exam-tips - Haywick's Quick and Dirty Survival Techniques...

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Haywick's Quick and Dirty Survival Techniques in Exam Writing Let's face it. No one enjoys exams. Not the students who have to take them, not the instructors who have to write and grade them. Nevertheless, exams are here to stay because they are one of the few ways that you can accurately access and compare students. We are fortunate in Geology to have several less stressful ways of evaluating students (e.g., lab assignments, mineral assignments etc.), and this means that these dreaded exams are never worth 100% of your course grade. In some classes, they are. Still, whether a test is worth 5% or 50% of your final grade, you still need to know how to write them. It is my wish that every student who takes my class gets an "A". This is possible, if you are willing to work for it. The first thing that you should do when you get the exam in a class is READ IT . Don't immediately jump into answering the first question without knowing how much relative time you have for each question. If you take half of the exam answering ¼ of the questions (a common error), you will not finish the exam . All of my exams are do-able within the 50 minute allotted time period. If you can't finish it in that time, it is because you spent too much time in another section. You can avoid this by reading the exam before you start . It may cost you 3-5 minutes, but this is worth it in the long run. If you are not the patient type and can't read the exam before you jump into it, at the very least, carefully read the instructions for each section BEFORE YOU START TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS . In my exams, I always give students a certain amount of choice in the questions that they answer. For example, you may be asked to define 3 of 5 terms. You would not believe how many people answer all 5 questions instead of just three because they never read the instructions. If you do the same, you will either run out of time and not finish the test, or you will write 5 skimpy answers instead of 3 decent ones and do poorly on the definitions section of the exam. Most good exams (there are some that I consider good, although you may not), test you in a
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exam-tips - Haywick's Quick and Dirty Survival Techniques...

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