It is important to brush up on your study habits well before the exams. Read our article 10 tips for exam preparation to minimise stress and maximise your results.
But what happens on the day of the exam? This guide will help you to plan every aspect of your day so that there are no nasty surprises, and give you information about what to do if you suddenly fall ill or find yourself desperate for some support.
On the day of the exam
Read through the paper first
Once you’ve found your seat in the exam venue and have taken a few calming breaths, turn your paper over and start reading through it. Don’t be tempted to rush into answering the first question. Reading the whole paper first is beneficial for two reasons:
Know your discipline
Your writing style will depend on the discipline, the question and who the lecturer is. Unless you’re asked to write in bullet points or a different style, write well-written, careful responses to longer questions or essays, with an introductory statement, some substantive statements in the middle and a concluding paragraph.
Always take into account the number of points allocated for an essay. This will give you an idea of how many facts and statements you need to include.
If you have time left at the end of the exam, read over your paper. Do not simply hand it in and run away; use this extra time wisely. Any answers you didn’t fill in before might be obvious to you now, and if your exam is in the form of an essay, editing is incredibly valuable.
Tip: If your exam is in the form of an essay or essays, always write something. Leaving a whole answer blank will definitely count against you.
After the exam, you may feel like talking about the paper you have just written and doing a verbal post-mortem. A quick chat is fine, as you need a break, but this is mostly unhelpful as you probably have more exams to write.
Take time to decompress, go for a short walk or sit quietly for 15 minutes. Then return to your quiet study space, change track mentally and get down to preparing for the next exam.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, talk to someone. Here is how to seek help:
What if you fall ill?
Here’s the following advice from Student Wellness Service:
Get your support documentation for Deferred Exam (DE) applications on medical or psychological grounds from:
Note that ongoing treatment appointments will continue to be available at all other locations as usual. Students can also request DE support from their usual doctors or specialists.
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