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Exam essays (Biology)

Students often comment that they don't do as well in exams as they do during the rest of semester, or that although they knew the material well, they didn't do very well on the exam. Often this is due to a simple oversight: they didn't analyse the questions carefully and therefore didn't always provide the information that the examiner was looking for. To do well in an exam (or essay) it is important to understand fully what the question is asking and how it should be answered before you start writing.

Every question can be broken down to identify the What? How? Where?

So as you can see, there is more to it than just identifying the content. In order to be efficient and make the most of your exam time, it's important that you don't just 'brain dump' everything you know about the topic. You need to carefully select the relevant information (using the limitations given) and provide it in the way that you've been asked to (consider the directives). This will allow you to get the maximum marks without wasting time on things that are outside the scope of the question.

The following activities will help you explore this idea further:

Pulling apart the question

What was the question again?

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Your turn

Your turn question 2

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