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Exam: with these tips you master every task

The end of the semester is approaching and thus again one of the hardest phases in any study: the exam phase. Everyone is still trying to get the most out of books, scripts, and their own brain. The absorption capacities have long been exhausted. But the feeling of not having done enough does not leave you with any peace. Too big is the fear of failing, getting a bad mark or, in the worst case, failing. If you have been diligent in recent weeks and can recite the entire exam material by heart, you will pass the exam even if you are suffering from exam anxiety. For a very good grade, it often takes more than diligence and stamina. Learn here how to get the maximum out of your exam with a few simple tips.

Tip 1: Prepare for different types of tasks

The exam is not the same as the exam. How a written exam is organized depends on your field of study and the number of students in your degree program. If you study a popular subject such as business administration, your professor will hardly ask for an open statement on globalization in the exam. It is more likely that you will get an exam with some multiple-choice questions that can be corrected quickly and easily later.

Depending on the university and study subject, you have to prepare yourself for the following typical exam tasks:


Here you do not get far with pure learning. You can only prepare for a math problem in a written exam with many practical exercises. In the best case you have to prepare a few old exams from previous semesters available. Keep a cool head on this type of task and re-calculate each partial result to make sure you’re not mistaken.

Knowledge question:

For example, typical questions of knowledge ask about the individual subcategories of a generic term. Mostly the answer is therefore an enumeration in individual bullet points, here no novels are provided. It also does not bother you to put anything you know on paper on paper, hoping for a few extra points. For each task, it is clear in advance how many points you will receive and what kind of answers you have to deliver. Diligence does not pay off here.

Multiple choice question:

This task type has prevailed at many universities. This is because more and more universities are conducting electronic exams, which are evaluated automatically via multiple-choice questions. Many think that multiple-choice questions are easier to answer and lead to better grades. Whether this is so depends on the underlying rating system. Unfortunately, it is often the case that with each question, several answers are correct. Added to this is the meanness that you get points for correct answers, but for wrong answers but minuses. So if you cross a question to a correct and a wrong answer, you’ll get zero points on the question.


Particularly in the humanities and cultural studies subjects, lecturers prefer open questions. Here is a comprehensive essay on a topic is required in which you present your entire knowledge and apply to a question. Of course, this correction makes the correction more difficult. An assessment of the exam can not be done as objectively as in a math problem, knowledge question or multiple-choice question, that’s why you should pay attention to your language in an essay.

Case Study:

This type of task is often found in medical, sociological, legal and economics subjects. The task consists of the description of a specific situation. For example, it could describe a situation in a company or the symptoms of a patient. It is always about a realistic problem that needs to be solved by you. Analytical skills are needed and you have to prove that you can solve the problem with your theoretical knowledge.

Tip 2: Pay attention to the right equipment

The next task is a math problem and you have no pocket calculator with you? Now you can either multiply by hand or recapitulate. It sounds banal, but preparing for a retreat also involves thinking about what tools you need. These include stationery, such as a working pen, a pencil, an eraser, a ruler or a highlighter. On the other hand, documents or reference works, collections of formulas or law books may be allowed in the exam. See on the day of the exam again, whether you have packed all the permitted resources. Each compartment has its tools, without which can work badly.

Tip 3: Pay attention to the formulation of the question

The formulation of a question reveals much about the answer. Since you always have to keep an eye on the time when answering the questions, you should ask yourself at each task how much scope is required here. These phrases will help you.

“Explain …”:

always means that a longer execution is expected here. You have to present and explain the required topic.

“Show by means of an example …”: Here, the choice of the right example is paramount. Only if you choose a suitable example, you can build on this the required learning content.

“Sketch …”:

The word “sketching” sounds like a block and pen. This picture can also be transferred to the solution of the question. A sketch is a loose drawing that does not go into detail. The object can still be recognized and the same must be your answer. What is needed here is a rough outline or an overview of a specific topic, you do not have to go into detail, but you must omit nothing important.

“Call …”:

This is the solicitation for a mere enumeration in key words. Excessive explanations are rather disadvantageous here.

“Compare …”:

This type of task basically consists of three parts: you have to explain topic A, describe topic B, and compare the two. The best way to do that is exactly in this order. Of course, the focus must be on the comparison. Differences, similarities and similarities must be clearly defined.

Tip 4: Pay attention to the form and writing style of the exam

Out of sheer nervousness and panic, one quickly loses all his orthography and grammar skills during the exam, deletes, adds, handles wildly with footnotes and at the end hands off ten sheets in a disorderly order. What would be your first impression of such an exam, if you were a lecturer? Right. First of all, you would be assuming that you have concentrated incompetence in front of you.

Such a first impression can be detrimental to you. The content of your exam may be of extraordinary expertise, but it also counts the form. With multiple-choice questions, you can not go wrong. But if you have questions in which you formulate the answer freely, you must pay attention to your language style and your spelling. Do not make the mistake and start writing immediately if you have read a question. First, always think about the exact answer you want to put on paper and start writing.

The following rules should be observed:

  • Leave some space behind each answer so you can add something later if necessary.
  • Have to cross something out, use a ruler.
  • Watch out for a readable font.
  • Check spelling and commas.
  • Divide your answers into meaningful sections.
  • Do not get distracted. Formulate in clear, short sentences.
  • Number your pages.
  • Do not write beyond the correction margin.

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