SmileTutor Blog Students Exam Tips Beating the Clock: How to Complete Your Paper in Time

Beating the Clock: How to Complete Your Paper in Time


One of the challenges students face during their exams is being unable to complete their papers on time. Especially for Maths and Science papers. This is due to the lack of exam management skills which significantly hinders their performance and grade.

It also wastes their efforts studying during the exam period since they cannot perform at their best and complete all the questions. Thankfully, there are many solutions to this issue, and I’ve compiled a few useful ones to help you beat the clock.

Do Easy Questions First


Always complete the easy questions first. If you encounter a difficult question, skip it and move on to the next.

This ensures that you don’t spend too much time trying to solve the difficult ones so that you don’t miss out on points you could have scored. Once you’ve gone through the paper, come back and work through the tougher ones.

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Budget Your Time Well


Having good time management is vital during exams. This allows you to give it your best shot, and it reduces your stress levels because you have a better direction and plan to complete the exam successfully.

Here are some tips for budgeting your time well:

1. Allot a certain amount of time for each mark. (e.g. one minute per mark, so if the question is worth eight marks, spend eight minutes on it)
2. Complete the easy questions first (refer to the first point)
3. Start on topics that you know or are good in
4. Give yourself the last 30 minutes of the exam to go through your paper one more time

Practice Past Year Papers


Practising and completing past year papers is a great way to gain a better understanding of what to expect during the exam. This helps you budget your time and test different time-saving strategies first.

It also gets you used to working within the time limit, and you’ll also feel more comfortable in an exam setting, which reduces your test anxiety (read the next point)

Keep Calm


Keeping calm during the exam helps you to complete your paper in time. After all, if you’re anxious, your concentration and processing abilities worsen, so you spend more time on each question.

Here are some ways you can keep calm:

1. Prepare for your exams well in advance
2. Have a nutritious diet before the exam
3. Stop studying about an hour before the exam
4. Relax yourself during the exam
5. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand

Get Enough Rest Before the Exam


This brings me to my next point: get enough rest the night before the exam. This improves your concentration and productivity levels and it makes you more alert.

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This is essential when carrying out time-constrained tasks like solving exam questions within a time limit because being more alert and concentrated helps to reduce the time taken.

Not to mention that it also helps your brain perform at peak capacity and improves your exam performance, giving you a better chance of getting a good grade.

Stock Up on Supplies


Sometimes, you might lose precious time during the exam by asking for supplies like a pen, calculator or even an extra sheet of paper to continue writing.

One way to prevent this is to stock up on supplies. This means that you should always make sure to:

1. Bring an extra (pen, calculator, eraser, etc.)
2. If you’re asking for an extra paper, ask for it while you’re on your second last page
3. Make sure that all your tools are working before the exam



Stress levels are at an all-time high during exams, especially since there is a time limit. But as long as you stay calm, manage your time well and do your best, you can be sure to complete your paper in time and with good quality. Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.