Advice on exam technique based on experience and examiners reports.
Most exam papers are marked using a coded system. The method described here is common and makes use of M, A and B marks. In general examiners will not penalise any candidate unduly for any one specific error; however if you use the wrong method to solve a problem you are likely to lose most, if not all, of the available marks.
You will need a calculator (apart from any papers or modules where no calculating aids are permitted) and make sure you know all the formulae not given in the formula book
How examiners mark papers
 Marks are awarded in the first place for knowing a correct method of solution and attempting to apply it (M marks).
 In general no accuracy marks (A marks) can be obtained until a valid method has been established. Accuracy marks may be given for the correct answer only (c.a.o.) or for answers correctly followed through from an incorrect previous answer.
 Method marks cannot be lost for arithmetic errors. Sometimes, e.g. in curve sketching, marks are awarded independently of method marks; these are called B marks.
 Care is taken in marking schemes to see that a slip does not attract an excessive penalty. Nevertheless, high grades cannot be achieved on method marks alone and accuracy is essential for the award of higher grades.
 Orderly and logical presentation is of considerable advantage to candidates in making the best use of their time. However, long methods are not directly penalised as candidates using methods have already penalised themselves by using up the time that could have been more profitably spent on other questions.

General advice
 Manage your time. Time to complete the paper seems to be the single most important issue
 Examiners advise that you should write down any appropriate formula before attempting to use it as this provides evidence of correct method
 Start each question on a fresh page, writing each step on a new line.
 Show your methods clearly. Remember that 'answers without working may gain no credit'.
 "Trial and error" is rarely the right method, meaning that you will not get method marks
 Make sure you give answers to the required accuracy, but avoid rounding anything off until you get to the final answer
 When you've finished a question, read it again quickly to check you've done the right thing
 Understand "examiner's speak"  see the table below
 You'll need to get at least 30 marks roughly on any paper to pass it
 Many candidates find that they are unable to start some questions at all and so score zero for it  see the table below

Examiner's speak
 write down, state
You'll get the mark even if you show no working or method
 calculate, find, determine, show, solve, deduce, prove
you must provide sufficient working to earn the method marks
 exact value
your answer may involve fractions, surds, pi or some other mathematical constant; do not approximate and do not use decimals
 draw
accuracy is required; use graph paper
 sketch
a sketch does not require plotting, but key aspects should be shown carefully

How to avoid getting zero marks
 Look for a word or phrase in the question that suggests a standard formula  quote that formula. Then try to use it.
 If the question is of the form:
"Given A, B and C, show D" don't think about how to get D, instead think about A, B and C and apply rule 1
 Draw some kind of diagram or sketch  even if this is not asked for
 If the question is in parts and you can't do part (a), then look at part (b)  can you do that?
 Look through the whole question for any single part you can do  and do it.
 Don't cross anything out  unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE it is wrong
 If the question says "state the..."or "write down the...", make a guess
 If totally stuck, leave it and come back later
