Read the question carefully. Be sure to distinguish between the relevant information and the extraneous information.
Underline or highlight the key points in the question. This is particularly important for essay questions that ask you to address several points.
2. Plan out your answer before you start writing
Example 1 -- A long question with a short answer.
Example 2 -- A short question with a long answer.
This may seem like a waste of your time. However, it is a greater waste of time to write unnecessary information or to erase and re-write.
Jotting down a quick outline will remind you of the key points that you want to make.
Making a quick diagram can also help you focus your thoughts.