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Writing Exercise: The Decisive Examination

Updated: 5 days ago

Student with laptop

Introduction to the exercise and its purpose:

This exercise aims to refine the “Show, Don't Tell” technique by describing moments of high tension without explicitly revealing the character's thoughts or emotions. The goal is to show how stress and pressure can be expressed visually, making the scene more engaging and palpable.


Julia is in the exam room, sitting in front of her final exam, which will determine her graduation. The room is filled with other students, each absorbed in their own test.


Recount the moments when Julia is facing her exam, focusing on her behaviors, her physical reactions to the test in front of her, and her nonverbal interactions with her pen, paper, and clock in the classroom.

Tips and development of the exercise:

Begin with a detailed description of the classroom environment, such as the ticking of the clock or the rustling of papers being handled by other students. Illustrate how Julia begins to break into a cold sweat, a detail that may not be immediately apparent to the observer. Show how she compulsively picks up her pen several times, a physical manifestation of her anxiety. You might also describe how her gaze wanders nervously from the clock to the window, reflecting her desire to escape the situation. Close with Julia taking a deep breath and settling back in her chair, a sign of recollection and determination to complete the exam.


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