Exams season at University of Kent takes place in May and June 2023. Since this time is fast approaching, now is a great time to start planning and strategizing.
Sitting exams can be a stressful time, so we’ve put together a handy list of key things to do to prepare. Follow our handy advice to ensure you feel ready and fully prepared for your exams.
1. Check out Kent’s handy student guide to exams
This should be your first port of call for everything exams-related.
The comprehensive web page features links to everything from exam support and guidance to exam preparation events and FAQs.
2. Understand what you can and can’t take to exams
There are a number of key things you’ll need to take with you to an exam. Plus, there are strict and important rules about what you can’t take with you into an examination room.
You will need: your student ID card, basic stationery (pens, pencils) and a clear bottle of water (no labels)
You may bring: mobile phones (these must be turned off and placed under your desk), keys, wallet, coat
You cannot bring: notes, bags, tablets or laptops
Check with your individual School about: calculators and books
3. Find out your exam number
You will need your exam number to help you find your seat on the day, and to put on your exam paper, as exam marking is anyonymous.
The number you need is the red number on the front of your ID card.
You can also find it on KentVision under ‘My Details’.
4. Find out when and where your exams are
Your exam timetable will be available on KentVision before the end of the Spring term. Remember to check the timetable regularly in case it is amended.
If you have an Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP), any extra time you are permitted will not show up on your timetable, but will be given on the day.
Don’t forget to arrive at the exam room with plenty of time.
5. Familiarise yourself with the format of the exam
Depending on your subject area, your exam might be essay-based or multiple choice. It might involve short answer questions or exercises.
Make sure you check past exam papers to give you a sense of what to expect. These are available for each module on Moodle.
6. Ensure that you have revised for your exams
University of Kent’s Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) has provided a detailed guide on how to undertake revision for your exams.
They recommend you begin revising as early as possible and to study regularly. They suggest managing your time effectively by planning study blocks as part of a structured revision schedule.
Their guide includes details on when best to revise, how to create an efficient revision schedule, how to keep your focus and methods to use as a part of the revision process.
And don’t forget to take breaks!
7. Go along to exam preparation events
The Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) are running a series of Revision and Exam workshops throughout April, covering topics such as essay writing in exams, quick win exam techniques, and managing exams stress.
These workshops are a great opportunity to get some valuable advice on how to approach your exams and what to expect on the day.
8. Make a plan for the night before your exam/s
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep in preparation for an exam the following day. Poor sleep can affect your memory and reasoning skills, so if you miss out you might struggle to focus and pay attention.
Make sure you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Ensure you allow plenty of time for travelling to avoid any delays.
9. Eat well
Eating regularly and consuming foods that support brain health during revision and exams will mean you’re likely to perform better.
So, what’s on the menu? Slow-release carbs like oats and whole grains (beans and lentils if you’re gluten free); proteins like nuts and seeds; and high fibre fruit and vegetables all get the green light. Avoid too much sugar and caffeine.
And make sure you stay hydrated. Water can help to quicken the rate at which we process information, while not drinking enough water can make us feel foggy and fatigued. Aim for 1.2 litres per day.
10. Get the support you need
Exam season can be a stressful time. Make sure you take care of your wellbeing and ensure you have all the support you need.
Student Support and Wellbeing offer one-to-one and peer support groups, mindfulness sessions and online mental health support. They also recommend that you take some time to get outside, experience nature and be active.
11. Remember to read the exam paper carefully
Carefully reading the exam question can help avoid misunderstandings on the day and ensure you’re making the most of your time.
Take a few minutes to read and understand the question and plan out your answer. Underline key words in the question that will help you get a sense of what you’re being asked.
And don’t forget to leave yourself time to proofread and edit your paper.
12. Devise an action plan for challenging scenarios
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan on the day and it can be helpful to have an alternative strategy in place in case that happens.
For instance, remember to take more than one pen with you in case it runs out on the day.
Or, if you arrive late, remember that you can still enter the exam hall, but you won’t be granted any additional time.
If you experience a mind blank – which is completely normal during an exam – stay calm. Take long deep breaths and give yourself a minute to relax. Your knowledge will come back to you.
And if you feel ill or need the bathroom during the exam, tell the invigilator.
13. Remember that you’ve got this!
A positive attitude will help you stay relaxed and enable you to focus more clearly.
Be mindful of any negative self talk or narratives going on in your mind before the exam (eg. “I’m going to fail” or “I’m going to forget everything” or “this exam will be too hard”). If you notice this kind of inner dialogue, switch to imagining how it will feel when you do really well.
Try to be your own cheerleader, reminding yourself of your strengths and repeating a phrase like “I’ve got this” in your mind.
Finally, remember that the results of your exams – whatever they are – don’t define you. You’re only human and all you can do is your best!