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.
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.
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.