Answering exam questions- hints and tips

So you finally made it, assignments handed in, summer is just around the corner, all you need to do is sit that exam, easy right? Exams can be extremely daunting, but fear not, this blog will give you some advice and guidance to help you get through that exam.

When you get into the exam room and sit down, don’t panic. It’s a really good idea to take a few minutes at the start of the exam to compose yourself and plan your approach. Your aim is to get as many marks as you can for each question within the time available. Taking that time at the start of an exam will give you the chance to:

-read the exam paper from start to finish.

-read the instructions carefully. Make sure you know how many questions you have to answer. Are they all compulsory? Can you choose some questions over others?

-when you have identified which questions you are going to answer, make sure you understand exactly what you have to do.

Breaking down the question: 

You can use the ‘TAP’ model to help you break down each question to make sure you answer it correctly. Use a highlighter to help you do this in the exam.

Topics- the central or key theme.

Actions- what you need to do.

Parameters- what limitations?

This will help you remain focused on the key elements of the question.

For example:

Sample question- ‘Discuss the impacts of a recent Government initiative on a specific area of care, with reference to a relevant case study‘.




(Plymouth University, 2011).

Remember, don’t panic. You can complete the questions on the paper in any order you choose.

If you have any questions about exam technique, come along to one of our drop-in sessions, every Tuesday between 1pm and 4pm in the Murray Library and every Thursday between 10am and 1pm in St Peters Library. Alternatively, you can book a one-to-one, simply fill in the online form:

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