IELTS Writing Exam

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know


As a student, there is no better feeling than walking into an exam room with confidence. It even gets better being able to tackle an exam with a calm and rational posture. The good news is that there are several things that you can do that will help you cope during exam times. And yes, you can learn how to do this and more using general examination writing skills.

Examination writing skills
Students feel confident when they are equipped with the best writing skills during examinations. Photo: GettyimagesSource: Getty Images

Students deal with too much stress due to exams, but it takes due diligence to master the necessary expertise to handle this better. Examination writing skills give learners the ability to maintain a good disposition and self-confidence in dealing with stress and anxiety.

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Read more: Exam writing skills definition

What is examination writing skills?

How can you define examination writing skills? They include skills that a student must have to help cope better in taking an exam. As a student, it is a good idea to get prepped early on how to ace those exams by bettering your exam technique. Student abilities are displayed and evaluated on five product factors, including conventions, syntax, vocabulary, and fluency.

four examination writing skills

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Four examination writing skills

The best way for performing well in exams is to make sure you are well prepared and have done your revision. It is important to plan your time during the assessment periods and ensure that you stay focused on your exams. Below are some of the best examination writing skills.

poor examination writing skills
The best way to excel in an exam is to make sure you are well prepared. Photo: GettyimagesSource: Getty Images

Read the questions and instructions carefully

This may seem like an obvious thing to do. However, many students have lost points in exams because they did not read the instructions properly.

Time management is crucial, not only for exam writing but also for the study time that precedes it. Learners need to figure out how to use the available time to maximize productivity. Have a look at the whole exam paper before you start answering. Begin with the parts that you are familiar with and feel most confident about. This is an easy way to guarantee those first points.

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Plan each answer before you start writing

As a writer, ensure that you note down skeleton answer plans. This can be done on a separate page that you will later cross out as rough work. Making a draft first will help you make sure that your answer is clearly structured.

Read all the instructions carefully

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Make sure that you are clear on how many questions you need to answer. If they are divided into multiple sub-questions, check whether you have to answer any one of the sub-question or all of them. Go to the back of the paper for further questions or sections.

What are some of the poor examination writing skills?

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know
It is important to answer exam questions in your own words. Photo: GettyimagesSource: Getty Images

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When learners lack great exam skills, their work may be unsatisfactory in many ways. These include poor grammar, syntax, unclear organisation, weak reasoning, as well as poor arguments. Below are some of the poor skills that students need to un-learn.

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know

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Regurgitating teacher’s notes

This is particularly common in higher institutions. It is important to express things in your own words. This shows that you have understood them, and you can also put a coherent argument together. Examiners want to see that you have understood a subject and that you can think around it.


Being as specific as possible in whatever you write is important. Always show that you understand the limits of your statement. If possible, it is best to back up whatever you say with evidence. Nobody really expects you to be able to provide detailed references under exam pressure.

Making basic spelling and grammar errors

This is admittedly much harder without a spell check. As a student, however, you need to be able to write basic English or official examination language well without spelling or grammar errors. Read back over what you have written at the end and make sure it makes sense.

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know

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Jumbled vocabulary

This usually occurs because students do not have a firm understanding of the meaning of words. Additionally, it can also happen if the writer does not know the best use of words. Sometimes the two factors may be combined.

Frequently asked questions

Undoubtedly, examination prowess is essential for every student in their school journey. Without proper skills, many perform poorly. Below are some of the most frequent questions about writing an exam.

1. What are examination writing skills?

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These refer to the basic adroitness that a learner should have to be able to write an exam well. The skills help students cope better when writing exams. Great examination skills enable students to withstand the anxiety that comes with exams.

2. How do you test your writing skills?

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There is no denying that assessing your writing is a daunting and confusing task. Luckily, there are quite a few ways to evaluate your skills so you can develop your writing abilities with confidence. Some of the best ways include:

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know

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  • Ask someone to read your work
  • Study best-practice examples
  • Study your old work for clues
  • Use an online readability checker, such as Grammarly, Hemmingway, or Readable, all of which have both free and paid options.

3. What are basic writing skills?

Basic writing skills begin with idea development, which includes the creative musing and accumulation of data. There are five basic writing skills that every student must possess. They include:

  • Proper pronunciation and spelling
  • Good reading comprehension
  • Sentence and paragraph structure
  • Knowledge of different types of writing
  • Editing and rewriting

Writing is a skill. Just like any other skill such as sports, art, and music, you will reap the rewards if you put in training, preparation, and practice. The student will learn how to access their examination writing skills, and work if their concept is of a good standard with time, practice, and determination. Use the exam tips mentioned above to improve your examination writing skills and process of assessment.

Examination writing skills: Everything you need to know

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Recently, published an article on the available education bursaries for South African students. These bursaries are the easiest way of clearing your studies within the required time without unnecessary financial strains.

These ZA bursaries are highly accessible on a non-competitive basis for all eligible students.

Source: Briefly News

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