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Undergraduate Handbook

Taking Exams

In first year mathematics courses, a good portion of your final grade will be based on written examinations. The following are some suggestions for maximizing your score on examinations:

  1. Keep current. It is next to impossible to “cram” for a mathematics exam.
  2. Arrive at an examination well rested. If you have stayed up all of the previous night studying, you probably will not perform as well as you are able.
  3. When you obtain the examination, read it through carefully.
  4. Make a note of the questions you are sure you can do and do them (although the easier questions often appear in the first part of an examination, this may not be true for an individual student).
  5. If the calculations for a question become unreasonable, check for errors. A question worth 5 percent should not require 10 pages of calculations.
  6. Try to work neatly. Messy work often leads to errors.
  7. Try to apportion the time you spend on a question relative to its worth. It is not a good strategy to spend 50 percent of the time available on a question worth 10 percent of the total grade.
  8. If you have time, check your work.