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Tips for online final exams

April 17, 2020 — 

Note: If you experience any technical difficulties during your exam and require IMMEDIATE SUPPORT, please call 204-474-8600 or toll free (North America) 1-844-626-1756. UM Learn experts will be available to provide immediate service and a quick resolution to your inquiry. Listen for the “online exam support option” and follow the prompts to report your issue. DO NOT send e-mails to get assistance – the response time will be slow, while staff are resourcing the telephone lines. For more resources and tips on preparing for the technical side of online exams, please visit the final exam supports page.


Final exams are taking place now so it is important that you continue to prepare. Create a study schedule, take care of yourself and put your best foot forward. When it comes to exams, remember UM is here to with resources, supports and tips to help you navigate online exams.


Review your revised exam schedule. The Winter Term final exam schedule has been revised, no in-person final exams will be held in the April 2020 final exam period. You can search for a final exam by course abbreviation here. Please refer to your instructor for the most current final exam information for your course.


As we navigate the many changes in our lives arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, exams are still a stressful time. Managing stress is all about finding balance. UM has many resources to support your success and has put together a number of student supports to help reduce stress and take a break for some self-care. Here are some steps to take:

  • Take care of yourself. Eat balanced meals, get the rest you need, and take advantage of UM Recreations Services at home workout videos.
  • Get support. Do you get nervous, anxious and worry before exams? You’re not alone. The Student Counselling Centre is providing individual counselling services via telephone an are asked to call and arrange an appointment with a counsellor.
  • Connect with your Accessibility Coordinator. Student Accessibility Services may be able to assist you with exam accommodations. Reach out to Accessibility Coordinators via phone as early as you can, they are able to assist with changes due to online or distance test formats.
  • Be proactive. Your first step should be to email your professor or teaching assistant during their office hours. You can also get online help and other learning supports through the Academic Learning Centre.


Sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Don’t panic, stay calm and use these pointers to help organize your study time so you can be as productive as possible.

  • Organize essential test materials such as readings, notes taken in class, assignment questions, practice questions and homework.
  • Create a study schedule 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.
  • Don’t cram. Cramming overtaxes your memory and you will end up remembering less, or even get confused about the material.
  • 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 is a waste of time. Re-organize and chunk information for best results.
  • Don’t just memorize. Understanding will ensure that you retain that material.


  • Leading up to your exam check out these IST resources, supports and tips to help you navigate online exam tools.


First online exam? Don’t worry, online exams are very similar to in-class exams, be mindful of the following tips.

  • Show up for the exam. It seems obvious but online exams are easier to miss than you may think. Convenience can give way to complacency, which is a close relative of forgetfulness.
  • Read the instructions. Be sure to read and carefully consider the question, the format may vary depending on the exam. Communicate with your instructor to know what to expect for the exam. Keep in mind some online exams may not allow you to return to previously answered questions.
  • Be aware of time limits. Consider the total amount of time you have to complete your exam. How many questions in total is your exam? Based on the question types, don’t get stuck on a single question.
  • Be prepared. Prepare for this exam as you would a regular exam, if you approach this as an open-book exam you will have less time per question. You could waste value time trying to find answers that may not be in the book.
  • Don’t forget to submit. Most online exams aren’t done until you click “Submit” at the end. Wait until your exam submission is confirmed – then you’re done!
  • Don’t try collaborative cheating. Not just for ethical reasons, we mention this because you’ll probably be caught. Online testing software makes it easy to test each student for the same information while providing every student with a uniquely sequenced exam. Visit the Academic Integrity website to learn more.


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