Avoid These Mistakes During the Exam

(STL.News) Yes, we know taking an exam is an extremely stressful thing to do. Nonetheless, it’s no reason to make stupid mistakes.  Be mindful of the points we list below and nail that exam!

Tip #1: Never Give Several Different Solutions!

There is a surefire way to get guaranteed zero points for a task: answer with different solutions.  During the exam, many students are unsure of their solution.  No problem, that’s normal.  However, what they then often do is grossly negligent: they answer twice and three times.  “Some of this will be right,” they think to themselves.

Unfortunately, the examiner thinks to himself when correcting: “Oh, several answers.  I don’t know what to rate, so everything is wrong.  Zero points. ” Congratulations.  If you value your points, never give multiple alternative solutions to a question.

Tip #2: Orientate Yourself on Sample Solutions!

You don’t have to start from scratch when answering exam questions.  Use the style of exercises and sample solutions to orientate yourself when answering the questions and working on more complex problems.  Remember the solution sketches and the examination schemes you got to know during the semester and transfer the procedure to your exam tasks.  Just naming or superficially applying fixed processing steps can already earn you partial points.

Tip #3: Do Not Doubt What You Have Learned!

Exam tasks are often structured somewhat differently than the tasks discussed during the lecture.  Your examiner may also introduce a completely new aspect or connect topics you previously only considered in isolation.  If you are faced with a “new” task during your exam, the top priority is: to stay calm and think.  Don’t get confused, and don’t doubt your preparation.  Unknown tasks are normal.  They should test you.  Reflect on what you have learned and then approach it step by step.

Tip #4: Estimate the Scope of the Tasks!

There are exams that you can’t finish.  These tests are overloaded and will later be adjusted accordingly as part of the point distribution.  However, students often do not make it to the last task because they estimate its scope incorrectly or not at all.  For questions that could be answered in one sentence, write a page of body text.  Of course, it also works the other way around: When time is short or due to a lack of understanding, complex problems are answered with three keywords, which results in a large loss of points.  Therefore, try to estimate the volume of your answers correctly.

If you have absolutely no feelings: ask.

Tip #5: Do the Completeness Test!

Especially if you skip tasks and choose your own processing order in your exam, there is a risk that you will overlook sub-questions and accidentally not process them.  You can easily avoid this loss of points by carrying out a completeness check-in between and shortly before the end of processing.  Check whether you have completed all relevant tasks and written something on each question.

Tip #6: Still Time?  Read Proof!

During my time as a student and later as a supervisor, on the other hand, I often saw students who left early after exams or sat motionless for the remaining minutes in front of their exam papers.  Not because they gave up, but because they didn’t want to use their time.  If you have some time left at the end of the exam, don’t just throw it away.  Proofread your exam and check your answers.  If in doubt, add something or list other aspects.

Tip #7: Hand in EVERYTHING – On Time!

I had a key experience in my studies in the fourth semester.  A fellow student next to me had forgotten to write his name on the exam sheet and only noticed this when collecting the exams.  The official processing time had already been declared over at this point.  When the university employee stood in front of him and wanted to take the exam, my fellow student was still writing.  The exam was graded 5.0.  Another fellow student forgot to hand in one of the answer sheets on the same exam and took it home by mistake.  Everything that was written on this sheet was NOT evaluated retrospectively.  Learn from these true stories: Stick to the rules of the exam.  Hand in your exam papers on time in the end.  Pay attention to completeness.  Don’t risk anything.


Every exam is something special, every task is slightly different, and every examiner has his own peculiarities.  But there are strategies and approaches that can be useful for you in almost every exam situation.  The trick is to recognize these patterns early on and use them skillfully so that you can pass your exams in the best possible way.

It is the essence of my own experience and the summary of my daily work with students.  Maybe not every tip will help you right away, and maybe some advice will not fit 100 percent to the individual exams you will encounter.

Still, if you take the tips seriously and internalize them, you will go into your next exam with a much clearer view.  Of course, you won’t pass the exam unless you’ve been preparing for it!  In that case, to ensure you’re in the best condition to handle the exam, consider using a “write my essay online” service to deal with the academic load and focus solely on exam preparation.

You now know strategies that can help you in an emergency and give you a much better structure in your own way of working.  But that’s not the end of it: try to adapt the tips from above and develop your own solutions for your next exam.  Think about how you can make the exam easier and less stressful for you.  Write it down and get better with each exam.