The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pen for Exams

Did you know that the type of pen you use can significantly impact your exam performance?

In this guide, we’ll help you find the perfect pen for your upcoming exams by discussing various types of pens and the features you should consider when selecting one.

Say goodbye to smudges, discomfort, and ink shortages. Let’s dive in.

We understand the hard work you’ve put into preparing for your exams – the late nights studying, missed social opportunities, and the stress that comes with it all.

That’s why the last thing you need is for anything to go wrong on exam day, including issues with your stationery.

Have you ever wondered which color ink you can use on an exam or if it matters what type of pen you use?

Our guide will provide you with the answers to these questions and more, ensuring you are fully prepared for your exams. We’ll even give you our top 10 recommendations for the best exam pens.

1. Types of Exam Pens

There are three main types of pens to consider for exams: ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pens. Each comes with its pros and cons and suitability for exams:

  1. Ballpoint Pens
  • Pros: Smooth ink flow, less smudging, and longer-lasting ink
  • Cons: May require more pressure to write, can leave occasional ink blobs
  • Suitability: Great for exams due to their reliability and minimal smudging
  1. Rollerball Pens
  • Pros: Produce darker lines, require less pressure to write
  • Cons: More prone to smudging, ink runs out faster
  • Suitability: Suitable for exams if you can avoid smudging and have a backup pen
  1. Fountain Pens
  • Pros: Elegant writing experience, less pressure needed for writing
  • Cons: Higher learning curve, more expensive, ink may smudge or bleed through paper
  • Suitability: Not ideal for exams due to potential smudging and higher maintenance

2. Features to Consider When Choosing an Exam Pen

When choosing an exam pen, consider the following features:

  1. Ink Color Requirements:  Be sure to follow your exam’s guidelines on ink color (usually black or blue).
  2. Pen Tip Size and Shape: Choose a tip size (fine, medium, or broad) that suits your writing style and produces clear legible text.
  3. Grip Type and Comfort: Look for a pen with a comfortable grip to avoid hand fatigue during lengthy exams.
  4. Durability and Longevity: Opt for a durable pen with a generous ink supply to ensure it lasts through your entire exam.

3. What are the Best Pens For Exams

After all your hard work, you don’t want to ruin your exam papers with smearing, blotching, and spraying as you write.

On this day of all days, you need a reliable, good-quality pen that won’t let you down. And finally, it needs to be comfortable.

You’ll be in that high-pressure environment for a few hours, so an ergonomic pen is a real consideration.

The good news is that all you need from an exam pen is perfectly within your reach.

We recommend good quality ballpoint pens, preferably with a tip size of 0.7mm or 1.0mm.

Check out our guide, The Benefits of Using Ballpoint Pens in Exams, for more information.

If you’ve been put off by cheap multipacks of ballpoint pens from the corner shop, we hope we can change your mind by showing you the difference a crafted ballpoint makes – and the price isn’t half as high as you think.

4. Top-Rated Brands for Exam Pens

Some top brands for exam pens include:

  1. Pilot: Known for their smooth-writing and reliable pens, perfect for exam settings
  2. Paper Mate: Offers comfortable and affordable pens with various tip sizes
  3. Uni-ball: Provides pens with consistent ink flow and minimal smudging
  4. Stabilo: Features ergonomic designs and long-lasting ink supplies
  5. Parker: Delivers high-quality, elegant pens that write effortlessly

5. Ergonomic Pens for Exams

Ergonomic pens are an absolute game-changer for students tackling exams, as they help eliminate the discomfort and tiredness of writing for hours.

These pens are all about giving you a comfy grip, taking the strain off your hand, and making sure the ink flows smoothly, so you can stay focused on what matters – acing that exam!

By opting for an ergonomic pen, you’re setting yourself up for a better writing experience and maybe even a better exam result.

 Regarding top-notch ergonomic pens for exams, you’ve got the Pilot Dr. Grip Center of Gravity with its perfectly balanced design; the Uni-Ball Jetstream, famous for its silky-smooth ink flow; and the Lamy Safari, rocking a contoured grip and lightweight build for those marathon writing sessions.

