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Tips for final exams

December 2, 2015 — 

Final exams are right around the corner. Put your best foot forward with exam policy, prep and study tips from the experts.


  • Review your exam schedule. Use the My Exams link in Aurora to view your personal exam schedule, or visit Final Examinations. 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 your exams have been fulfilled – so don’t book your holiday break plans until after the exam period or your last exam is scheduled. Exam conflicts, if any, should be reported as soon as possible to the Registrar’s Office.


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 that 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.
  • 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.
  • Take a load off: Do you get nervous, anxious, and go blank during an exam, no matter how much you prepare? You’re not alone! Many people have exam anxiety. If you have been formally assessed with exam anxiety, Student Accessibility Services can provide accommodations for you, such as a private exam space or extra time. If you haven’t been assessed, SAS can also give you the information you need to receive testing and assessment, or instruct you on steps to take if you have done poorly on exams in the past due to exam anxiety.


Sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Use these pointers to help organize your study time to be the most productive you can. 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.
  • Take care of yourself: sleep and eat and exercise!
  • Mix it up: Study in different places and it doesn’t hurt to alternate your topics when you study. Shifting gears will sometimes aid learning (although it doesn’t feel like it initially).

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