For most of us, taking exams can be very intimidating no matter how much experience we’ve had. Now that most exams are taking place online, suddenly, there are novel sources of stress that could lower our chances to get the results that we hope for, for instance, the unfamiliarity with new software or poor internet connection which can be outside of our control.
At the beginning of this year, I didn’t even know that Zoom and Collaborate Ultra existed. Then UBC campus suddenly closed in March and I ended up taking distance exams for 7 courses and still counting. Now, I feel like a true digital master and online exams on Proctorio, Canvas and LockDown Browser are no longer that big of a deal for me. Crazy? Not really. With everything continuing to be online and with numerous resources available at UBC which some will be mentioned later in this blog, you will soon become like me or most definitely, even better.
With somewhat an abundant experience with distance exams at UBC, I am confident enough to share with you some tips that will help you succeed no matter if it will be your first or university exams. These tips can sound repetitive, but I believe you will find new, useful information from this blog post but if that’s not the case, they can serve as a quick reminder.
Plan well ahead
What I find very useful for successfully completing any important task is to look carefully through the schedules of all the commitments that I will have before, during and after the task’s deadline. Same goes with preparing for an exam. It is very important to know exactly what needs to be done in order to write an exam successfully, such as installing onto the computer. Even if there is no obligatory date for completing that task, try setting a date and treating it as if it is the actual deadline for a heavily weighted course assignment. You do not want to be in a situation where you do not have Chrome on your computer, and you realize Proctorio only works on Chrome 10 minutes before your exam. Well, you might manage to set up everything in 10 minutes, but it will cause you so much unnecessary stress right before your exam (the exam itself is stressful enough!). Anything can happen so leave yourself some extra time to tackle those unexpected tasks without delaying others.
If this will be your first time taking an exam on either Proctorio, LockDown Browser, or submitting assignments or doing quizzes on Canvas, I recommend enrolling in the Chapman Learning Commons(CLC) Practice Exam Canvas course. Here you will find the instructions to set up these testing tools and see how your real exam might look like.
Got technological issues that you couldn’t solve yourself? Visit Keep Learning to get the support you need.
Keep up with all exam updates
Your instructors are required to inform you with the must-have information to complete the course before the add/drop deadline, either by presenting this on the syllabus, course registration website, or through other forms of communication. For example, instructors who use for exams will let you know that you need to have Windows 7+ if you are a PC user before you are committed to taking the course.
It is also possible that there will be changes during the term, but your instructors will keep you updated through whatever form of communication that your class and instructor has agreed upon. So always check in with your instructor to make sure that you have a thorough understanding of how the exams are going to be.
When my flow of thoughts is interrupted, I find that it can be very time-consuming to get back on track. Most exams have time limits and it is essential to use your time wisely. One way is by ensuring that wherever you choose to do the exam is free of any possible distractions. For example, if you chose to do the exam in your bedroom, let people who are living in the same household know that you are going to need that silent time and clarify for how long. On top of that, make sure you turn off any devices or keep away anything that can potentially interrupt your flow.
Get enough sleep
I don’t think I need to explain how this tip will never-ever get old. In order to receive the outcomes that you hoped for, it is super important that you give your brain and body enough rest. Assuming that most people who are reading this post are adults, it is important for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night in order to function at your best throughout the day. (This is a quick reminder for anyone who pulls all-nighters and wonders why they did not do well on exams). You can learn more about the importance of sleep and tips for getting better sleep here.
What if your exam is during your regular sleep schedule? Learn more in my next blog post, going live on December 4th!
I acknowledge that these tips might not always work for everyone, so I encourage you to reach out to friends who had been or are in similar positions and exchange some tips and tricks that will help you both succeed in your upcoming exams. That’s all I have for you in this blog post and I appreciate you staying until the end.
Good luck on your exam! We can do this!!!
(Want more tips on preparing for exams? Check out the Chapman Learning Commons’s “Preparing for exams” toolkit here.)