A strategic approach to essay/open-end tests
To discuss this point it is necesarry to discuss the approach to essay/open-end tests in general. If there are many open-end questions, apply the round-system as described for the multiple-choice test
If not, familiarize yourself with all the questions by reading them through. Make brief notes on everything that comes to mind.
Often you will be credited with the same number of points for each question, so start with the easy ones.
Don't start writing down the final answer immediately. Get your bearings, collect your thoughts. Read the question carefuly and ask yourself what the examiners exactly want to know. Construct your answer on the basis of this working-material. Build up an argument.
If you do not know something, strong suppositions and scraps of knowledge/reasoning may yield points; obvious nonsense irritates.
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