How to ace any exam

It’s possible. You can ace any exam. But you have to study, and you have to study right.

If there’s a secret to exam success that doesn’t involve hard work, I don’t know it. Sorry. But I can assure you that you can kick ass in your exams, provided that you’re willing to put in a week or two of solid effort. Here’s a (very) abbreviated version of my chapter on exams from BA: an insider’s guide:

1) Start by sorting out your notes. Retrieve, organise, file.
2) Read over everything, and make notes of the important bits.
3) Work out your exam questions (through a combination of research, hints and common sense).
4) Pre-prepare some general answers in whatever form you’re going to be assessed in (e.g. essay, short answer, etc). These need to cover the basic info that your markers will want, but still be flexible enough to adapt to the particular way in which they’ll ask for it.
5) Write/type your pre-prepared answers until they’re lodged in your head. This may take a few days, a few pens, and a few bouts of cramp.
6) Practice applying your ‘foundation’ answers to a range of possible questions (old exam papers, practice papers from your lecturers, etc).
7) Keep practising until you feel you can answer anything. Remember, you usually can’t just spit out a memorised essay; you have to engage with and answer the question.
8) Look after your body (sleep properly, eat well, drink water, stay off everything else) and keep your mind focussed.
9) Get in there and ace it!
10) If you’ve got no more exams, kick back and relax. If there are more to come, take a few hours off and then get back into the study. Remember, a few weeks of anti-social study is a small price to pay for a lifetime of good grades.

Go well!


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