Preparing for Exams

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Top Tips

Check out our resources on notetaking and time management. If you listen in lectures, take good notes and manage your time, you will set yourself up for exam success!

Consider what is expected of you. Are exam questions going to be pulled from lecture material, assignments, readings or all of the above? Is the exam cumulative (does it cover everything since the first class)? If you’re unsure, ask your professor.

Consider what type of exam you are preparing for. The answer will impact how you study. Talk with your professor to find out the type of questions that will be on the exam (multiple choice, short answer, essay, etc.). Prepare accordingly.

Old exams are great practice before the real thing. Looking for old exams? Check here for math,
science and law resources. Never assume that old exams will follow the same material or ask the same type of questions.

Practice answering exam questions in advance. You can make your own questions from your notes and assignments. This will help you recall material, build connections and identify important course themes.

Download the Top Tips Cheat Sheet pdf icon


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Enhance Your Wellness

It’s easier for your mind to focus on studying and preparing for exams when you take care of your mental and physical health. Here are a few tips for better health, better focus, and better grades:

  1. Try a mini-meditation to reduce stress and improve focus. Breathe in deeply, count to five, and exhale slowly. Watch your lower abdomen expand and deflate. Repeat five times. Learn more about how to proactively manage stress.
  2. Know when to stop Although some students may stay up until 4 a.m. studying, it’s not a healthy habit. Your mind is more efficient when you get enough quality sleep, so make sure to schedule enough time for rest.
  3. Don’t try to be perfect. Help get the better of anxiety by not trying to be perfect. Remember, your best is something to be proud of.
  4. Reach out for help. If you feel you need assistance with your mental or physical health, talk to a counsellor or visit a doctor.

Enhance Your Resources

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One response to “Preparing for Exams”

  1. Paul Quirk

    Telling students “don’t cram” is irresponsible. If it’s the night before an exam and you haven’t studied much, you have to cram.

    This should say, “study early so you won’t have to cram.”

    Paul Quirk
    Professor of Political Science

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