Exam strategies: How to tackle different questions


The best way to prepare for a written exam, beyond the content, is to get familiar with the question types. Thanks to Learning Skills, here’s some tips on how to approach the different types of exam questions so you can get stuck in to answering them quickly.

Multiple choice questions
– Don’t spend too long on any one question – you won’t get more marks for it
– Try and work out the answer before you look at the options
– If the test is not negatively marked, answer every question rather than leaving any blank, even if that means guessing
– Read each question carefully paying attention to:
-negative phrasing (choose answer which doesn’t …)
-subjective questions (choose option that best …)
-judgement questions (choose the most correct …)
-multiple answers (choose more than one …)

Short answer questions
– Keep to the point; you won’t get extra marks for making answers longer than they need to be
– Work out what the question is asking you to do – the purpose of the question – before you start answering
– Provide the answer in the first sentence then use the details and facts to demonstrate your understanding

Essay style answers
– Take some time to plan your answer first
– Know what the instructional word(s) are asking you to do (e.g. analyse, discuss, evaluate, compare etc.)
– Put each main point in a separate paragraph
– If the question has several parts, answer them in the order they are given

Need more help on essay-style questions? Check out our overview of written assessments.





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