For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. Essay writing is always something special for students.Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you’ve practiced in the course.
For more information on exam preparation and writing strategies, see our “Exams” pages.
Some suggestions in this handout were adapted from “Fastfacts – Short-Answer and Essay Exams” on the University of Guelph Library web site; “Resources – Exam Strategies” on the St.
Here are some tips: Interpretation words ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject.
Don’t see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence.
You aren’t going to write a good essay on something you figured out at 4 a.m. If you prepare yourself well throughout the semester, you don’t risk your whole grade on an overloaded, undernourished brain.
If for some reason you get yourself into this situation, take a minute every once in a while during the test to breathe deeply, stretch, and clear your brain.The goal of this handout is to give you some easy and effective strategies that will help you take control of the situation and do your best.Essay exams are a useful tool for finding out if you can sort through a large body of information, figure out what is important, and explain why it is important.Some research suggests that people attach ideas to their surroundings, so it might jog your memory to see the same things you were looking at while you studied. Bring in something you associate with success or the support of your loved ones, and use it as a psychological boost. Reread, rework, and rethink your answers if you have extra time at the end, rather than giving up and handing the exam in the minute you’ve written your last sentence. Remember that instructors do not want to see you trip up—they want to see you do well.With this in mind, try to relax and just do the best you can. We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout.Colleges abound with tales of woe about students who slept through exams because they stayed up all night, wrote an essay on the wrong topic, forgot everything they studied, or freaked out in the exam and hyperventilated.If you are rested, breathing normally, and have brought along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks that you can eat or drink quietly, you are in a much better position to do a good job on the test.The most successful essay exam takers are prepared for anything reasonable, and they probably have some intelligent guesses about the content of the exam before they take it. Try some of the following suggestions during the semester: These suggestions will save you lots of time and misery later. You’ll notice the following suggestions are all based on organizing your study materials into manageable chunks of related material.Remember that you can’t cram weeks of information into a single day or night of study. If you have a plan of attack, you’ll feel more confident and your answers will be more clear.The more you panic, the more mistakes you are liable to make. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivs 4.0 License.Put the test in perspective: will you die from a poor performance? Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using.