Essay Exams

What this handout is about

At some point in your undergraduate career, you are going to have to write an essay examination. This thought can inspire a fair quantity of anxiety: we struggle enough with essays if they aren't timed events according to unknown questions. The goal of this handout is to give you some simple and effective strategies which will allow you to take control of the situation and do your very best.

Why is it that teachers give essay exams?

Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out whether you're able to sort through a huge body of information, figure out what's important, and explain why it is crucial. Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and place them in your own words and also to utilize the interpretive or analytical abilities you have practiced in the course.

Exam questions can reach quite far into the course materials, and that means that you cannot expect to do well on them if you don't keep up with the readings and assignments from the beginning of the course. How do you be a prepared exam taker? Try some of the following suggestions during the semester:

Do the reading because the syllabus orders; keeping up with all the reading while the related concepts have been discussed in course saves you twice the attempt afterwards.

Proceed to lectures (and put your phone, the paper, which crossword puzzle!) .

Take careful notes which you'll know weeks afterwards.

Organize little study groups with classmates to explore and review course materials throughout the semester. Others are going to catch things you may miss when paying attention. This isn't cheating. In reality, it is a big part of the learning process. This can allow you to forecast the questions which is going to be on the examination, and prepare for them.

These tips will help you save you lots of time and misery later. Remember that you can't cram weeks of advice into one day or night of research. Why put yourself in that place?

Now let us focus on studying for the exam. You'll observe the following hints are wholly based on organizing your research materials into manageable chunks of related substance. If you have a strategy of attack, you will feel more assured and your answers will be more clear. Here are some tips:

Do not merely memorize aimlessly; clarify the vital issues of the course and use these issues to concentrate your understanding of particular details and special readings.

Try to organize and categorize the info to a thematic pattern. Take a look at everything you have researched and find a way to put things into related groups. Find the basic ideas which have been emphasized throughout the class and organize your notes into broad classes. Consider how different groups relate to each other.

Find out what you do not know, but need to understand, by making up evaluation questions and trying to answer them. Studying in groups helps also.