Managing time properly on exams

Many students complain that the given time on SAT is not enough…

It is enough my friend, you just don’t know how to manage it!

Here are a few general tips on how to manage the exam time and how to use it properly:

1) Know how much time you have and familiarize yourself with the number of questions. This way you can approximate the time allowed for each question and be more organized. Knowing the time for each question allows you to avoid wasting too much time on hard questions, if you feel like the question takes too much time then you should just skip it for that moment and focus on an easier one. Later if you have time, come back to that hard question and solve it!

2) Be focused and organized! Don’t daydream or observe other exam participants. Looking at others or loosing focus will cause you to lose time and believe me once the focus is lost it is harder to gain it back.

3) Don’t look at the clock every 2 minutes! Whatever you do – don’t check the time often. This may sound unreasonable but believe it works for everybody. When you look at the time, you loose focus, you start worrying – “what if I won’t be able to complete this exam on time”, this causes adrenaline hormones to release into your system and adrenaline hormones prevent your brain to work properly. When you feel excited or stressed, your brain cannot make rational decisions, and therefore checking time every two minutes is the worst thing you can do on an exam.

4) Use as many shortcuts as possible! You don’t have to write every single detail on your paper and for some calculations like finding the roots of a quadratic equation or solving systems of equations with two or three unknowns – you can use your scientific calculator. Instead of writing something down, first construct it in your head to avoid erasing your mistakes… Double check everything to make sure that your steps are right and to avoid re-solving the whole question again.

5) Always bring an extra pen or pencil with you. I saw so many cases where students had problems with their writing tools and had to wait for someone else to help them. To avoid such uncomfortable situations – think ahead and bring extra stuff with you!

6) Instead of reading 5 times fast, read slowly 1 time and understand the text! Efficiency is the key so avoid reading texts more than two times. Underline important words and key details to be able to find them faster when you need to read them again!

7) If ever you loose focus, take a deep breath, let it all out and start from where you left off. This technique works for everyone and it will prevent you from getting stressed once you lost track.

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