Format of exam
Understand the format of the exam. Is section A compulsory to answer? Do you have a choice of 2 questions from 4 in Section B? I recall our tutor mentioning that some students would answer more questions than actually required, it pays to know how many questions to answer!
Attempt all parts of the question. Even if you don’t get the exact correct answer for A, attempt the other parts, examiners are looking for your ability to interpret and analyse your result as well.
Keep an eye on the time during the exam and ensure you don’t spend too long on a particular question, otherwise it will only leave you less time for the others.
Write neatly and leave white space (an empty line) between paragraphs/ points in your answer. This will make it easier for the examiner to mark and you’ll find they are more ready to give 10 marks to 5 smaller spaced blocks of writing than 1 huge block of endless lines.
Read the requirements/ question first and then read any background or case data provided. This will give you a flavour for what is important and relevant in the text provided. Many a times I would read the data first and highlight what I thought was important and then after reading the question requirement realise most of what I highlighted was irrelevant!
Re-read the requirement and make sure you understand what is required from you. It’s possible that in a panic to answer the question you fail to:
1, understand the question
2, fail to answer the question being asked
Understand what the wording of a question is trying to ask of you, e.g. state and explain, explain and critically evaluate. The word ‘and’ in such cases splits the requirement into 2 and the format of your answer could reflect this (e.g. state your point then explain, with reference to real life examples/ studies, or a sub-section to explain a theory and another sub-section to critically evaluate the theory).
Pay no attention to those around you who start writing within seconds of being told they can start the exam.
If you don’t make answer plans at least note down a few words for points/ ideas on the question sheet. This may help jog your memory later, as you write the answer, for other points to include.
Practise of the method/s above and speed reading the text during your revision is invaluable.
Never, ever leave the exam room early! It’s too late to add something you remember to your answer if you left the exam hall 10 minutes ago with an hour and a half of the exam left to go.
If you get stuck for ideas, go back and read over what you have already written. This way you recheck your answer as well as trying to jog your memory for any additional points to add.
After the exam
Don’t analyse the exam with your friends, if as a result of this you realise a mistake you will only get yourself down, and its not like you can put it right anyway. You may actually think you did really well from talking to friends and this will just make you feel proud. Pride is not something you should have in Islam anyway, and you might just be setting yourself up for a fall when results come out.
Rather just walk away and spend a little time doing Hamd and Shukr to Allah swt that the exam went as well as it did.
Remember you’ve done your ‘bit’ now, turn to Allah in supplication and ask Him to grant you success for He alone is the All Powerful.