19th Aug '19

Exam Technique

Your examination needs careful preparation if you are to do yourself justice. Everyone feels nervous on the day of the exam but with careful revision and good examination technique you should do well. The following checklist should increase your confidence and, hopefully, your final grade:

In the run up to the examination:

The day before the examination:

The night before the examination:

The day of the examination:

In the examination room:




Exam Question Command Words

These are the words used in exam questions to tell you what is required.


Calculate / Work out

You must produce a numerical answer.


Compare

You need to describe the similarities and/or differences in sets of data.


Complete

You need to enter the answer in the spaces provided in a diagram, table, sentence, etc.


Describe

You must state in words, or as diagrams, the important points of the topic.


Draw / Plot

  • Draw a bar chart
    • Where the axes are labelled and scaled, you need to plot as bars a series of values.
    • Where the axes are labelled and not scaled, you need to add scales and to plot as bars a series of values.
  • Draw a graph
    • Where the axes are labelled and scaled, you need to plot as points a series of values, and then to draw a straight or curved line appropriate to the relationship between the points.
    • Where the axes are labelled and not scaled, you need to add scales, to plot as points a series of values, and then to draw a straight or curved line appropriate to the relationship between the points.

This is different from sketching a graph


Evaluate

You should use the information supplied in the form of articles, graphs and/or experimental results within a given context, to consider the evidence for and against and draw conclusions.


Explain

You should apply reasoning to the recall of theory.
(This command word will not be used if the required answer is no more than a list of reasons.)


Give a reason (how/why)

You should give a reason that is an application of scientific knowledge based on the recall of content stated in the specification or based on information supplied in the question.


Give / Name / State / Write down

A concise answer is required without supporting evidence.


List

You should give a series of concise answers, each answer being written one after the other.


Predict

You must give a concise answer, without supporting evidence, and should produce their answer by making logical links between various pieces of information.


Sketch a graph

You need to draw a graph indicating a trend or pattern without the need to first plot a series of points.


Suggest

There is no unique answer: you are expected to base your answers on scientific knowledge and/or principles.


Use the information

You should base your answers on information provided within the context of the question.


Use your understanding / ideas of .. to ..

You should frame your answers around a scientific concept.


What is meant by

You should give a definition, together with some relevant comment on the significance or context of the question.