Using ergonomic pens during exams can reduce hand fatigue and improve comfort. For more inspiration, please review our Ergonomic Pens and Pencils Guide.

6. The 10 Best Exam Pens

1. Fisher Cap-o-matic Space Pen

Fisher Cap O Matic Military Black

The Fisher Space Pen gets its name because it was used in the space program from 1968, thanks to its pressurized refill, designed for zero gravity.

The Cap-o-Matic range gets its name because you push the metal end down to expose and retract the ballpoint nib.

You might not need zero-G capabilities, but down here on earth, the pressure keeps the flow of ink smooth and consistent.

Meaning that it won’t let you down during your exam.  It’ll even write on greasy paper.

Available in a range of barrel colors, there’s one available that’ll be perfect for you – and you can have it engraved if it’s a special gift.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Uni-Ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen

Uni SN 220 Powertank Black

At the budget end of the spectrum, consider the Uni-Ball Power Tank.

Again, it’s pressurized for optimum flow, but it’s a disposable version. We think it’s probably the best ballpoint in the price range.

It is definitely one we recommend taking along with you, even if it’s a backup in case your main pen lets you down in the exam.

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3. Pilot Acroball Ballpoint Pen

Pilot Acroball BP M Black

We also love the Pilot Acroball. This budget pen will give you great handwriting, partly thanks to its ergonomic grip suitable for left-handed and right-handed people.

Available in fine (0.7mm) and medium (1.0mm) nibs, they’re great for popping your exam bag.

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4. Stabilo Exam Grade Ballpoint Pen

Stabilo Exam Grade BP Black

For the ultimate reassurance, try the Stabilo Exam Grade Ballpoint Pen.

It is a fantastic 0.4mm writer, ideal for lengthy stints at the exam table – it also has a handy gauge on the side that will show you how many pages worth of ink you have left. Genius!

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5. Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen:

Parker Jotter BP PM BD ST BK GT OHV

You already know the name, and if you’ve ever written with a Parker, you’ll also know it’s a great quality writing instrument.

So do we need to go into details about the smooth, clean writing experience when you click to open the Parker Jotter ballpoint pen?

Probably not, but just know that this one comes with a choice of tip sizes and is completely refillable – you know the rest.

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6. Pilot RexGrip Ballpoint Pen

Pilot Rexgrip BP M Black

Ergonomics is supremely important when sitting in an exam for several hours and then repeating the process perhaps ten times over a few weeks.

With the retractable Pilot Rexgrip, you’re in safe hands – it’s designed with an integrated grip that means you can hold the pen relatively lightly and won’t slip when writing.

It’s made from more than 77% recycled material, and the barrel is reusable thanks to the availability of refills.

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7. Pilot Super Grip G Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Pilot Super Grip G RT Black

One of the most popular retractable pens on the market, the Super Grip G has a great rubberized grip section that makes it a joy to hold over long periods.

Its smooth and fast-drying ink makes it perfect for the stationery bag during exam season.

It gives a satisfyingly fine line, and best of all, you can get refills that prolong the lifetime of the pen.

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8. Paper Mate Inkjoy 100M Ballpoint Pen

Papermate Inkjoy 100M Capped Black

Decent ball-point pens don’t come much cheaper than the 1.0mm Paper Mate Inkjoy.

There are no bells or whistles; just pop off the cap and get writing. Perfect for everyday use and a nice smooth writer, making a great backup pen for your exam.

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9. Paper Mate FlexGrip Ultra Retractable Ballpoint Pen

PM FlexgripUltra BP Fine 08mm Black

If a pen was ever designed to look the part, this is it. Paper Mate is a master of combining the three basic needs of a pen – comfort, line quality, and durability – and putting it all in a smart package that comes straight from the designer’s studio.

Chrome effect finishes on the tip encasement, architectural build, and handy retractor button finish the look of the Papermate FlexGrip, a pen you’ll be proud to pop open.

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10. Parker IM Ballpoint Pen

IM BP Black Chrome Trim

If you want to push the boat out a little or buy a pen as a good luck gift for the student in your life, how about the exquisite Parker IM range of ballpoint pens.

