Tips for final exams
With final exams fast approaching, now is the time to start getting ready. Plan your study time, take care of yourself and put your best foot forward with exam policy, prep and study tips from the experts.
GET YOUR SCHEDULE
- Review your exam schedule. Schedules are now available by visiting Exam Schedules. If you are a student on the Bannatyne campus, visit your college office for your exam schedule. Don’t forget that you have to remain available until all of your exams have been fulfilled so don’t book holiday plans until you know what your exams will be complete. If travel booked before the adjustment of the academic schedule and extension of the Winter Term exam period conflicts with your exam schedule you may seek an alternative writing time at the faculty’s discretion and with appropriate documentation. Be sure to speak with your course instructor(s) and an academic advisor in your faculty, college or school as soon as possible. You may also seek an alternative exam writing time if you are scheduled to have three exams in four consecutive exam periods. Exam conflicts, if any, should be reported as soon as possible to the Registrar’s Office.
CALM YOUR NERVES
When it comes to exam period, remember that what you do both inside and outside of the exam room counts. Many students feel stressed around exam time so think about what you can do to address your worries before they spiral out of control. Here are some steps to take:
- Educate yourself on University of Manitoba exam policies: Keep in mind that anything you do before or during an exam, which gives you or another student an advantage (besides studying!) makes the conditions unfair for everyone else. Review the policies here.
- Know what counts: Did you know that cheating on exams and tests makes up 20 per cent of all academic misconduct cases at the University of Manitoba? Exam cheating is “…the purposeful circumventing of fair testing procedures. Such acts may be premeditated/planned or may be unintentional or opportunistic.” Examples of cheating include letting another student look at your exam, helping a friend on an exam, using a cell phone during an exam, or continuing to write an exam once the time has elapsed. Visit the Academic Integrity website to learn more.
- Be proactive: Exam period is stressful, especially if you are struggling in a course. The best way to avoid potential issues is to get help before they become a big problem. Your first step should be to visit your professor or teaching assistant during their office hours (these hours are specifically set aside to help students like you). You can also get one-on-one help through the Academic Learning Centre. See some study tips from Academic Learning Centre staff below.
- Get support: Do you get nervous, anxious and worry before exams? You’re not alone. Many people experience exam anxiety no matter how hard they study and prepare. Take care of yourself in this situation. Make time to connect with family and friends. Let them in on how it feels to study for exams and the amount of work you’re doing. If talking to someone else would be helpful, the Student Counseling Centre has several drop-in workshops on mindfulness and managing negative emotions and stress. You can also drop by the SCC to arrange a one on one appointment with a counsellor. Most important, don’t beat yourself up or be too hard on yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
- Take care of yourself: Sleep and eat and exercise. A short walk is often all you need to feel recharged. Eat as balanced as you can and get the rest you need.
HIT THE BOOKS
Sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Use these pointers to help organize your study time so you can be as productive as possible. For more tips on how to prep for exams, check out the Academic Learning Centre’s handout section online (see Tests/Exams and Learning & Memory).
- Organize essential test materials such as readings, notes taken in class, assignment questions, practice questions and homework.
- Create a plan and pay close attention to areas that you don’t know or don’t understand, but keep in mind it’s important to also review material you know.
- Take breaks: regular, short, breaks are best.
- Test yourself daily. Use the chapter quizzes, flash cards or create test questions for yourself. Just reading over your notes does not help you learn. Re-copying, unless you are reorganizing and chunking information is a waste of time.
- Create a “cheat” sheet that summarizes all the essential information for that course. Then use that sheet for review. This will remind you of information you need to know but also requires you to test yourself on concepts, formula, definitions, etc.
- Don’t just memorize: Memorization is important, but that combined with understanding will ensure that you will retain that material.
- Mix it up: Study in different places for a change of pace and scenery. It also doesn’t hurt to alternate your topics when you study. Shifting gears will sometimes aid learning (although it doesn’t feel like it initially).
And when all of your prep is complete, make sure you pack your ID. Students must present photo identification at all exams. Bring your student ID card (preferred) or another piece of photo identification with you and place it on top of your table before starting your exam.