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Time management tips to use during exams

Wouldn’t it be nice if you can write an exam for as long as you needed to? If you take an entire day or one week to finish a paper, you know for sure you are passing that exam. Unfortunately, exams do not only test your knowledge, understanding and application of a subject. They also test your time management skills while under pressure.

Time management is very important to practise while preparing for exams. This is because having all the knowledge in the world means nothing if you are unable to put it down on paper in a specified time frame. Here are 5 tips for you to practise time management during an exam.

5 time management tips

1. Practise writing fast

You will know if you are a slow writer if you have problems completing tasks during class time while everybody else finishes on time. If this is the case, you will have difficulty with time management in an exam and you will definitely need to work on your speed.

Other than learning your schoolwork, try doing some writing exercises. Choose a passage from your textbook and write down any paragraph using a timer. Write over that paragraph and try to beat your first time. Do this continuously until your hand hurts. Another writing exercise is keeping a journal. Try writing down every notable event of your day before you go to bed. By writing repeatedly, your wrist gets the exercise required for the pressure it will be withstanding during exams.

2. Plan ahead

Get in the habit of reading through an entire exam paper carefully and planning your approach to each question in under 10 minutes. Identify the easy questions and the ones that carry the most marks to tackle first. The harder questions should be done after you have accomplished enough marks to pass the exam.

During preparation, practise doing the difficult questions regularly. This will eliminate the problem of leaving out questions on a paper. By doing plenty of these tough ones with your teacher or using the answers at the back of your textbook, you should be able to make an effort when answering them under exam conditions. It is better to gain some marks than none so plan carefully to use every second wisely.

3. Use an analog clock or watch

While preparing for an exam, you should practise time management with an analog clock. This helps you during an exam because it lays out all the numbers with hands that clearly show you how much time with which you have to work. You are able to monitor the long hand on the clock that gradually hits the large numbers every 5 minutes up until the short hand hits every hour.

Students who have problems telling time on an analog clock usually struggle with time management in an exam. They have grown so accustomed to telling time on a digital clock on their phone, tablet, microwave and clock radio that they feel lost in an exam when there is a giant analog clock on the wall. Even if they have a digital watch on their wrists, they have to do a lot of calculations in order to manage their time.

4. Allocate minutes to questions

Learn to set a time frame for each question on an exam paper beforehand. Many exams carry an estimated time for each question at the top so it is important to use this information. If the question states 30 minutes and the time is 9.05, you should work quickly with the aim to complete that question by 9.35. If you cross over that time, you have entered into the time frame for another question.

While preparing for an exam, time yourself to do questions within the suggested period given on past papers. Repeat answering questions until you have accomplished the goal of finishing it in the allotted time. When writing the exam, you should be able to cut off a question when your allocated time is up. You can always revisit the question once you still have time after you have completed the paper.

5. Do an entire paper to time

Practise writing a complete past paper under similar exam conditions. Many students get caught up doing some questions doing study time, but have never prepared to write nonstop for 3 hours straight. You will master time management when you actually complete all your questions in the allotted time.

Schools give this opportunity by setting a mock exam for you to know exactly how much work you have to do. Once you master writing quickly, planning ahead, allocating time to each question and sticking to it, then you can try your hand at writing an entire past paper on your own. These tips will surely help you to overcome exam pressure.

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See also:

Learning is hard: 5 steps to knowing your work

Bad grades: Tips for students, parents, teachers

Memory development and sensory resources

Lack of focus: A guide for parents

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