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

Mr Moore explains to his class how to recognise the different types of questions that come up in an exam.

Let's recap

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.

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Exam essentials: Inside an examiner’s mind
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