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Over the years it has been proven that students often have poor grades in their examinations because of many reasons but one paramount reason for poor grades is because of common mistakes in the examination hall.

The main purpose of any examination is not really to check your grades or performance but to ensure that you put in your best while achieving maximum results. Many a time, students tend to write examinations because they are under the pressure to perform not really to express their views on certain knowledge they have gained in the classes preceding the exam. This usually leads to examination malpractices, low self-esteem, and mistakes in examination halls which isn’t the true worth of such students. Examination malpractices by students show that the student isn’t prepared for the exam or the student has exam phobia. All these issues boil down to the central problem of common mistakes in examination halls.

The examination hall is one of the most dreaded places for many students, as a normal hall bounded by walls is transformed into the worst nightmare for a student during an exam.

This shouldn’t be so, as an ideal examination hall should be one free from panic attacks, nightmares, or phobias. An ideal examination hall is a place created to allow a student to express his/her self effectively. An ideal examination hall should have good lighting, a cool environment, be free from noise and contain basic comfort materials.

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In this article, we would be treating the top five common mistakes to avoid in the examination hall. The top five common mistakes to avoid in the examination hall are:


Every examination hall has invigilators who are assigned to ensure that students obey the rules guiding the examination. The invigilators know the rules and proper conduct guiding every exam, so any act of disobedience to them may be considered cheating. Remember exam invigilators are appointed by the body organizing the examination, this means that any issues with them show faulting to the examination body. The good news is that examination invigilators are humans so they won’t just treat students unfairly. Exam invigilators can be persuaded too, Just ensure you don’t fear them but see them as people who are there to ensure that the exam a is fair to everyone.

How do you Obey Invigilators in an Examination Hall?

To obey the rules binding invigilators in examination halls you must do the following:

1. Ensure you avoid entering the examination hall with contraband materials.

2. Avoid coming to the examination hall late.

3. Ensure you speak calmly and patiently to the examination invigilators when they speak to you.

The take-home here is that examination invigilators make the examination conditions equal and can give a good report for a center, thus ensuring that students are not marked down. However, students can file reports against examination invigilators if they sense any act of misconduct by the examination invigilators.


For many students after passing the first hurdle with the examination invigilators, the next hurdle is reading the instructions. The instructions are usually in two batches. The first is the general examination instruction while the second is the question-specific instruction. Students always think they are saving some extra minutes by not reading the instruction but many time they miss pivotal information about the examination and this ultimately leads to poor grades or lack of satisfaction with their examination performance.

The question-specific instructions are the instruction meant only to guide you in solving a particular question. Examples include “In no more than 500 words describe with examples….;

without the use of a calculator, define….; and so on.” When dealing with a question specific instructions remember that they do not apply to the whole examination, so don’t use them outside the questions.

The general examination instructions, usually apply to the general rules concerning the examination. This set of instructions shouldn’t be toyed with. Any student willing to have excellent grades must read these instructions and digest them to avoid misinterpreting questions. For instance, in WASSCE some questions are specific to certain countries if you answer questions while ignoring the questions meant for your country, you end up missing cheap marks.

The instructions are not put there by mistake, they are there to guide your acts when answering the examination question. Sometimes, examination invigilators give a few minutes extra for students to read the examination instruction, please use this time effectively.

In addition, you can ask the invigilators to explain any instruction that you might find confusing. The invigilators would be ever willing as this is one of their responsibility.

Is there a possibility that you forget to read the instruction? Yes, it’s possible but the moment you realize you haven’t read the instructions, go back to the page where the instructions are written and read them.


One of the most common responses from students after any examination is “The time for the exam was not enough” “The time allocated for the questions was not enough” or “The examiner didn’t give enough time for the examination”. Such statements are usually common during subjects involving a lot of essays or subjects involving a lot of calculations. How then do students avoid this problem?

To solve this problem, we need to understand why students complain about insufficient time allocation for an exam. This problem arises because of little or no preparation for examinations.

Many students do not read for exams they have an assumption that the question would be easy.

Yes let’s not dispute the fact that the questions would be easy, but remember that the questions are easy because they follow a particular syllabus and curriculum. This means that the secret to having enough time during an examination is by preparing for the examination by reading the right materials which follow the correct syllabus and curriculum.

Here are a few tricks I will recommend to tackle time management issues in the examination hall.

1. Avoid skipping any question in an MCQ exam, try to pick an answer and come back to that question. This method goes with the assumption that easier questions might be found in some later questions.

2. Ensure you divide the time accordingly for each question, giving extra time for summarizing your answers and cross-checking your work.

3. Never assume that you have enough time, try to calm down but work with speed. I believe these few hacks would help with combating poor time management in the exam hall.


Another common mistake people make in the examination hall is borrowing materials from friends and people in the examination hall without seeking permission from the examination invigilators. Many persons come to the examination hall with no tool required for the exam, they have a mindset that they can borrow the materials or tools. This is a wrong mindset because it doesn’t agree with the rules of the examination. One way to avoid borrowing anything from others in the examination hall is to take extra tools to the examination hall.

If you mistakenly forgot any examination material outside the examination hall, the moment you realize especially for written exams you could request that one of the exam invigilators goes with you to get the material.

However, for Computer-Based Tests, it’s not possible to go out to get forgotten materials as the examination time is fixed on the computer. The solution here is that you check for all examination materials at the start of the examination so that you avoid wasting time unnecessarily.

In addition, try predicting questions that would appear in the examination and take tools that you think would be useful for such questions. For example, while solving questions in construction in mathematics you would a mathematical set; this means that although your mathematical set isn’t a compulsory tool, you can take it to the examination hall in anticipation of a construction question.

Summarily, although one wants to avoid borrowing tools and materials you should take the precautions above then you are good to go.


Examination malpractice is one of the most common mistakes among students in the examination hall. Examination malpractice has been known in many forms among students with different names such as Numb, Doub, Orijo, and many more names. A lot of students feel like they can outsmart themselves by engaging in examination malpractices.

What exactly is examination malpractice? Examination malpractice is simply an intentional decision to disobey the rules guiding an examination to pass the examination.

As defined above, examination malpractice is usually pre-planned, but with dire consequences, if caught now and later if not caught. One thing many forget is that if they can intentionally decide to cheat, they can also intentionally decide to adequately prepare for the examination. The bad of examination malpractices outweigh the good that’s if there is any real good. So why indulge yourself in examination malpractice? Here are a few reasons why students engage in examination malpractice:

1. To pass exams.

2. Because everyone around them is engaging in examination malpractice.

3. The fear or thought that a particular subject or concept is difficult.

4. To have high self-esteem or reduce their low self-esteem.

The following reasons above are just a few reasons why students engage in examination malpractices but here are a few reasons why students shouldn’t:

1. Many students get caught while engaging in examination malpractices.

2. If students put in extra effort in their preparation for the examination, they can do the examination themselves without any external help.

Conclusively, examination malpractice is a common mistake one must avoid regardless of the examination or the level of preparation for the examination. One must develop a strong will to avoid examination malpractice by all means.


Mistakes are bound to happen, like the common saying “no one is perfect everyone can make a mistake” but one thing to note is that mistakes can be avoided and controlled. Don’t dwell on the mistake, have a strong will to avoid the common mistake in the examination hall.

Wishing you the best in all your examinations. Cheers!   



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