I've finally finished marking my A semester exams :-) Which has spurred me to (yet again!) write about How To Do It Properly...
Although I've said it before - read the question! Carefully. Taking an example from those I've spent my nights on: if the question asks for a discussion of the range of osmoregulatory mechanisms in animals, don't spend all your time talking about the mammalian kidney. In other words, think critically about both the question and the information you'll use to answer it, and include only what's relevant.
Oh, yes, & don't write the question out again - that just takes up valuable time.
Ensure that your answer is clear & unambiguous. The person marking it will not spend time trying to work out what you intended to say.
And do please remember to ensure that your writing is legible. This is about size as well as overall clarity: script that's 1mm high really is almost impossible to read (especially late at night when my eyes are tired!). And can thus be just as hard to interpret as a large scrawling style. (I still remember giving someone 0 for a 3rd-year paper, back when I was at Massey, because I simply could not read a word he'd written. Nor could anyone else. Not good.)
And - writing that's 100% capitals (LIKE THIS) is also rather difficult to read, especially when written in a hurry :-)
In other words, students who gained pass marks in those papers I've just finished slaving over, would have: focused on the question, used relevant material in their response, structured that response so that the flow of their thoughts were clear, showed a good command of the relevant concepts and processes, expressed their answers unambiguously - & done all of that in a clear & legible manner.
(Now I can start to think about the conference I'm off to on Saturday!)