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There is no short cut to success as the only sure way is hard work.

Examination is a necessary part of learning. It is indispensable to the academic progress of students and schools in general. It is a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill. It can be referred to as assessment, test or evaluation.

-Written examination
-Oral examination

Written examination can be open-book, closed book, or anywhere in between. Students are required to give written answers (as the name implies). It is subdivided into objective (multiple choice questions, true or false, matching, fill-in-the-blank) and subjective (essay).

Oral examination (also called an oral test or viva voce) is a discussion type of test. They are subjective: there is not only one correct answer to the test questions. It is practiced in many schools and disciplines in which an examiner verbally poses questions to the student. The student must answer the question in such a way as to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the subject.


  • Teachers are harsh markers

Oh NO! Of course, your teachers want you to pass. If everyone passes, it’s their pride (and they don’t have to think of extra papers). So, don’t think that they purposely make exam questions hard – they want good grades as much as you do.

  • Exam causes stress

This is not true for all population. If you are well prepared and have tried the best that you can, then you should NOT experience high level of stress. But remember, some stress is good! It keeps you on your toes and motivates you to be at your very best.

  • You need to spend 24 hours a day revising

If you revise effectively and across an extended period of time, then you will not need to cram everything within a 24-hour time frame. Revision at intervals is much more effective than an all-nighter, the day before the exam (that’s a lot of stress).

  • You need to know everything on your syllabus to pass

Of course, it is advantageous to know as much as possible but excessively doing it can be fatal. In exams, there is usually a line of questions to choose from, so, you don’t need to know absolutely everything about everything, just focus your revision on key areas and you are good to go.

  • Exams are merely a memory test

Whilst exams have a large memory component (if you accidentally forget, be sure to spend a lot of time pondering on what to write), You also need to demonstrate mastery of the subject, analysis and comparative skills. Merely reciting lots of facts or penning down word for word won’t get you the top grades.

  • Planning your answer is a waste of time

This is the myth that examiners hate the most! In an exam, planning your answer is one of the most useful things you could do. You only need to spend 3-5 minutes at the start writing a brief plan but these few minutes could really help your structure and flow of thoughts.

  • There are shortcuts to passing the exam

Whosoever told you that, should definitely not be on your friend list. There are no shortcuts to anything in life, even if there are, the end result is usually drastic.
It’s simple, follow the SQ3R principle (STUDY, SURVEY, READ, RECITE and REVIEW) and success is definitely yours.

The Pre-Game: Good Study Habits
1. Keep up with your work (reading, note-taking, so that studying can be a relatively pain-free process

2. Don’t cram, try studying to know

3. Complete a mock test. So many books contain hundreds of questions at the end of chapters that never get answered. Why not set aside an hour and try to answer these questions on paper without using your notes? If you complete a mock test 3-4 days before an exam, you’ll then know where to focus your studying.

4. If you have outstanding questions, go see your teacher.

5. Think about what written questions might be on the exam; Outline each potential essay as a form of practice.

6. Find a group of dedicated students with whom to study.

7. Keep your ears open in class. Your teacher may tell you about the exam or present study strategies. You need to be in class every day to receive such help.

8. Review your class notes every day. Add keywords, summaries, idea maps, graphs, charts, discussion points and questions where applicable.

9. Take time to sleep after study, it helps the brain.

PREPARATION: The night before the exam
The best possible way to feel less anxious about an exam is to be prepared which means, doing your revision, getting used to writing by hand, practising writing timed exam answers and getting yourself informed about what to expect when you get to the exam room. The less you leave to the last minute, the more relaxed you’d feel.
Check all your information – Make sure you know the exact venue, time and gather all necessary materials.

