If your exam has been replaced with an assignment, check out our tips for completing Assignments.
Types of exams and questions
Multiple-choice questions require you to understand and apply the content in your study materials or lectures. They are designed to test recall of facts and/or understanding.
Format of the question
A multiple-choice question can be in the form of a statement or question. Analyse the question very carefully and take care with words that place limitations on the situation or problem.
- Study and revise material at least twice before the exam.
- Make summaries/diagrams of the material.
- Practice past multiple-choice exams.
- Make up some of your own according to the format.
How to answer multiple-choice questions
You need to work through the bank of questions three times and complete the following steps:
- First time through - read all questions and answer those you are confident about, placing a tick beside these and do not look at them again. Place a '?' beside those you are not quite sure of and place an 'x' beside those you don't know.
- Second time through - work through only those questions with a '?' beside them but do not spend too much time on any one question.
- Third time through - work through those questions with an 'x' beside them but do not spend too much time on any one question. If you still do not know the answers, and there is no penalty for wrong answers, take an 'educated guess'.
These are a special type of open examination where students are provided with the exam questions and are able to complete it over a greater period of time than UniSQ's online exams.
Take-home exams usually require more exploration and depth in the responses than traditional open exams.
To ensure that you are fully prepared:
- arrange for a quiet and an organised space to do the exam
- tell your family or house mates that you will be doing a take-home exam and that you would appreciate their cooperation
- make sure that you know the correct return date
- make stress work for you - overcome stress
- know the exam format, question types and content
- ensure that you have started exam revision early via study planning.
Short answer questions require a written answer normally no more than a few sentences; however, sometimes a long paragraph may be required. Requirements will depend on the marks and time available for each question.
Short answer questions are usually based on key terms and concepts. In order to prepare:
- learn specific pieces of information in detail but not word-for-word
- collect relevant examples and supporting evidence for each concept
- learn the points of difference between similar terms and concepts.
Strategies for answering questions
- Keep your answers to one paragraph and include keywords or phrases.
- Organise your ideas logically, briefly and concisely.
- Answer the specific questions given in relation to key concepts, terms etc. Do not just write about what you know about the topic in general.
- Leave 1 or 2 lines after each answer in case you remember something important later on.
- Stick closely to the allocated time for each question - you will gain more marks if all the questions are attempted.
Exam essay questions allow you to demonstrate the depth of your understanding of a topic area. Your response should be in essay format with well-structured paragraphs. You will not need to reference, but you will need to acknowledge theory and research using relevant names.
- Use previous exam papers to help predict possible topics.
- Note common themes.
- Practice interpreting the question and developing your response.
- Prepare some answers in full from plan to paragraph.
Strategies for answering questions
- Choose the question you will answer during the perusal time.
- During the first 5-20 minutes of the exam write down the relevant points you can remember on all essay questions you will answer.
- Before you write, analyse the question and develop your thesis.
- Plan your essay and what points you will cover in each body paragraph.
- Use the correct essay structure.
Format of exam
Practical or clinical exams can take many different forms depending on the subject material. They can be an:
- individual performance of a task e.g. a clinical examination or musical performance
- examination in which a single task is performed by each individual e.g. a dissection or a chemical analysis
- examination in which a number of tasks or questions would be completed by each individual. In some instances, there are time limits for each question.
It is crucial that you get specific information from your course lecturer on the format of the exam.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for your exam:
- keep detailed notes, diagrams and descriptions of the content examined
- understand the theory of the course and its different applications
- identify the key procedures performed during the practical classes, write down summaries of the methods, and make sure you are able to repeat them
- ask your lecturer if they will provide a practice practical exam in which you can view material or practice techniques
- find out as much as you can about the setting for the exam, and plan responses for possible questions or tasks
- practice in pairs
- if applicable to your task, pay close attention to your body language, posture, communication style and fluency. If you are unsure about these, have a family member or friend observe you and ask for feedback.
An open examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.
You must prepare as if you were sitting for a closed exam. If you do not know your subject matter when you are sitting the exam, the notes and books that you take in with you will be of little help.
- use the objectives at the beginning of each module or in the course specification to help you determine what is important
- write a summary which includes important formulas for quick reference, examples you have difficulty with and examples of graphs or diagrams
- identify the appropriate sections in your course materials so that you can access them during the exam without having to search the text
- use coloured highlighter pens, sticky paper notes, or, if necessary, brief annotations to mark important pages in the study books
- know how to use your calculator efficiently and effectively.
Strategies for an open book exam
Use the perusal time to:
- read the exam instructions
- read through the entire exam
- tick the questions you can do easily and place a cross next to those you cannot
- note the number of marks for each question and work out a rough time for each.
Schedule your time:
- give more time to questions worth more marks
- do the easiest questions first
- clearly mark questions you leave out so that you can return to them later.
Review your work:
- check your answer
- check that you answered the right number of questions.
During the exam spend your time writing, not reading and looking up information.