Best Examination Tips: How to be successful in an examination – Ten Commandments

  • Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Updated on 30.10.2016.


How to be successful in an examination – Ten Commandments


This article provides the candidates appearing in any examination, on any subject, anywhere in the world, with the exclusive “Top Ten Tips” on the preparation for their examination, to improve their performance in that examination.

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These exclusive “Top Ten Tips” on the preparation provide the candidates with a comprehensive method of covering the whole syllabus in a way that would help them using their reading or preparation time more efficiently and thereby, maximise their chances of achieving higher marks in the examination with relatively less efforts and on the other hand reduce the chances of failure.

These tips have been used successfully over the years to increase the efficiency of the preparation for the examination and achieve higher marks. The candidates would definitely improve their performance in the examination if they could implement these tips appropriately. By following these tips they would have an edge over the other candidates taking the examination.

These methods are applicable to any examination, on any subject, anywhere in the world, whether the format is Long Essays, Short Essays or Short Answer Questions (SAQs), Extended Matching Questions (EMQs), Single Best Answers (SBAs), Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), Oral or Viva or any other styles. It is also applicable to the Clinical Examination or Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for the Medical profession.

Important Notes from

This is an article on the techniques of the preparation for Examination published by to help the candidates improve their understanding. It is not guaranteed that the candidates would pass any particular Examination by reading this article only. The discussions are not exhaustive on the topics covered. These aim to highlight the important relevant aspects of the topics rather than every minute detail, which is outside the scope of this article.

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How to be successful in an examination –

Ten Commandments


Whether somebody would achieve success in the examination depends basically on two factors, luck and efficient work (not working hard blindly). To be successful, one needs both. While one cannot control his or her luck, he or she could always try to prepare for the examination efficiently. Therefore, one’s success in the examination would vary depending on how efficiently he or she plans and prepares for the examination.

If you want a fail-safe mechanism, there is no place of short-cut or corner-cutting. You need to have a comprehensive and efficient method of preparation. An hour of planning can save two of misdirected  work. It  is  an  illusion  that  there  is not  enough  time. The  reality  is  that the time available is mismanaged. It is not necessarily true that the harder you work, the more you will get done. Instead, the more effectively you work, the more you will get done.

Top Ten Tips

(Ten Commandments)


1. First, prepare a comprehensive list of chapters or topics relevant to the examination. Once you have prepared the comprehensive list of chapters or topics, it is time to plan your method of preparation and study timetable. This would be the tool that would guide you accurately during your preparation for the examination. Be patient, spend some time thinking and try to make it as comprehensive as possible. It should be feasible and practical as well.

To learn about how to prepare a comprehensive list of chapters or topics relevant to the examination, the advantages of making a list, how to use the list etc read the article  “The secrets of preparing suggestions for any examination” that provides those useful information in detail. To read that article please click on the following link

2. Write down a routine for studying or preparation on a daily basis, including the time and exact chapters or topics and format of questions to cover. Make a photocopy and keep it on your study table. Keep the original in a safe place.

3. Once the preparation on a chapter or topic is complete tick (√) against it on your study-routine and the list of chapters or topics.

4. Assess your progress daily and modify your plan accordingly. After few days you should be able to assess the rate of progress fairly accurately. If your progress differs substantially from your initial study-plan re-write your study timetable.

5. As a rough guide, divide the available days, leaving two weeks just before the examination, into six parts.

6. Keep the first three parts to go through all the syllabus and to make notes on the chapters or topics with more emphasis on the most common chapters or topics. Going through all the syllabus at least once might save you from a disaster if some very uncommon questions come in the examination. This has happened so many times to so many candidates ruining their subsequent career that it is better to be cautious rather than casual.

7. During the next two parts go through your notes and make necessary amendments in the notes. Re-assess your study timetable and re-write it if necessary. Re-assessment is a very important part of the process. You need to make changes to your plan if it is required.

8. In the final sixth part go through your notes, study materials, books etc in a reverse order (starting from the bottom towards the top) of your comprehensive list of chapters or topics so that you would read the most important chapters or topics just before the examination. As questions from these chapters or topics are the most likely to be asked about, they should be freshest in your memory.

9. Keep the two weeks just before the examination as a reserve so that you could use this period as required depending on your preparation till then. Start practising sleeping well and avoiding late nights during this period if you have not been doing that. It takes time to change habits and the body to adjust to changes. Unless you start it in time it might be too late to change habits.

10. From the day before till the examination, avoid reading. Try to think about the outline of the answers. If you have any doubts then just check that part from your notes, study materials, books etc, but do not try to read too much. It would jam your brain with too much of data and reduce your ability to think freely that might lead to thought block and mistakes in the examination. The ability to think freely would be the most important thing required during the examination, not too much of knowledge. It would be similar to what happens to the computer when you work with too much of data without giving it any break (shutting down), the RAM becomes full and the computer hangs. It would be better if you collect and store the data in your hard disc (brain) over a longer period of time and keep the RAM (brain’s ability to think freely and pull data from its store) relatively free. You must have a quickly functioning brain during the examination. For that matter you must sleep well the night before.  

N.B.    An extra mark scored by any other candidate taking the examination means you need to get an extra mark to keep the difference in your performance with him or her the same. The better the other candidate does the more your performance would be devalued. Therefore, your aim should be to improve your performance not others as then you lose the advantage you get by planning efficiently.


Thank you for reading


Best of Luck for the exam


Plan & Prepare efficiently

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© Dr Sudipta Paul,, 2013

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