Writing essays in exams – practice before the exam!

Many university students will be starting to prepare for examinations that are looming after Easter. Last week I got my students to do a practice exam in which they had to sit and write for two hours, as they will have to do in the real exam. I nearly didn’t do this exam practice because I thought it might be a waste of class time. I thought the students could just do it at home as homework and give it to me to mark…but then when I said this to my colleague, she said “But if you don’t do it in class, they won’t do it!” and I realised she was right. Afterwards I was pleased that I had given my students the practice exam. There are some really useful things that I can tell them to think about when they do their real exam and now they know what the real thing will be like. Your teacher may not give you a practice exam in which case you’ll have to give yourself one. But I am convinced that doing one or two practice exams will be beneficial to you. I’ll be saying more about writing essays in exams soon (and getting my students to read the posts!) and meanwhile I’d like to recommend this page of advice from Melbourne University here.