After the previous day's review, all of the students should know what to expect for today. As students enter the classroom, they will see instructions on the whiteboard telling them to take out a sheet of graph paper for scratch work, a calculator, and, of course, a pencil and eraser. Once everyone is present and ready, I'll hand out the Quarter 1 Exam and wish them all "Good luck!"
During the exam, I make a point of wandering the classroom to discourage cheating (I hate to think my own students would cheat, but I'd rather not encourage them by looking the othe way). I also am on the lookout for any students who have clearly misunderstood one of the questions and are simply wasting their time. In those case, I'll quietly ask the student to carefully re-read the question before going any further. Unfortunately, I don't think it would be fair to give them any more specific guidance than that, so if they don't see what they're doing wrong, I'll have to just let them go. If many students appear to misunderstanding a question - not just doing incorrectly, but failing to understand what's being asked of them - and it seems to me that the question might be poorly phrased, I will call for everyone's attention and quickly explain the question for everyone.
Please refer to my lesson Complex Numbers Test and see the section called "Scoring the Test" for details on my methods of grading tests. In that lesson, you will also find a sample scoring guide for the test showing how I assign points for partial credit on various problems.
One of the purposes of this cumulative test is to give each student a clear indication of where they stand with regard to the course overall. They can ask themselves, "If this were the final exam at the end of the year, would I have passed the class?" Based on this test, they should be able to answer that question clearly.