Tips for written questions

Todd Fraser on 02-05-2009

Here are my favorite tips for the written questions. What are yours? - Read the question thoroughly. When you finish the answer, look again at the question to ensure you've answered it. - Spend 20 seconds scribbling a plan for your answer in the margin - Know the definitions of the terms used commonly in questions - describe, compare and contrast, critically appraise etc - Concentrate on the opening sentence or two. An all encompassing statement about the question immediately tells the examiner you've got this one licked - Answer like a consultant. Think about legal issues, process issues, debriefing, cost-benefit etc. These can pick up an extra mark or two - Draw diagrams and use lists wherever possible Add your tips below


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Neil Orford wrote 05-03-2009 10:51:52 am
While practicing for SAQs it is important to , at some stage before the exam, put yourself in exam timing
conditions. I think the best way to generally answer a SAQ is to spend a minute reading the question, thinking about how to structure the answer, then writing the headings over a few pages. Then spend 8 minutes filling in the content. At 9 minutes wind it up and be looking at the next question before the 10 minutes are up. You can't afford to get behind

Susan Winter wrote 09-22-2009 03:24:21 pm
Well before the exam, sit down and do ten questions
under timed conditions. (as per Neil's comment) Get a range of people to
mark them for you, and then a couple of months late
do the same questions again. Fortuneately the data i
in the exam now means less writing, but it is still
important to 'get the techique'. I think I knew less
factual material when I passed the written than when
I failed it.

Michael Clifford from australia wrote 11-18-2013 03:50:47 pm
Practice the questions to approx half time - 1 min reading 5 mins writing
Do 5 questions per session initially to get a feel for the exam, its depth, breadth and the vagaries of the examiners
Practice the repeated questions first - they are repeated for a reason
Have a look at which bits of the syllabus appear again and again in different guises
Which drugs do they keep coming back to

As you get closer to the exam - answer more questions until you are doing full papers - to half time
A half time answer is a compromise between exam efficiency (trying to practise as many topics as you can) and the inevitable reduction in your capacity on the day - stress, fatigue, brain fade etc (i.e. 5 mins a plan with short notes, lists etc)

Leave two papers to do under FULL EXAM CONDITIONS about 2-4 weeks out- try NOT to look at them b4 you do them (I suggest you put away the two most recent papers)


Underline the key components
Avoid the temptation to answer your own question "i will write what I know because they might give me some marks !" - WE WILL NOT
If you know nothing - go and answer another question - come back when your memory has been jogged by something you write about another question 9or leave it)
Try to be ruthless and make yourself spend no more than 7 mins per question to ensure you write something about everything you know about and ensure a pass. Go back at the end and add the "extras"

6/10 is a lot easier to get than 9/10 so play the game smart

Mike Clifford




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