A good examination answer
- Your examination answer should demonstrate that you have read and understood the content of the lectures, the examination literature or other course material.
- Examination answers must address the question or the title of the assignment. Pay particular attention to what the assignment is asking you to do – compare, analyse or discuss – and structure your answer accordingly.
- A good examination answer is concise, systematic and clear. The content of the answer is more important than its length or other formalities.
- Use clear language and appropriate concepts and theories for the subject.
Planning and finishing an examination answer
At the beginning of the examination you may feel like you cannot answer any of the questions. But all the things you have learned are stored in your memory – you just have to get them out. Begin the examination by calmly plotting out your answers.
Tips for planning examination answers:
- Divide the standard four-page sheet of paper so that each examination question has its own page/section. Write the main issues and thoughts for each question as bullet points, a mind map, image or graph – whatever feels natural to you.
- Calculate the average time you have to write each answer. Keep an eye on the time as you proceed.
- Start with the easiest question and continue to the more difficult ones.
- For each question, plan the things you want to mention and the order in which you want to mention them.
- Make sure you answer all of the questions, and check to see that you have included all the things you planned.
- Before you hand in your answers, read them through and edit if necessary.
- If you cannot remember a particular detail, stop trying to force yourself and skip that part for now. If the detail is minor, it is probably not very important in terms of the overall examination. You will usually be able to recall bigger issues by concentrating and deducing. You may also find that you can think of the answer more clearly if you focus on the other questions for a while.
- If time is running out, answer the remaining questions briefly and with complete sentences. Decide which issues are the most important to include.
- Everyone has their own style and pace of writing. Focus on your own answers.
- If you feel tired and cannot concentrate, take a small break.
Everyone feels anxious sometimes, but what is it and how can we cope with anxiety?
Watch a video where Juha Nieminen, counselling psychologist at the University of Helsinki, talks about anxiety relating to studies and examinations: Examination anxiety! (in Finnish)