Working Under Pressure

Throughout Learning Matters we have talked a lot about how we learn – how we build knowledge and remember more of it. Exams test your knowledge, understanding and your ability to apply your learning.  

We have established that knowing the structure and style of questions and looking out for command words and key terminology will help you approach your exams with greater focus and confidence.  

The next step is being able to fluently communicate your answer against the clock. 

Here are our top tips -  

Select a question to answer. Plan it out on some paper. Set a timer on your phone and write the answer. When the timer ends, put a line in the margin to indicate where you got up to, and then keep going until you finish. Once you finish, read it through and ask yourself, if this was the exam, would you be happy with what you’ve written? 

If you’ve gone way over or under your time allowance, check 

I went way over the time I had 

I had loads of time spare 

Are you trying to write too much?  


Are you going off topic? 


Are you too wordy?  


Could it be more succinct? 

Are you writing too little? 


Have you covered enough to answer the question?  


Do you need to give more detail, keywords or more examples? 


Once you have reflected on your first attempt, set the timer again and see if you can get more (or less) in in the allocated time. Keep using the coloured line in the margin to indicate when the time runs out. This will help you know if you’re getting what you need to get written down in a shorter timeframe.  

Freebie Friday is back again this week! Get down to the Plaza early to bag your Freebie to help you work under pressure in timed conditions.   

Learning matters and we are here to help. If you need help working in timed conditions, you can see our ILC team, your teachers our ALS team or your tutor.  

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