Some tips to help you sleep

  • Stop revising 90 minutes before preparing for bed and find a way to relax – perhaps with friends, music, book, TV etc.
  • Avoid smartphone, tablet and laptop screens for an hour before you plan to go to bed. The type of light used to illuminate them can disrupt your sleep rhythms.
  • Have a warm bath or shower and try a relaxation exercise.
  • Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine and sleep medications especially if they’ve been prescribed for someone else.
  • If your head’s still buzzing with thoughts in the middle of the night, have a notebook by the side of your bed where you can write them down.

In the exam room:

  • Read the instructions carefully:
    Before looking at the actual questions, read the rubric (instructions). Are there compulsory questions? You can lose more marks by answering the wrong number or wrong combination of questions than by answering the right number of questions badly.

  • Work out the timing – Divide your time according to the number of questions to be answered. Split it proportionately if you have some questions (or parts of questions) which attract more marks than others. Allow some time for planning. An example might be: four essay questions each attracting 25% of the total marks in a 3-hour exam = 45 minutes per question = 5 minutes planning, 35 minutes writing, 5 minutes checking through. Allow extra checking time for statistics or calculations.
  • Read the questions carefully. Read through the paper once before you choose your questions and then re-read each question. You might think a topic you’ve revised hasn’t come up, when it is there but the wording is unusual.
  • Choose your best questions – Mark any questions you might answer and then check that you fully understand it. Do you have some relevant knowledge, ideas and evidence for the ones you choose to answer? If you do not understand a question, it’s best to leave it.
  • Decide on question order. Some people like to start with the topic they know best to give them a good start. Others prefer to do their best question second, because with one question completed, they can relax and expand on their best ideas and gain extra marks.


  • Reviewing Your Performance
    If there was a part of the exam in which you struggled, go see your teacher. This is likely not the last time you’ll see the concept covered.
  • Hold on to your notebooks. You never know when the information you’ve learned will be useful in another situation.
  • Take a moment to review your test preparation strategies. Take account of what worked and what needs improvement. In particular, take a moment to gauge whether your study group was helpful.
  • Reward yourself. If you’ve studied conscientiously for a week or more, you should take a bit of time to relax before getting started with your studies again.


Examination malpractice is any form of cheating before, during or after examination.

There are different forms of examination malpractice: Plagiarism (stealing or passing ideas or words of another as one’s own); Using cheat notes; Copying from pre-prepared answer sheet; Conniving with other students to get the right answer; Copying from another student or continuing the test even when the time is over.

Causes of examination malpractice

  • Misplaced priority for certificate acquisition as against knowledge and skill acquisition due to societal syndrome.
  • Lack of preparation or inadequate preparation by students.
  • Distractions within the environment that are non- academic. These distractions take students away from lectures and most times, from continuous assessments. They continuously engage in these activities until it dawns on them that exam is near and they begin to look for means to cut corners.

The consequences, both to the educational system and the society will be catastrophic in the long run, Students who would ordinarily be working hard to pass examination will now depend on quack arrangements.
In the nearest future, it may eventually be seen as a way of academic exercise. Candidates produced in this manner will grow into adults and teachers or examinations officials who will not see anything wrong with such sophisticated and high-class examination fraud thus defeating the goals of education by turning out certificated illiterates.

Examination malpractice increases lack of confidence among students. Students who would have ordinarily passed an examination feel disappointed and lose confidence when less intelligent ones perform better than them through cheating.

Examinations malpractice may lure some students into other misconducts or misdemeanors. Female students who lack money to sort or pay for scores may take on prostitution while male may as well take stealing or armed robbery in a bid to make money to pay for scores.

I strongly RECOMMEND that students should form the habit of reading to understand as against the general notion of reading to pass, and that, on a daily basis. Anything in life, worth doing at all, requires preparation.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens ‘David Copperfield’

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Michel Angelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do” – Benjamin Spock

I haven’t started yet either…” – every student ever

This is perhaps, the most comforting quotes ever written for students. Nothing has ever sounded so heavenly when you’re stressed to the max in the last minutes of exam. Exams are stressful but they are not impossible. Put the work in and you will see the results.

Photo Credit: Google Images

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