Yes, they cost more than disposable ones, but here you have a pen for life that will be refilled and refilled again, forever reminding the user of the time they first wrote with it.

Many of them are laser engravable, too, for ultimate personalization. Carefully look through the collection – there’s the perfect Parker pen.

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Frequently Asked Questions

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which Color Pen is Best for Exams?

A: The first thing that you must remember is that black ink is mandatory in secondary school level exams (GCSEs and similar), so don’t fall at the first hurdle and show up with your favorite green ink, blue or rainbow-colored pens – the examiners won’t be impressed with your color coordination, and you’ll be putting your qualification at risk. Q: Are there specific pens I should use for essay exams?

A: Regarding essay exams, you want a pen that is comfortable to hold and produces a consistent line.

Consider using a pen with a larger grip and a smooth flow of ink to make writing more comfortable for extended periods. A pen with a fine tip may also help you write neatly and legibly.

Q: What about pens for standardized tests?

A: Standardized tests often have specific requirements for the type of pen you can use.

Check with the testing organization to see if there are any rules or recommendations regarding pens.

For example, a ballpoint pen with black or blue ink is a safe choice for most standardized tests.

Q: What is the best pen for writing quickly on an exam?

A: When taking an exam, you want a pen that can keep up with your thoughts and writing speed.

A ballpoint pen with smooth link flows is often a good choice for quick writing. Gel pens can also be a good option for quick and smooth writing.

For more information, please review our Best Pens For Fast Handwriting guide.

Q: Are there any pens I should avoid for exams?

A: It’s best to avoid using pens with ink that smudges easily or takes a long time to dry.

It can make your writing messy and challenging to read, which can be problematic when taking exams.

Avoid using fountain pens or pens that leak or bleed through the paper.

It’s also worth pointing out that gel pens are not allowed in exams in the UK because many gel pens are unreadable by the scanners used by the invigilators, and being scanned is an essential part of the marking process.

Q: Can I use a pencil for exams instead of a pen?

A: It depends on the requirements of the exam. For example, some exams may allow using pencils, while others require pens.

Check with the institution or organization administering the exam to see if pencils are allowed.

Q: How do I choose the right exam pen for me?

A: When choosing the right pen for your exams, you must consider your preferences and the exam requirements.

Consider factors like ink color, pen tip size and shape, grip type and comfort, durability, and longevity.

The best way to find the perfect pen is to try out a few different options and see which one feels the most comfortable and natural for you to use.

It’s easy to assume that all pens are the same, but our guide has shown you the many options available.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference, and once you find a pen you like, you may use it for years to come.

So why not try a few options and find the perfect one for your writing style, hand angle, and pressure?

8. Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right pen for exams can significantly affect your writing experience and overall performance.

This decision becomes even more critical for left-handed writers, as they often face unique challenges such as smudging and discomfort.

Remember to consider the type of pen, its features, and the top-rated brands to find the perfect pen for your needs.

To help you search, don’t miss our comprehensive guide, “Top-Exam Pens for Left-Handed Students | Ultimate Guide.”

Although one day you may not need a pen as exams become more digital, this is discussed in Handwritten vs. Digital Exams: Revisiting the Debate in 2023.

Good luck with your exams, and may your pen glide effortlessly across the page!

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Peter Warrior: Pen & Pencil Expert

With nearly a decade of experience in the pen industry, I successfully ran an online pen business for 9 years. My deep-rooted passion for pens and pencils led me to become a part-time blogger, where I've dedicated myself to sharing the wealth of knowledge I've amassed over the years. I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word, as echoed by Malcolm Forbes: "Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." My expertise is not just rooted in business, but in the genuine appreciation and understanding of the art of writing instruments.

4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pen for Exams”

  1. i have already tried all the pens….. all the pens are just amazing especially ‘Uni–Ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen’….i strongly suggest other students to buy this…but the problem is that these pens are not available so easily at every store……these are very rare….only available in big and established stores……try to buy it…..

    all the best

  2. Everyone chooses a lot of different pens for the parameters that are important for this person in this situation and will be able to solve all the tasks.


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