3 types of exam taker: which are you?

  • Post category:Tips
  • Reading time:5 mins read

The SATs exams are not far away, and across the country, Year 6 pupils are practicing exam techniques. It usually follows the same format: Start from the beginning; work your way through; leave any questions you really don’t know to the end; and check your work a million times. There is certainly nothing wrong with that technique, but it doesn’t necessarily suit everyone. 

Here are the top three exam styles; what is good about them and how to make sure they are working the best for you.

The Detective

Pros: The detective will know what questions they are confident answering and will hunt them down in the paper. Once they find the question, they will answer it efficiently before moving on to the next one. This may involve a lot of page-turning, but there is no wasted time getting stuck on questions that aren’t known.

Even better if: Once the detective has gone through the exam paper, they will check their work and call it a day. If you are “the detective”, it would be even better if:

  1. You check back and see if there are any other questions you missed that you could have a go at. 
  2. Next, have a look at the multiple-choice questions. Have you ticked the right number of boxes? Does the answer you’ve picked make sense? You may get lucky and score some extra marks!
  3. Lastly, check the questions you are really confident with. It is VERY easy to make silly errors so just work them out again to see if you get the same answer.

The Rusher

Pros: The rusher won’t run out of time! They race through the test as quickly as they can, trying all the questions. With such tight time limits, the rusher guarantees that all questions will be answered.

Even better if: Most times, the rusher will finish the paper then flip through the paper quickly to check. If you are “the rusher”, it would be even better if:

  1. First, check your answer matches your working out (yes- children WILL make copying mistakes by muddling up digits!) 
  2. Secondly, check you have ticked the right number of boxes (if it says ONE, tick ONE..!) 
  3. Lastly, check that your answer makes sense. With plenty of time to spare, you can avoid losing marks on silly mistakes.

The Methodical 

Pros: The methodical will start from the beginning and work through the test paper question by question. Questions which are “easy” will be answered quickly. Harder questions will require some thought. Once the paper is finished, the methodical will go back to the start and go through it again. 

Even better if: Whilst this is the most conventional way of sitting exams, the methodical can fall into the trap of running out of time- mainly by getting stuck on those harder questions.  If you are “the methodical”:

  1. Make sure you skip questions that you can’t do and leave them until the end to try again.
  2. When checking your work- follow the Rusher checking steps. That way, you can efficiently check your whole paper in less time.

In conclusion, there is no “right” way to sit an exam. You need to do what is right for you but be careful not to fall into common traps! Breathe, relax and do your best. Good luck!

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