Exam essentials: Recognising different question types
This article was first published on 1 February 2019
Different types of exam questions require different responses
You might be tempted to write everything you know when you come across a question from a topic you have revised well. But remember, if the question is only worth one mark, that’s all they can give you.
These tips will help you avoid wasting valuable time in an exam:
Go through the paper at the start, notice the type of questions being asked and the number of marks available
The marks available give you an indication of how much time to spend on the question
The easier questions will come at the beginning of the paper and will require short answers
Each paper that you sit will have different types of questions, which will require different depths of responses. The key is being able to recognise the types of questions being asked and know what response is required.
Different question types
1 mark/multiple choice - These are simply asking you for information you can remember or to choose an option given
2 - 5 marks - Here you need to recall the relevant information and then explain your answer
6 - 12 marks - These questions require you to remember information you have learned, use that information to answer the question and then support your answer with evidence
18- 36 marks (essay type questions) - These questions occur in certain subjects, for example English. For this type of question, note how many questions there are in the paper, and then split your time accordingly.