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How to Prepare for University Exams: Frequently Asked Questions

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Exam season can be a very stressful period for students, particularly if you don’t know what to expect. To help you prepare, we’ve answered some of the most common questions students have in the build-up to exams and offered some helpful tips and advice. 

When are university exams?

University exams typically take place in January after the Christmas break and in the Summer term in May and June. Your university will tell you exactly when your exams are.

What should you bring to university exams?

  • Student ID 
  • Pens
  • Pencils 
  • Any other relevant stationary (depending on your degree and exam requirements e.g. ruler, eraser, pencil sharpener, calculator)
  • Water (in a clear bottle with any labels removed)
  • Any permitted texts or books
  • Clear pencil case for any stationary 

Do not bring:

  • Any other food or drinks 
  • Electronic devices such as phones or laptops 
  • Headphones 
  • Notes, books, or dictionaries other than those allowed by your university for the specific exam you are sitting 

What should you do if you require adjustments for exams?

If you have a disability, an ongoing medical condition, or any other extenuating circumstances that may affect your ability to perform in university exams, you may need individual adjustments made. You should contact Student Services and your personal tutor well in advance of the exams so they can make the relevant arrangements or point you to another department that can help. 

University exam tips 

Familiarise yourself with your exam timetable 

When your department provides your exam timetable, make sure that you familiarise yourself with it well in advance. It’s a good idea to add your exams to your phone calendar so you can easily check when and where they are. This will help you plan out your revision timetable and make sure that you don’t accidentally miss any of your exams.

Make sure you know where your exam rooms are 

The last thing you want is to be rushing around right before an exam trying to find the right building or room. When you get your timetable, check where your exams are going to be held and work out any necessary travel arrangements. It might even be a good idea to scope out the exam room before the day.

Check your university’s exam Code of Conduct 

Many universities have a Code of Conduct that lays out how they expect students to behave during exams and what they should and should not bring with them. Reading this before your exams will help you to prepare and follow any relevant regulations.

Wear something comfortable on the day 

At most universities, there is no set dress code for exams. The most important thing is that you are comfortable. Bringing layers is also a good idea, in case you get too hot or too cold.

Arrive early 

You should arrive for your exams at least 15 minutes early to give you enough time to find your seat and get settled before beginning. If you are late, most universities allow you to enter the exam room up to 30 minutes after an exam has started, but you should bear in mind that you will then receive less time. After 30 minutes, you will not be able to enter the exam room and you should contact Student Services to see how to proceed next. 

Need more university exam tips?

For more exam advice, check out our blogs on the five best revision techniques for university exams and how to create an effective study space.


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