Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Six Tips for Taking Essay Exams

1.) Circle key words.
Words like describe, explain, show, compare, and summarize help tell you what the instructor is looking for in the answer. Circle them and focus on what the word asks for.

2) Spend more time on high point questions.
If you know how many points a question is worth, write more on the questions that are worth more points.

3) Give examples.
Show you understand the concepts. Copying down points from the book does not show you understand them; it only shows you can copy.

4) Try to be Neat.
Most instructors expect crossed out words and so on, but be as neat as you can about it. Make sure your writing isn't too small or your ink/pencil too faint to read. If your pen bleeds through the other side of your paper, write on one side only. Number your pages to help your instructor grade the exam.

5) Pay attention to the time limit.
When you start the exam, it's a good idea to budget how much time you have to spend on each question. Budget more time for the larger point questions, but make sure you have time to get to all of the test.

6) Don't finish early.
If you look around and everyone else continues to write for an extended period, you probably need to go back and flesh out your answers with more details and examples. Instructors notice if you finish early, yet your test answers are sketchy. The best test scores are usually from those who spend the full time working on the test.