Exam writing

To manage your exam time:

  • Read over the whole exam before you start writing
  • Identify questions with the most marks
  • Calculate the time you have for each section of the exam
  • Match your writing to the question type

Multiple choice questions

There is usually one answer that is most correct, one that is nearly correct, a wrong answer that tries to trick you in some way (such as repeating key words in the question) and a completely wrong answer.

  • Quickly eliminate the wrong answers, so that you can focus on the others
  • Skip questions you are unsure about and come back to them at the end

Exams multiple choice

Short answer questions

Check how many marks each question is worth, because that will tell you how much to write/how many parts of the questions there are.

Both bullet points and full sentences may be acceptable (check with your lecturer before the exam). Bullets points can be faster.

Exams short answer

Essay questions

  • Analyse and answer the question
  • Plan your essay structure
  • Write a short introduction, body paragraphs for each main idea, and a conclusion
  • Write complete sentences
  • Use bullet points if you run out of time
  • The marks allocated per question indicate how many points/how much information is required in an answer

Formula based questions

  • Choose a relevant formula carefully
  • Write down the formula, then put in values
  • Include all steps in your working out (this may be included in your mark)
  • Include units of measure in your final answer

Open book exam

  • You can take books and notes into an open-book exam
  • Choose carefully what material you take and how much you will actually use
  • Prepare your materials so that you can FIND relevant information quickly and easily
  • Study concepts and key content before the exam so that the materials are just a support


For reasons outside your control, you may not be able to sit a scheduled exam. If this happens:

  • Contact your lecturer, programme leader or programme administrator to let them know as soon as possible. They will advise you what to do.
  • Get a medical certificate if you are sick

Student wellbeing and health

City Campus, WB219, (09) 921 9992
North Campus, AX100, (09) 921 9998
South Campus, MB109, (09) 921 9992