Managing your time in your exams

As well as a thorough understanding of the syllabus, the examiner also wants you to demonstrate that you can manage your time in a sensible and productive way. If you can’t manage your time, you’re likely to struggle, even if you know the syllabus inside out! Just like the real world, it isn’t just whats in your head that matters – its what you can do with it in terms of producing the right output.


Work out your time beforehand

Before starting each question you should work out write the amount of time allowed for each question onto your exam paper. This will be determined by the mark allocation – even better if you can quickly translate this into times of the clock – eg “finish Q1 and start Q2 at 10.45am”.


Match your time to the marks

It can be hard to restrict your timings, particularly in long numerical questions, but it is important not to overrun because you will only create even more time pressure for the next question.  So when you’re working out your time allocations match the time to the marks – spend twice as long on a requirement worth 10 marks as you do for one worth 5 marks.


Pick up the easy questions

Attempt everything, but do your best to pick up ALL the easy marks you can straight away.


Play to your strengths

Inevitably some questions will be more time pressured than others, dependent on the style of question, your knowledge of the topic concerned and your strengths.  Always play to your strengths and leave those areas you find most difficult until last. if you are seriously struggling, don’t waste time on what is probably in reality worth only a few marks.  It is far more important to be able to pick up the other marks available.  If you realise you are taking too long on a single part of a question you must force yourself to move on, you can always return to it later.


Want some more advice? Read our article on last minute exam tips


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