During the exam

The day of the exam has arrived! At this stage if you have followed the guidance above, you will:

  • Have a rough plan for how to approach the exam;
  • Arrive with time to spare;
  • Bring only allowed material;
  • Be well rested and feel confident because you have prepared well.

Once you are in the exam use reading time well. This is your opportunity to get an overview of the whole paper and decide which questions you will answer (if you have a choice), what order you will answer them and make adjustments to your plan if needed. During this time you can begin analysing the questions, carefully looking for key words, checking what you are being asked to do and linking back to your course content to think what you are being tested on.

Once the exam commences, use the strategies that you have planned and practised as discussed earlier in this chapter. Stick to your allocated time - it is useful to write the amount of time you have decided on next to the question. Keep track of the time at regular points throughout to exam.

Use all the time allocated. If you complete all the questions before the exam ends, take the opportunity to go back over your work and make sure that you have understood what you are being asked and that you answered accordingly. Check that you have not missed any questions or made any mistakes. Take the time to do some editing and proofreading. Look over multiple-choice questions that you struggled with. Sometimes you get hints from other questions that might jog your memory.

Dealing with stress

It is normal to feel stressed leading up to and on the day of the exam and a certain amount of stress can actually help you to focus. However for some students this stress can become anxiety that can be very counterproductive and paralysing. If you are concerned about anxiety, we recommend having a chat to a counsellor at the Counselling Centre. They have many years of experience in helping students with stress and anxiety and run regular stress and anxiety management courses throughout the semester.

There are a number of ways that you can reduce stress yourself. Most importantly you need to look after yourself by eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and having time to relax and unwind. Finding a balance between your studies and your personal life is an important skill to develop during your course. The chapter on time management has many techniques and strategies to help you achieve this.

What if I get sick or can't sit the exam?

There are special arrangements for students who experience unexpected illnesses or trauma during the exam period, however special conditions must be met. Students have access to a free Health Service if you need assistance leading up or during the exam period.

What if I have a disability that affects my ability to sit an exam?

ANU has special arrangements for students who have circumstances that might affect their ability to perform in or complete an exam. These arrangements must be prearranged through Access and Inclusion - the earlier the better as you will need to provide supporting documentation.

After the exam >>