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In-exam guidance: Three golden rules

Chloe, from our Disability and Dyslexia Team shares three golden rules for the exam relevant to all students…

With exams looming, here are three golden rules from us at the Disability and Dyslexia Team relevant to all students!


1. Be prepared

  • Know when and where the exam is and arrive early.
  • It goes without saying that you should try to be as prepared as possible. Revise all of the topics that could come up and do lots of practice papers.
  • Being mentally and physically prepared is also important. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and try not to stress yourself out in the morning by going over revision notes too excessively.

2. Ensure you answer the title you’re given, not the title you wish you were given!

  • Highlight the subject on which the title is based – what is the topic actually about? This will direct your research and reading to ensure you are planning for the assignment in front of you. Keep your focus – ensure all reading is relevant to build your argument. In an exam – keep your focus on the topic to help your writing remain relevant and to stop you from going off on a tangent.
  • Highlight the key words within the title – what is the question asking you to do? Explain, Compare and Contrast, Describe… This will set the tone for how you approach and construct the main body by using the relevant approach of writing style.
  • Once you’ve planned your answer – go back and check that it outlines the answer to your question title. No matter how well you write it, if it doesn’t answer the title given, you won’t be awarded the marks.

3. Manage your time wisely

  • Make a plan. A plan helps you focus and allows you to quickly note down all your key points. If you dive straight in you risk forgetting ideas along the way and going off on a tangent. Plans can take any form you like; linear, mind map, bullet points – choose the method that suits you best, but don’t just re-write your revision notes. Think about the question and jot down the relevant information.
  • Be strict with your time. Don’t be tempted to spend too long on any one answer – even if it is a question on your favourite topic. Look at the weightings of each question and spend the appropriate amount of time planning and answering them.
  • Proof read. In your time plan allow at least 5 minutes per question to proof read what you have written. Sub-vocalise (i.e. imagine you can hear each word in your head) or use your finger to focus on each word, as you are more likely to spot mistakes this way.


Accessing more support from the Disability and Dyslexia Team

If you are entitled to 1-1 Study Skills Support and have not yet taken up this support and you wish to book an appointment with our Study Skills Tutors to attend a Study Skills Session, or workshop, on effective time management skills, essay writing skills or exam technique please email: study-skills-support@cardiff.ac.uk or call us on 02920 870896.

If you are unsure whether you have a Specific Learning Disability or know that you do but are yet to organise your diagnostic assessment, please contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service, Email: dyslexia@cardiff.ac.uk or call 02920 874844.


Check out more of our exam advice and tips

Top tips to help you revise effectively

Tips on coping with anxiety before and during exams

Top tips to help you manage exam stress

Presentation panic? Tips to help

The Exam Diet: Your guide to budget-friendly brain food

Organisation, revision and exam strategies for success


Your feedback and help please

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Best wishes,

Chloe, Disability and Dyslexia Team.


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