First year at the University is an exciting time! You get to experience all the new places and people, new opportunities and challenges. However, probably the most stressful of all are the exams. Not only by definition this is something that keeps some of us awake at night, but as fresher you sometimes just don’t know what to expect. We are in the middle of semester which means the exam period is approaching us faster than we would like. As a second-year student, I think I gathered enough experience to be able to give you advice on how to survive exams in your first year at uni!
1. Find out what the exam will look like
Personally I was quite surprised when I realised how many different types of exams are held in my uni. What is more, for some of my courses I didn’t even have any exams, just essays, which blew my mind! So that is definitely my first tip – find out what you will need to do for the end of your course. It’s good to look that up long before, while you are still attending the classes, to know exactly what to pay attention to and what to take notes for!
2. Check how much is it worth
Exams are usually worth a lot and your final grade will mostly rely on them. However, some are only 50%, some 80%. If you know you sometimes perform badly under stress it’s good to know how much effort to put into other work on a daily basis to boost your grade a bit. Ideally you should do everything to the best of your ability, but we all know that it might not be always possible.
3. Make sure you know what topics will be covered
Probably the most heart-breaking thing to realise is that the topic you studied so much about won’t actually appear on your final exam. This is why it’s so important to read the course guide closely to make sure this doesn’t happen. If during the year some lectures were cancelled remember to email your professor before sitting down to study.
4. Find the way of preparing for the exam that suits you the most
There are many different ways to study effectively, you just need to make find the one that suits you the most. It might be tricky, for example if you never had to prepare for an exam in an essay form. Experiment a little.
5. Look at last year’s papers
This is probably one of the best tips that I can give you. You will never know what to really expect until you fully see the exam. All the papers should be available to students, either online or in the library. Ask your professors if you can’t find them. Then if you think you are done studying just look at the exam from last year and see if you can complete it. You can also always use it as your study guide.
6. Don’t leave everything till the last night
Everyone will tell you this, but this is truly important. Especially if you haven’t at least checked how the exam will look like and you don’t know what to expect. That will cause you a lot of stress that could have been easily avoided.
7. Make sure you know where the exam is held
The best day to check it is a few days before the actual exam. If it’s a building you know exactly, its fine! However, you could end up having it in a totally unfamiliar part of the campus. It’s good to have a friend who knows where you are going, you can always go there the day before the exam. Not only will this calm your nerves a bit, but you will also know exactly how much time it will take you to get there!
8. Don’t stress too much
Your professors want you all o pass (at least in most cases) and when you are a first year and they know it’s your first exam most of them will look at your paper a bit more sympathetically. So don’t worry, cause you will do great! And if not, there is always the resit. This is one of the best tips to survive exams!