Could Hand Cramps Make You Fail An Exam?

Exams require you to handwrite for two to three hours at a stretch. Do you find your hands cramp up during exams? How can you write fast and legibly for that period of time without hand pain?

Here are 7 tips to avoid painful cramps so you can focus on passing the exam:

1. Handwrite a little every day

If you always type your notes at lectures, try handwriting in a lecture notepad instead. Do the first draft of an essay using pen on paper, then type up the second draft. Handwriting is a physical skill that gets better with practice.

2. Use a relaxed grip

In an exam, intense concentration might lead to gripping the pen too hard. Periodically check your grip is relaxed and loose.

3. Find a pen that’s right for you

Some people swear by gel or rollerball pens. Find a pen where the ink flows nicely. Search on the web the term ‘ergonomic pen’ and invest in one of those.

4. Size down your handwriting. Use small, tight letters; they take less time

5. Connect all your letters and avoid lifting your pen off the paper

Consider the word ‘it’.

In print style, you draw:

•the stroke of the i
•dot the i
•the stroke of the t
•cross the t

That’s four movements, lifting the pen three times.

But in cursive style, it’s:

•the body of the i and t joined              together in one movement
•then (working with the closest            letter first) the stroke of the t
•then the dot of the i

That’s eliminated one lift of the pen off the paper.

Consider how many times you write the word ‘it’ in an essay, and it makes sense to practice the fastest way to handwrite in a cursive instead of print style.

Similarly, the word ‘the’. In print style, you might lift the pen after the body of the t, then cross the t,, then ‘he’. Try writing the body of the in one pen stroke, and cross the t at the end.

6. Spend the first 10 minutes of a lecture handwriting in the clearest, steadiest handwriting you can do

Only speed up when you have to, to keep up with the flow of ideas from the lecturer.

7. During an exam, start by stretching your fingers and rotating your wrist. Do this periodically during the test to keep your hands limber.

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