Notes for Lecture: “Doing Essay Examinations”

Taking In-Class Examinations

Before the exam:

  1. Search for textbook and flashcard or study aids on the internet.
  2. Check out the “flashcards” section at the bottom of Engrade.
  3. After you study, think about some of the questions that might be asked, and write them down on cards.  Make 20.  Meet someone who has also made 20, and quiz each other.
  4. Make sure you have a paperclip or small stapler with you.


During the exam:

  1. Take five minutes before you look at the test to write down all the facts and dates you studied.
  2. Read the question carefully.  What does it ask?
    1. Check out test-taking strategies on the internet (i.e.
    2. Make sure you read the directions carefully.
    3. Look for the six words in a question:  who, what, when, where, why, how.  Which one do they want?  Make sure you answer it.
    4. Read the question, plan your answer. Start your answer, then go back and check the question before you start each paragraph of your essay exam to make sure you haven’t strayed.
    5. Plan your time.  Take 5-10 to write down your notes and plan your answer.  Spend 35-40 minutes writing the answer.  Spend 10-15 minutes going over what you wrote and making corrections.


Immediately after writing the exam:

  1. Make sure you put your name on every page of the exam and number the pages.
  2. Make sure your class is clearly on it.
  3. Make sure you turn it in on time, and that it is turned in at the right place.

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