How to Finish an Exam on Time

Handing in unfinished papers can seriously prevent you from reaching your full potential. Put an end to that today. Follow our top tips on how to finish an exam on time.

Exam season is stressful. But it can put an even bigger strain on your mental health if you always struggle to hand in completed papers. So here’s how to finish an exam on time and stay on top of your game.

How to Finish an Exam on Time 

Many students struggle with time management during their tests and exams. Luckily we have a few tips on how to finish an exam on time and reach your study goals

Before the Exam 

Before you set foot into an exam venue, there is a lot of preparation that must be done. That much we know. But if you have the added challenge of not completing your exams on time, you might need to do a little extra. 

Practice From Past Papers

Past papers are how you can see where most of your time will be spent. You need to expose your brain to the stressful exam environment as many times as possible so you can train yourself to get through the whole paper. 

Take Care of Your Body

Finishing your exam will be very difficult if you’re not feeling your best. So during exam season, make sure to eat healthy foods and get enough sleep. You should also take regular breaks to give your body a chance to rest. 

Spend Enough Time Studying

You knew this tip was coming, right? Knowing the course material is key to getting through the entire paper. This is because you won’t waste time thinking about what the correct answer is, you’ll be able to write it down immediately. 

Practice Your Writing

Writing long papers can leave you with sore, aching hands that cause you to write slowly. To combat this, try building up your strength through online writing exercises. You should also practice essay questions so you don’t waste time thinking about things such as structure.   

During the Exam

The steps you take during the exam are very important as it determines whether you’ll finish the exam on time or not. Think of your study sessions as the dress rehearsals, and the exam as your final performance.

Read Through the Whole Paper

If you’re in matric, you might have what is called ‘reading time’. Use these extra minutes to read all the questions carefully. This is because in your rush to get done, you could end up misunderstanding what is asked. You’ll then waste time going back later to redo them. 

Budget Your Time

Take a watch with you to the venue and keep it on your desk so you can keep a close eye on the time. The general rule of thumb is to spend one minute per mark. So if a question is worth five marks, you should spend no more than five minutes answering it. 

Plan Your Long Answers

Have essay questions to write? Before you dive in, plan them out by using mind maps or bullet points. Know exactly what points you want to make in each paragraph. Taking a few minutes to plan out what to write can help you get through those long questions faster.  

Ask for Paper Before Needing it 

Don’t wait until you’ve squeezed the last word on your last piece of paper before asking for more. Rather ask when you start working on your final page. In a large venue, it can take invigilators a while to reach you. You can always give back extra pages you haven’t used.  

Let go of Perfectionism

Your job is to get the correct answer on the paper. If it’s just a one word answer that’s needed, don’t write full sentences. If you don’t know the answer, leave some space open on the page and move on to what you know. Don’t forget to go back to those questions though. 

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Last Updated: June 2, 2022

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie
Tamsyn Gallie is a Junior Content Writer at Skills Academy. Her aim is to create content that is well-researched, educational and engaging. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, baking and anything that allows her to be creative. She is passionate about lifelong learning and believes it’s never too late to learn something new.