Unisa Exam Tips

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We understand that it’s no use studying and following all our study tips and then not knowing how to perform in the actual UNISA exam. With this in mind, we have some exam tips to make sure that all the time spent with your books (and study group) is worthwhile.

Unisa exam tips provided by a Professional Unisa Student

Use as many pages as you can

  • In the exam, open the answer booklet to the first double page and use the whole double page for your answer. (This helps because then you won’t get stuck trying to write too small to fit everything in.)
  • Leave TWO lines between every disclosure or calculation that you are doing so that if you make mistake, you can go back and fix it without having to re-write everything. (You can just redo it underneath and cross out the wrong answer.)
  • If you find you have to do the above, always start with the new answer before crossing out the old one. If you cross out the old answer first, and then run out of time, there is nothing for UNISA to mark.
  • This may mean that you use two answer books (or more) for each exam, but it’s worth it if the marker isn’t spending time trying to make out your tiny illegible handwriting.
Use as many pages as you can!

Show your workings clearly

  • If you don’t use the whole double page for your answers, draw a line on the right in the section that you haven’t used and do your calculations there.
  • This way you don’t need to cross reference – you can just draw arrows from the answer to the calculation. This is the easiest way for the marker to see where the figures are from.
Show all your workings by giving full length explanations.

Use your highlighter!

  • If you have to do the calculation somewhere other than the right hand section of the double page, label it clearly and highlight the calculation number (e.g. C1) in both the answer and the working section.
  • Use the same colour highlighter for each question e.g. all the calculations for question 1 are in pink, all calculations for question 2 in green etc. (If you do this when you are revising, you will quickly get used to it and it won’t take a lot of time to apply the same rule in the exam.)
  • This will help the marker find the calculations quickly. (And hopefully that will make them happy. They might forgive you if something isn’t 100% clear and give you the benefit of the doubt – and a half mark. Remember that all half marks are rounded up for the final total.)
Highlight answers and your workings!

Time Management

  • Always try ALL the questions – if it says 40 minutes for the 1st question – give it a try for 40 minutes. If you’re still stumped after the allotted time, leave two pages and move onto the next question (starting on the top of a new page).
  • This way, you give yourself a chance at an answer you may actually know and you won’t spend too much time on answers you’re unsure about.
  • Unfortunately this is not something you can practise with your UNISA study group. You just have to knuckle down and put in the hours doing revision to try answer questions within a specific time.
Time management is crucial to exam success

Leave the easy questions for last

  • If you have any time left, go back to the question that you are most confident about: finish that one and then move onto the next most confident etc.
  • You may not finish the exam completely – especially if it’s an accounting module- but at least you will know that you tried each question and (hopefully) got the easy marks for each of section.
  • Going through questions with your study group or checking your thinking pattern on the student forum will make you far more confident about questions in the exam.
Leave the easy questions for last

Leave the difficult questions if you don’t understand

  • If there is something in the exam that you have never seen before, ignore it!
  • Those difficult questions are for the people that are going for 95% passes and not for people aiming at 60% or pass rate.
  • If you need the answer for that difficult part for the rest of the question (or if you have forgotten how to calculate something), take a guess at an answer and write: “sorry no time for calculation”. Then use your guessed answer for the rest of the calculations.
  • If you do that, you will lose calculation marks for that part, but will get marks for the rest of the question (if your calculations are correct and only using the one wrong answer).
  • You will also get the disclosure mark (if it is FAC3703) when you transfer your calculation to the financials.
  • If you encounter a difficult question in a past paper while you are studying, don’t just glaze over it. Check out possible answers on the student forum or contact your lecturer to ask for advice.

Keep writing!

  • Write until the very second that they say “pens down”.
  • Even if you are unsure of what you are doing (or you’re just downright guessing), it is better to hand in something you may be guessing correctly than just leave the question blank. Remember: just one more half mark = 1 mark.
Keep writing!

Condition yourself

  • Train yourself in the habit of writing down calculations properly when you’re doing assignments at home. When you’re writing out your answers, include an explanation for every calculation that you are doing, even if it is just (1 + 2)
  • If you aren’t ‘study-fit’ and do all your revision and assignments on Excel, you may end up battling with writing down all you need to in an exam situation.
  • Train yourself up by doing past paper revision within the allotted time frame and see how your fare.
Practice by taking mock exams!

Check out the Together We Pass study tips to ensure you are in top form for your UNISA exams.

Watch the video below about preparing for your UNISA exams

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