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Top Tips For Exam - Writing, Proctoring & Marking Success!

In Canada it's been a bit since students in high school had to write exams. For two years in my school board exams weren't done because of covid. Teachers couldn' t bring students into the school to administer the tests.

So now I have grade 11 students who have never been through the exam process. They are just as nervous as my grade 9's. Here are some of my tips to make the exam writing, taking and marking process easier!


Include Pictures (stock black and white)

I teach a hands on course, students take this class to do. I find including pictures in my tests and exams help students jog their memoires about the stuff we did in class. It also visually breaks up an intimidating long list of questions.


In my classroom I have lots of posters. I shrink down the image of my posters and use them on tests.

  • Hand washing

  • Knife Safety

  • Mixing Methods

  • Cooking Methods

  • Fridge Organization

  • Dishwashing Steps

Students are asked to identify what is happening in the poster or maybe describe what the poster is showing. Sometimes I put the hand washing or dishwashing stages and ask students to identify each stage. I especially do this with my grade 9 classes.

Use BOLD print

I think sometimes "but I have written out the question, why do I need to BOLD key words?" You need to BOLD key words! Sure I can preach at my students 'slow down, read the question' but I can also help them out and me out by helping their skimming eyes catch the key points they need to.


Briefly Go Over The Exam

Before I give out the exam I like to stand at the front and go over it. I tell them the sections, which I probably already did during review time but I do it again. I read out the questions. I explain charts or diagrams they will need to fill in.

WHY? It keeps me from running around the class once the exam has started explaining it to each student as they raise their hand looking for clarification on how to fill out various parts of the exam. It keeps the exam room quieter once the test has begun.

Explaining What Questions I Can Answer

I like to explain that I can't answer "Is this right?" questions. Often they are asking for the answers or communicating to other students what the answer is. I tell them if that starts happening then the question is taken off the test and they may be sent to the office and have their test taken.


Briefly Go Through Completed Exams

When students hand in their exams I go over them quickly. I'm looking for in-completed questions, and a handwriting check.

The in-completed questions allow me to ask and make sure the students understood the question and give then a second chance to write something down. The handwriting check saves me many minutes of struggling and wondering what the student wrote.

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