Mr. Damon's guide to preparing for and taking the compositions groupées:


During the Exam

Taking the exam:

  • Once you have taken all the materials you need out of your bag, you have received your exam paper, put your name on it, read over it quickly and planned your time (as explained on the previous page), you are ready to start!
  • Pick up your pen and jump ahead to all the questions that you know the answers to right away - the ones you find easy and the ones you can answer quickly. If you hesitate on a question, skip ahead to find another one you can answer quickly. Then when all the easy questions are answered, go back and try to answer the ones you hesitated on.
  • If you are answering on a separate sheet, be sure to mark the number of the question clearly on your answer sheet.
  • Read the questions carefully.  Only answer what the question is asking for.  Do not waste your time writing superfluous information.
  • Make sure you answer all the parts of all the questions.  Some questions will have several sub-questions in them.
  • Be sure to write your text in ink but any drawing, tables or graphs must be done in pencil.

Behavior during the exam:

  • No talking. You may not ask any questions, you may not talk to your classmates or to the teacher at any time once the exam begins.  Do not even ask what time it is (that's why you are supposed to bring a watch!)  There is no communication of any kind during the exam. The only things you can raise your hand for are 1) to ask for more paper or 2) to go to the toilet (but this is only granted exceptionally).
  • No passing papers, pencils, erasers, calculators or anything between students.  You must come prepared.  If you forgot something, you may not have people passing things to you during the exam.  The only time you may borrow something is before the exam begins.  Whatever you borrowed, give it back only at the end when you are being dismissed.
  • Keep your eyes on your own paper.  Even if you are not cheating but simply "checking" what your neighbor is doing, your paper can be confiscated.  If there is reason to believe that you were getting answers from your neighbor, the maximum sanction is a zero for the exam and an avertissement for cheating.

Q:  Who is at fault in this picture?
A:  Both students are doing something wrong:  he's looking at
her paper and she's not hiding her answers.  

Completing and handing in the exam:

  • When you are done, proof read your exam.  Take the time to read over what you have written.  Try to imagine that you are the teacher reading it.  Is it easy to read?  Do the sentences and paragraphs make sense?  Are all the questions answered completely?  If you planned your time correctly, you should have time to do this at the end.  It should not take any more than 5 or 7 minutes.
  • Before you hand in your paper, make sure your name is on it.  If there are several pages, number them and put your name on all of them just in case they get separated.
  • Good students walk a way with a pretty good impression of how they did.  You should know your limits, your strong points and the things you need to work on.  When you get the grade back, it should not be a big surprise.


This student did not know
his strengths and weaknesses.


To summarize: come prepared (mentally, physically and material-wise), plan your time, take good care of your body and your brain, express yourself clearly, work independently, proof read your work and, in general, do the best you can!  Good luck!  If you put your mind to it, you can do it!



A.W. Damon 2011

clipart image 2003 Micro Application. 
All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Last modification: 2011-03-01