Exam skills: 6 tips to help you with writing exams

Your writing is one of the aspects of the English language you’ll be tested on – so as the exam approaches make sure you know what to do. Read our top tips to help you on your way!

Well before the exam day, familiarise yourself with the structure of the writing test – do plenty of practice tests, preferably in timed conditions. This will help you look at the timing and the type of writing you’re expected to produce. But don’t just do them – get feedback on your writing and act on it so that you learn from it. Try to rewrite your work based on this feedback.

Once you’re in the real exam, keep calm! This is examiner, Mark Shea’s advice…Mark Shea, Examiner Doing an exam successfully is to a large extent a question of good time management. If you’ve done practice exams before, you should have a good idea of how long each part should take you, and when you have to hurry.

So manage your time – know how long you have for each question. Now, read each question carefully – paying particular attention to instruction verbs such as discuss, examine, compare, contrast.

Next, make a plan before you start writing – you could possibly write down all your ideas and arguments and plan how to use these in your writing. Now it’s time to start writing – as you write, don’t forget to keep the appropriate structure in mind and when you’ve finished, make sure you read what you’ve written and correct any mistakes you’ve made – and that you’ve actually answered the question!

Remember the feedback you received for your practice papers and make sure you’ve acted on this in the real exam. Follow these tips and hopefully everything will go smoothly.

Good luck!