exam-marking to get some extra cash because the wife has nagged him, the kids want new Nike trainers, so the teacher has to do some ticking.

If your paper is a mess, scratching out, untidy diagrams and the rest, the teacher is going to be annoyed as it will take himlonger. No matter how professional the teacher is, they will be annoyed.

What happens then?

Benefit of the doubt. The teacher cannot decide whether what you have written is worth a mark. The kids are giving him grief, the wife is nagging, and your work is untidy. The mother-in-law is coming to stay. Do you get the benefit of the doubt?


Have you got all your equipment?

Plan this the night before - check that you have your equipment in the bag the night before the exam.

Check before you leave home.

The night before your first exam starts, make an exam bag. Put all the equipment you are ever going to need in your exam bag, If you take something out of your exam bag at home, make sure you put it back immediately you have used it.


CIE regulations say that there must be a clock in the exam hall.
Is this because CIE worry teachers don't have watches?

It is because students must know how long they have for the exam. Invigilators must also write up the start-and-finish time of the exam, and give a 5-minute warning at the end.

In a 2 hour exam if a student spends 20 minutes on a question worth 10 marks then the student has effectively lost marks.

What must we do about time in an exam?

When you work out which questions you are going to do, also work out when you should finish them - see plan the paper above. Suppose your exam paper is 2 hours long and is worth 100 marks. If the first 3 questions add up to 25 marks, that is a quarter of the paper and you should have finished that after 30 minutes.

Work out a schedule:-

Questions Finish after:-
1, 2 and 4 30 minutes
6, 8 and 9 60 minutes
Others 15 minutes before end
Now do checking
Now do bonus questions

Always check the clock in an exam.

Now check out advice for starting exams in the different subject areas.