College student sitting an exam in the classroom ID 68713844 © Tom Wang | Dreamstime.comAfter months of study and revision, the day of your exam has come around, there’s nothing more you can do now to improve your chances of success, is there?

Everyone finds exams daunting, and it’s hard to overcome your nerves and take a planned and efficient approach, but doing just that can really pay off. We share the top five tips for acing your exams.


It’s really important to show all of your workings out, as this allows the examiner to see if your approach to answering the question was correct, even if you may have got the final answer wrong. If you include detailed and clear workings then you could be awarded part marks. Even if you’ve written your workings on a separate sheet of paper, insert these into the exam script.


Read the guidelines on the front of the exam paper to make sure you understand how many questions you need to answer and then make sure you attempt all of those questions. So for example, you may be asked to answer all questions in section A and any two questions from section B. If you attempt all questions in section A, you may receive part marks for questions you have tried to answer, even if you haven’t completed them. But beware, don’t attempt too many questions, you wouldn’t receive any additional marks for answering more than two questions in section B.


You need to think about how you’re going to plan your time in the exam hall. You will have 15 minutes extra at the start of the exam to read through the questions and roughly plan out how long to spend on each question. If a question is taking too long to answer, you need to think about moving on; the first marks in a question are always the easiest to collect.


Make sure you understand what the examiner is asking you to do, read the questions carefully. Familiarising yourself with the ‘descriptors’ in the syllabus will help you to understand what kind of answer the examiner is expecting by the words they use in the question.


Once you’ve read the question thoroughly and you’re confident that you understand what the examiner is asking, think about how to structure your answer. Your answers should show structure and focus, as well as depth, don’t just regurgitate the question facts. Taking the time to plan your answer will help with this, as well as practising past questions under exam conditions as part of your revision.

Your answers should show that you have learnt and understood the topic that’s being tested and that you can express that understanding in your own words. Reproducing ‘learnt answers’ or ‘template responses’ can affect your marks, making the difference between a pass and a fail.

Check out our article Last Minute Revision Tips for Exam Success to help you plan your study between now and the exams, and bear these tips in mind as you’re practising past questions. 

If you need any additional support or tips to help with your revision, check out the Study section on our website, or if it would help to talk things through with other students, why not start a conversation on our Students LinkedIn Group? Good luck with your studies.