“I knew the answer for almost all the MCQs. But the time was not enough. I got stressed when they told me I have got only half an hour more and I had to complete 20 more questions. Everything went downhill from there because of the stress. I finally gave up.” Said a student who got C for his physics A/L examination.

Timing is everything when it comes to getting good results in physics. Though you have the best knowledge and if you don’t know to manage your timing in your exam, you are not going to get good grades.  


Hey guys, I’m doctor Afdhaal and I got an “A” for physics. Throughout my A/L journey, I learned a few golden principles from high performers that helped me to easily perform well in exams.


Simulate an exam environment

Early morning is the time that I love to practice exams. Because that is the time that I felt productive and energetic. I always informed my family beforehand that I’m going to practice for an exam and don’t disturb me by any means.

I’m a person who is easily disturbed by noise. So I always had a pair of orange earplugs that I bought from the pharmacy to come to my aid. I took the past paper and placed it on my well-organized table, where my red color table clock started to tick, and the dance began.

My challenge is to complete the entire question paper within 1 hour and 40 minutes. I planned to complete the first 20 MCQs in the first 25 minutes, the next 20 to 40 MCQ’s in 40 minutes. And the rest of the questions in the next 30 to 40 minutes. I knew that this is how they make a standard past paper. And this is how they expect us to spend our time.

What I learned from the beginning was “equally dividing” the time for the entire question is a bad strategy. That’s why I never practiced timing on model papers.

In my case, exam mindset is almost always associated with stress. When I hear the name of exam, I get stressed. I believed that, If I can perform well under pressure in my home in a controlled environment, then I could perform well in my final exams. If I could complete the whole question paper within 1 hour and 40 minutes at home which is a less stressful situation, then I could be able to complete the questions within 2 hours under high-pressure environment.


Exam rituals and Messy trials

The clock started to tick. I took a deep breath multiple times and recited the routine mantra within the first 30 seconds. This made me calm and acted as a reset switch to my stress levels.

Yah! By practicing some rituals, you can reset your stress levels. It helped me to control my stress during the final physics exam.

I constantly looked at the time after doing multiple questions to make sure that I’m at the right pace with the time.

When I couldn’t find the answer, I was stressed. But I kept on moving. When I couldn’t answer multiple questions at a raw, that was my worst nightmare. Because that is the time that my mind started to wander “I couldn’t answer any question. Should I even continue this time management thing!”.

Practicing MCQs was unnatural for me. I gave up a few times, to be honest. But I kept it going as much as possible. “No pain no gain”. Everything I pushed after having that initial pain was the one that gave me the courage.

While practicing exam timing, sometimes I felt negative and demotivated by thinking I could only answer 20 MCQ’s out of the 50 questions I did. But after completing the session, I was totally wrong. I scored around 35 correct answers and out of those 35, 5 by mistakes and 5 lucks.


The questions that only God can answer

I always kept in mind that “there will be at least 5 questions in my MCQ paper that I might not be able to answer”. Because I know that those are the worst type of monstrous question that swallows my golden time which determines my entire future.

I guessed my answer "Tak tik tok", but in a smart way.

As soon as I assume that the question that I’m trying to answer is impossible, I just guessed the answer. “Tak Tik Tok”. But I was little smart enough to exclude the most unlikely stem and increase my probability of getting the right answer. So those are the question I leave God to decide.


Fail at home to win at exam

To be honest I failed. I couldn’t complete the questions in 2 hours. It took me more than 2 hours to complete the questions and most of the answers are wrong. Out of 50 MCQ’s I only got around 20 to 25 at the beginning.

I have a really low threshold to get upset when I don’t perform well. I can remember the days that I was frustrated and almost wanted to give up because I’m not up to the mark. But I kept on practicing. Though I was fed up and wanted to quit, I practiced slowly. Fortunately, I had some mentors to whom I could talk regarding my problems.

There are no shortcuts for learning time management.

The more I practiced, the more I was able to manage my timing. Unfortunately, if you are an average student like me, then the only way for you to learn timing is, practicing it many times. There are no shortcuts for learning time management.


Your thoughts?

What are the secrets that you practice and what you learned? I would really love to learn from you about the tips and tricks you practice to crush your exam. Feel free to comment below. smile

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Dr. Afdhaal's Avatar
Dr. Afdhaal replied the topic: #22488 6 months 1 week ago
Would love to hear from you the way you practice your time management!