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Exam Practices for Maximum Success

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Simeon Taiwo

Simeon Taiwo

Creative director & lead coach at Clarylife Global; brand strategist, brand developer & educationist.

Exam Practices for Maximum Success


A lot of students fail in school, not because they are not serious or because they haven’t really prepared well for the exam, but simply because they lack knowledge of how best to approach exams and questions in the exam hall. Of course, you may know about what some people call “exam fever”. This is the only well-known factor that affects students, but there are several others. In this post, I will be sharing them all with you and most importantly, those Exam Practices for Maximum Success.

What are those factors that negatively affect students during exams?

Lack of organization

It takes an organized student to maintain sanity in the face of supervisors, instructors and invigilators who often look like police men searching for a thief. If you’re not organized, the sight of them alone can get you off your feet. So how do you organize yourself? Prepare well before exams even start to approach. Students who only get serious when exams are close don’t do themselves any good. The time to be really serious is when school resumes a new semester, when all you have are lectures, assignments and tests. This is when you need to get really serious. When you do this, you won’t have to be on your toes when exams draw near.

Hastiness to finish the exam

This singular factor causes a lot of harm to students. This is what hinders them from reading the instructions carefully before they start to attempt questions. When a student is hasty during an exam, he/she misses important details and vital information that should have been easily recalled get lost in the brain. Have you seen cases of students who forget certain things during the exam only to remember them few minutes after submitting their papers? That is exactly the root cause of such events.

Another thing hastiness does is that it causes a lot of students to rush into attempting questions without any proper understanding of the question. A lot of students get so disappointed at their examination results after bragging so much about the A’s they are expecting. Most of the time, it’s because they have answered a question the examiner wasn’t asking them. Examination is a game and you need to understand that it’s between you and the examiner. It’s seems to be a professional habit of examiners to always come tricky and indirect. This is why students need to be calm to understand where an examiner is coming from and where exactly he’s trying to drive at.

Struggling with difficult questions

A lot of students always complain that they don’t have enough time to write their papers. This is actually the cause. No exam time is set for you to be struggling with a particular question. The exam time is set with the mindset that you should know the question and attempt it promptly. Immediately you begin to see yourself struggling with a question, the next thing to do is, move on! Never try to spend more than a minute in unraveling a question. Immediately you’re spending up to 5 minutes on it, that’s a lot of time wasted.

What I normally advise students is that they attempt all the very easy questions first. At least, this gives you a near-perfect figure of what you’re expecting to score in that exam and also, it will boost some confidence in you. By the time you’re through with them, you can then begin to go back to those ones that were proving quite difficult. This time around, your brain has been energized and motivated to tackle them and you’re mind is more relaxed.

Trying to see all the questions before starting to attempt them

A lot of students do this. And actually, you’re putting your brain under pressure by doing that. Don’t try to see all the questions from beginning to first to last before you start to attempt. You put your brain at the risk of losing retained information due to excitement or tension. Face the questions one at a time and you’ll find out you’ll perform better.

Missing out important keywords especially during theory (essay) parts

When examiners ask questions that require you to answer them theoretically, they are expecting you to use certain keywords that will convince them that you know what they have asked. If in the course of answering a particular question, you fail to use those expected keywords, it’s assumed that you don’t know what you’re saying. How do you know these keywords? You take note of teachers’ emphases during classes. Teachers will always emphasize on the things they want you to grab the most. When you let those keywords to slip you by, you miss the very things that will make you score well in the question.


A lot of factors make students to fail and some of them are not about preparedness, but about approach towards examinations. When you understand these things, you put yourself in a better position for examination success.

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