Each exam day will be different, depending, among other things, on the time the exam is scheduled to be held. Make sure you get up early enough to do all the things that need to get done before the test without becoming hectic.
Before the exam
- Gather together everything you will need and are allowed to take into the exam with you, e.g. your student ID, ballpoint pens, scrap paper for notes, a calculator, the formula sheet, or a dictionary.
- Double check the location (room no.) and time of the exam.
- Be at the exam location on time, and plan enough extra time in case of unexpected delays. Remember, though: Having to wait for too long can make you nervous, too.
- Avoid fellow students who are hectic or who want to talk about the contents of the test. It is usually not helpful to go over your notes any more at this stage.
During the exam
- Read the questions through carefully. How much time do you think you’ll need for each question? Which ones can you answer easily? Make a rough schedule of the time you’ll need.
- Ready, set, go: Make sure you’ve understood the questions correctly, and read them through a second time if necessary. Answer the questions you feel confident about knowing first. This will give you confidence and an initial feeling of accomplishment.
Open questions: Structure your answer carefully. This helps you keep an overview of what you have covered and allows the examiner to recognize at a glance if you have answered the entire question. By taking the sample exams and doing the exercises online, you can get a feel for what the course instructor expects of you – short, concise answers or more comprehensive texts.
Multiple choice: Inform yourself in advance about the kind of questions that will be on the test: single choice (only one of the options provided is correct) or multiple choice (one or more of the options provided can be correct/wrong).
- Don’t let it irritate you if other students hand in their test before the end of the period.
- Keep an eye on the time and make sure you are still more or less on schedule. During some exams, the remaining time is announced on a regular basis.
- If you have time left over, review your answers briefly and check to make sure your multiple-choice answers are filled in correctly on the answer sheet. Please note that the answer sheet must be filled in during the exam period and that no extra time will be allowed.
After the exam
It makes sense to review exams you have passed and are satisfied with. Ask yourself, for example:
- What did I do particularly well on this exam?
- Which factors contributed to my success on this exam?
- What do I want to “take home” from this experience?
- What do I want to change, what could I have done differently?
In the event of a failing or unsatisfactory grade, a more in-depth analysis can be helpful to find out what you did wrong and how you can better prepare for your next exams. Ask yourself the following questions, for example:
- Why wasn’t I able to apply what I learned?
- Did I focus on the wrong topics?
- Did I wait too long to start preparing, was my studying too superficial?
- What can I learn from this experience for other exams?
It’s important to get your confidence back and not lose courage. Don’t wait too long to find out when you can repeat the exam (LVP-type courses) or sign up to repeat a lab-type course (PI). And remember: After analyzing what went wrong, you know what you need to do to be successful the next time: You’ve got this!
The exam review with the course instructor is a good way to get feedback on your performance and gives you the opportunity to improve. Direct feedback from your teachers is a good starting point for reflecting on your own performance. Exam review times are usually announced during the exam itself or on LEARN.