Finals Week is coming up.
Chances are, some of you will have to do some in-class essay writing during your Final Exam periods. If so, these tips from a recent Writing Center Workshop might be useful:
Before The Exam
-Look over your notes/readings as thoroughly as you can in the time you have available.
-If you know the topics you will need to write about, make an outline to organize your thoughts in advance.
If you can, find out from your professors what they expect in a successful essay.
If your professors give you an opportunity this week to ask questions about the exam, take them up on it!
Some things to ask about or consider include: Will you need a formal introduction/conclusion?
Are you expected to cite resources such as a textbook or other assigned readings? What particular topics should you be prepared to write about?
Before You Start Writing
-Read through all the questions carefully. Get a picture of the exam as a whole.
-Budget your time and decide which questions to answer first.
-Underline the key words that tell you what to do for each question.
-Brainstorm and plan an outline on scratch paper or in the margins.
While You Are Writing
-Write your answers as quickly and legibly as you can.
-Refer back to your underlined keywords to make sure you have addressed each requirement.
-Write on every other line of your exam book to leave space in case you need to add things.
-Begin each answer with one or two thesis sentences that summarize your response.
-Support your thesis with specific evidence by making reference to material you have studied.
If You Have Extra Time
-Re-read your essay to make sure you answered each question sufficiently.
-Add supporting details if necessary.
-Proofread for errors in spelling/mechanics. (Save this for last).
Final words of advice...
Be Prepared. Get Plenty of Rest Before Your Exam. Take a Deep Breath, Relax, and Don't Panic!
[Thanks to Rashelle and Dr. Kory for putting together the "Essay Exam Tips" handout, which is available in the EIU Writing Center, 3110 Coleman Hall.]