Use your Time Wisely

Tests and exams assess not only your subject matter knowledge, but also your ability to use the allotted time wisely. The following dos and don’ts can help you make the most of your time in the exam room.

Do…

    • Focus on higher point questions: Try to answer the questions that are worth a lot of points before you answer the questions that are only worth a few points. This will allow you to spend more time on the higher point questions than the lower point questions, which can provide a big boost to your final grade.
  • Move on when you’ve used up your allotted time for a question or section: Moving on can be hard to do, especially if you are an individual that is a perfectionist or someone that likes to provide as much detail as possible in your test responses. However, you must force yourself to move on when the time that you budgeted for a question is up. Otherwise, you may find at the end that a large number of questions are still unanswered, and that your grade is significantly lower than you had hoped.

 

Don’t…

  • Allow yourself to get stuck on a question: You encounter a question that you have no idea how to answer. Instead of moving on, you decide to sit there for 20 or 30 minutes agonizing over it. If you’ve done this before, you’ve actually made a mistake that most students make at some point, and it can be a costly one. However, setting a time limit for questions and sticking to that time limit can help you avoid this problem.
  • Spend too much time on the little things: When you’re taking a test, focus on the big picture. Your main goal is to answer all of the questions in the best way that you know how. Don’t spend excessive amounts of time proofreading your work or agonizing over every word choice. These are tasks that are best completed at the end if you have time left over.
  • Get too bogged down in planning: While you should take a few minutes at the beginning of the test to figure out roughly how much time you have to spend on each question, don’t spend too much time on this task. Five minutes or so should be enough. The last thing that you want to do is waste valuable time that you could be using to actually answer the test questions.

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