Exams are said to not be a true test of knowledge, yet they’re the basis of assessment in our educational, private, industrial and other sectors today. Needless to say, this means it is very important that one knows how to write them in a way to get the desired results. This goes to say that insight as to how to perform better in exams gives the writer an advantageous point in any given field.

Sadly, for many individuals, just the thought of an approaching exam is enough to send a chill up their spine and put them on edge. This shouldn’t be the case, yet it plagues our society more and more every day, making people not perform optimally – to the best of their abilities.

Hence, this write-up is about ways to help improve your ability to better handle exams from preparation to writing. Listed below are 10 things you need to know about writing for an exam to become the proficient writer you truly are!

Practice and Study Smart

As the adage goes, “Practice makes perfect”. This is the winning principle that goes beyond just excellence in an exam, it transcends to all fields of life. Practice or repetition is the key to preparations for the exam, without which access to the door of exam success is never fully guaranteed.

Individuals prepare in different ways, what works for one doesn’t always work for another. Some wait until the last minute, while some need a degree of fear as a motivation. Others want to eliminate all distractions, have complete silence and shut themselves off from the world. Others prepare with music in the background or the company of other people. Whatever the method, the trick here is to determine early on, the style that best suits our personality traits and builds with that, readying ourselves for optimal performance.

While preparing for an exam, one needs to make extensive research on selected topics. Getting information on these topics reduces the possibility of encountering unfamiliar concepts during an examination. Students go on Paperleaf and numerous other writing sites to help out with this. Therefore creating more time to study other areas with the absence of research on a student’s path.

Be Confident

This is recorded the most pertinent reason to mass poor performance in the world. Lack of it is replaced with equal or more dose of anxiety spelling doom for the writer even before the exam begins! The absence of confidence rids the writer the composure and demeanor to think and articulate questions asked properly. This leads to uncertainty, self-doubt, fidgeting, and lack of self-control. And in some extreme cases partial paralyzes or blankness as to what/where to begin.

Gladly, it can be worked on. Confidence in the exam is a function of a few things. Things you can do to boost self-confidence are;

  1. Dress well to the exam, and walk confidently
  2. Practice self-affirmation
  3. Challenge your negative thoughts of inability or insufficiency
  4. Visualize your self-doing well, having a clear mental picture of the how you would like things to be done
  5. Control your breathing, using this to ease tension.


Utilize your workspace

Workspace refers to the environment you’re sited for the exam. Whether at a secluded space with dividers or on general long conference tables.  It is been known that a familiar spatial environment improves workflow.

Secondly, posture and writing style has –although comparatively small –effect on the workflow. Try writing tall and skinny (if it is a written exam), sit properly, and relax your arms.


To a great extent, the degree of success or ease in any exam depends on time management skills. Estimate the time needed to answer correctly the questions asked. Make use of time references.

Whenever the time you allocated to a question has elapsed, either you reorient your time scheme to accommodate. In case this or you simply provide space and proceed to the next question.

Poor timing usually leads to hastiness in a disorderly manner that doesn’t usually end well, leaving multiple errors in its trail. These errors are usually neither understood nor pardoned by any governing exam board. Thus, it is of paramount importance that time -is your most scarce resource- in an exam is utilized to avoid errors, having in mind that there are usually no do-overs.

Sleep and Feeding

The place of sleep cannot be overemphasized on the road to success for an exam. It is advised to get a min. of 6 hours of sleep before any exam. This is so that the body is well-rested and ready for the task ahead, mental tasks are known to have a long-lasting draining effect on the body.

Aside from sleep is also feeding, without which, human cognitive processes aren’t so articulated nor coordinated. On the other hand, properly dietary habits aid in brain efficiency and endurance, especially in the tense environment in exams .preferably eat fruits and take mint substances to boost proactiveness before entering for the exam.


This is simply losing the ability to remember something – a piece of information- that was initially vivid in one’s memory. Loss of memory is a common occurrence in exams. It can be caused by a lot of factors ranging from poor feeding, anxiety, fatigue, etc.

Currently, there are few lines of actions to practice to prevent memory loss from occurring. These include; practicing de-stressing and meditation. The process of de-stressing is to bring down the blood pressure and ease blood flow in the brain, while that of mediation is to visualize your study note-making reference to smell, sound symbols that might help act as markers to the desired information.

Follow instructions

Usually stated clearly are instructions guiding an exam. These instructions range from best practices to malpractice, including means of communication with exam officials.

Of all the instructions, the most important of them being the ones stating mode of answering the questions. Failure to understand and/or follow-through will lead to penalties. If you find it difficult to comprehend the directives from the instruction, make sure to have an exam official explain to you.

Have a game plan

This is carrying out a SWOT analysis at first glance. Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats analysis is better to organize how to go about your writing into chronological compartments. These baby steps are drawn from knowing your areas of strength and weaknesses firstly, then identifying questions/tasks that either present themselves as opportunities or threats and treating them according.

It is generally advised to begin with areas of strength to leverage on opportunities with time and slowly proceed to the tougher ones where there’s a weakness.

Although, it mustn’t be always full detailed, having a game plan helps in keeping level-headedness throughout the exam.

Answer using the appropriate structure

Brevity is the soul of the wit, this in context means that being brief –unless specifically told otherwise- is generally preferred by governing exam boards. If stated otherwise, then make you of concise yet elaborate sentences to answer avoiding things like redundant words

An idea as to the nature of the topic regarding what is expected of you and how to go about it is important. Understanding these would make certain phrases, sentence structure, formulas and even mode of discussion/ computations unfit concerning the exam.

Revise your work

This is the last but not least of all things to note when writing an exam. Always make out time to revisit your work. Overconfidence sometimes may not allow for such, but a little restraint and thoroughness to go through your answer sheet would go a long way.

It helps in better-collated ideas as certain aspects to an answer can be more understood at the end of the exam. At this point, you can then use the newfound idea to modify or alter previous ones, adding and subtracting what you deem fit enough.

This review is critical, serving as a proofread course. Since you’re now better relaxed, having written all you know, there’s the calmness needed to identify and correct errors made that may have not been so glaring before.


Now that you understand these various interwoven dynamics of the things listed above, you’ll find out that the outcome of writing for an exam is predictable. Hence, you begin to see the pattern to it and make the necessary adjustments needed to achieve the desired end goal.