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Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.
Here are some tips: Interpretation words ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject.
Don’t see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence.
You need to be especially aware of the likelihood of errors, so check your essays thoroughly before you hand them in to make sure they answer the right questions and don’t have big oversights or mistakes (like saying “Hitler” when you really mean “Churchill”).
If you tend to go blank during exams, try studying in the same classroom in which the test will be given.
The more you panic, the more mistakes you are liable to make. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivs 4.0 License.
Put the test in perspective: will you die from a poor performance? Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. Essay exams challenge you to come up with key course ideas and put them in your own words and to use the interpretive or analytical skills you’ve practiced in the course.Instructors want to see whether: Exam questions can reach pretty far into the course materials, so you cannot hope to do well on them if you do not keep up with the readings and assignments from the beginning of the course.Some research suggests that people attach ideas to their surroundings, so it might jog your memory to see the same things you were looking at while you studied. Bring in something you associate with success or the support of your loved ones, and use it as a psychological boost. Reread, rework, and rethink your answers if you have extra time at the end, rather than giving up and handing the exam in the minute you’ve written your last sentence. Remember that instructors do not want to see you trip up—they want to see you do well.With this in mind, try to relax and just do the best you can. We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout.This means that your answers must be clear and concise without being so bare bones that you don’t seem to have a personality.In fact, it’s okay if you answer the question in less than the allotted space.At some time in your undergraduate career, you’re going to have to write an essay exam.This thought can inspire a fair amount of fear: we struggle enough with essays when they aren’t timed events based on unknown questions.Colleges abound with tales of woe about students who slept through exams because they stayed up all night, wrote an essay on the wrong topic, forgot everything they studied, or freaked out in the exam and hyperventilated.If you are rested, breathing normally, and have brought along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks that you can eat or drink quietly, you are in a much better position to do a good job on the test.