Use Leftover Time Wisely

If you’ve paced yourself and maintained your focus while taking your test or exam, you may find that you have a few minutes left over at the end. Some people might use this free time to daydream or look around at the other test takers who are desperately trying to finish before time runs out. Taking full advantage of this time, however, can help you avoid careless mistakes that can lower your final grade. If you find yourself with 10 minutes left over, here are some ways to use them wisely:

    • Proofread essays and short answers: Now that you have some time and aren’t rushed, read over your essays and short answers. Correct any spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; make sure your handwriting is legible; and ensure that your answers are complete and that they make sense.
  • Check answer sheets: If you had to record your answers for true and false, multiple choice, and matching questions on a separate sheet, be sure you’ve done so correctly.
  • Review questions that you weren’t sure about: There may have been some questions that you felt unsure about or didn’t have time to answer fully. Spare time at the end of the test provides an ideal opportunity to go back and give these questions a second look. Add in any additional details that you can think of to try to improve your grade.
  • Double check calculations: While some teachers will provide points for using the correct process to solve a math problem, virtually every teacher will deduct points if you arrive at the wrong answer. As a result, if you’re absolutely sure that you’ve used the right method, you should still run the numbers through the calculator one more time to make sure that you haven’t made a careless mistake that could cost you points.
  • Check that all required information has been provided: In order to avoid mix-ups and make things as easy as possible for your teacher or professor, double check the information that you included to make sure that you have included all of the identifying information that your teacher or professor asked for. In other words, is your name on every page of the test booklet and all of the other answer sheets? Is your instructor’s name and your course section (if requested) recorded on your test paper? And, is there anything else that you forgot to include?


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