What factors affect how well we do in exams?

What factors affect how well we do in exams?

You would think it is all down to how much time you spend swatting in your bedroom.

There are in fact 8 main factors that affect exam performance

Subject Knowledge – Yes how much context you remember. You increase the content you remember by how you effectively you process the information in a way that suits you. In short realistic study blocks. of time

Your Exam History – How you have done in previous exams. If you had a bad exam last time you are inclined to walk into the next exam feeling that this will be the same. Leave the last exam behind you!

Exam Preparation – Have you maintained your health? Do you feel good about yourself? Are you feeling calm, fit, rested and do you have everything you need for the exam from food to pens organised?

Exam Practice – How well do you know the exam papers? Do you plan on doing the exams from start to finish? Bad idea! You need to do your best questions first when you are freshest and get your best marks for these questions!

Experience of the Subject – Do you bring yourself into your answers? What sets you apart from all the other scripts and answers? Your life experience. Think about where you have travelled too, who you have met, what sports you are good at, what books have you read for inspiration? Who do you admire that you can quote? What work experience have you done? All these are valuable examples you know first hand – you don’t have to learn them off – you remember these experiences.

Writing Skills – Do you do out a plan for your essays? Do you make sure to have a beginning, middle and a conclusion? Do you make sure to state if you have been for or against the argument you presented? Do you read over your work as you go along and keep track of what you are saying?

Use of Time – Have you got into the habit of working in blocks of time similar to those that you need to answer the questions in? Have you got time left to read over your work? Do you get stuck on a question and not move on? Do you joint down a plan for the question with the key bullet points to get started?

Attitude and Approach – Do you go in feeling this is going to be about everything you don’t know or that it’s your chance to shine? Do you know what you are good at? No one is good at everything! You don’t need to be – you just need to excel in your strengths! Exams test who you are not what you don’t remember.


Originally published for Family Friendly HQ in February 2018.