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Before you start writing you should know exactly how much time you have to complete the task or tasks. Make sure you have a watch or can see a clock in the exam. You may not be allowed to have your mobile phone on the table, so you should wear a watch if possible. 

So, how much time should you spend on each part of a writing task? There is no right or wrong answer for this but here’s an example. If you have forty minutes to complete the exam you could divide the time in this way: 

Writing task – 40 minutes:

  • Planning – 10 minutes
  • Writing – 25 minutes
  • Reviewing – 5 minutes

That may seem like a lot of time to plan, but a good plan is the key to success and it gives you the chance to really make sure you know what you are going to write before you begin. 

Total votes: 119

Discussion

Do you plan your time in writing exams? Have you got any tips to share? 

Comments

JasonFu's picture
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JasonFu 29 January, 2018 - 12:53

I always plan time,my mom let me do this.But I can not plan times well,that's my problem.I read your passage,feel well.You help me,don't you?
PS:My writing is awful either,cause I'm Chinese.English is not my own langguage.But I will do it best,like your plan.

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 30 January, 2018 - 03:42

I'm glad that you will try the time management strategy. Good luck with your writing :)
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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HH's picture
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HH 8 July, 2015 - 03:45

I think you have given us a wonderful tip. In my test, I don't often spend time planning, so I forget a lot of details. And I have spent too much time for writing. It makes me have no times for reviewing.

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Lujy_English's picture
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Lujy_English 2 February, 2015 - 11:40

Hey. Also can anyone give me advice on how to keep the test paper neat and clean??
Note: my writing is awful and my all my exam papers are dirty. And some times the writing would be so squeezed bec the lack of space that I think teachers have hard time reading what I wrote. Any ideas for me??

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 5 February, 2015 - 08:22

Hi Lujy_English! Sorry to hear that messy test papers are a problem for you. Have you tried different pens to see if some are better for your handwriting? Also, in many exam situations you can ask for extra paper to give you more space. I'm sure your teachers will love you for trying to make your writing clearer. For longer answers, writing on alternate lines is a good idea. This gives you plenty of space to make changes without it becoming difficult to read.

It's great that you're thinking about this, and I'm sure you can make your exam papers neater if you practise and try different strategies. Good luck!

Best wishes,
Joanna
(LearnEnglish Teens team)

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Lujy_English's picture
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Lujy_English 2 February, 2015 - 11:35

My problem is that I never plan my time. I think first about what to write, but the time would always be too short. So I keep writing quickly. I also keep writing then erasing. And if we are forced to write in pen I keep crossing stuff that I don't want. I'm such a nervous and hesitant person during exams. And I finish always at the last moment. So I can't revise what I write. :(

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 5 February, 2015 - 08:36

Hi again Lujy_English,
It sounds like you've actually got a really good exam technique! When you're thinking at the beginning, try to write down some ideas on a separate piece of paper and decide what order to say things in. Writing something then changing it is exactly how everyone should write! - you're looking at what you've written and improving it. :) So don't panic about that. You can stop and think for a moment as well. Ask your teacher about having extra paper and leaving a space between lines for changes if necessary. That will help you feel calmer and more organised.

Lots of luck and please tell us how it goes next time!

Best wishes,
Joanna
(LearnEnglish Teens)

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