Get the Balance Right.

A common mistake that students make is to write too much on the one or two questions of the exam that they are most familiar with.

To maximize your marks you need to balance your time across the exam.

An example of Balance

You have $200 to spend over 4 days. Obviously you have an average of $50 per day to spend. Your spending does not have to be exactly $50 per day but if you spent most of the $200 in the first day then your spending is right out of balance and the last couple of days are going to be pretty crap ;-)

If your money lasts until the end of the forth day then your spending is in balance.

It is the same with the timing in an exam.

An example;

If an exam is 2 hours long and there are 5 questions that are equally weighted then you should probably spend around 24 minutes on each question.

Using another of my dumb examples;

Here there are 5 questions equally weighted.

Answering question c well should get you most of the 20 marks. However, even if you spend a full hour answering this question the most you can get for it is still 20 marks. This would mean that your exam is out of balance. You may have written the worlds best answer on the type of rat most commonly kept as a pet, but unfortunately this is not going to get you a pass!

Obviously, if you know the theory for one question a lot better than for the others you will be able to race through that one. This means that you can then spend more time answering another question.


Do you notice that question b is actually divided into 2 sub-questions? This means you need to divide the 24 minutes into approximately 12 minutes explaining which is the largest rat and approximately 12 minutes explaining where it is found.

So a more detailed timing structure actually looks like;