Preparing for and taking exams can be very stressful, so it is important to remember that there is plenty of support available.
Revision and exam periods are a good time to make sure you are looking after yourself and organise how you are preparing. We would recommend that you:
- Make a revision plan and stick to it.
- Eat healthily.
- Take breaks and get some exercise.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Watch out for the Exam Timetable’s publication so that so you know when your exams are.
- If you have a disability, make sure you have spoken to Disability Services about any special arrangements you need for your exams. The deadlines are quite early for this, so don’t leave it until the last minute!
If the pressure and stress becomes too much, make sure you get some help to deal with it. Information and links to the main places for support can be found on the Wellbeing Support page and our Health & Wellbeing pages.
The Students’ Union and University run events aimed at helping students to relax during the main exam weeks, while the University Counselling Service runs workshops throughout the year including ones on how to cope with stress.
Hopefully your exam preparation will have gone okay, and when you enter the exam room you realise you do know enough to answer the questions and be able to complete the exam successfully. Exams are governed by Regulation 10.2.
Here are some tips on how to approach an exam:
- Try to relax.
- Read through the questions carefully.
- Decide on the time you will allot to each question.
- Leave the question you are least confident about until last.
What if I’m unable to sit an exam or have to leave early due to illness?
For some students, the exam may not go in the way they anticipated for a number of reasons, e.g.
- Unable to take an exam at all because of illness or a personal issue such as bereavement
- If you have to leave an exam because you are taken ill
If this happens, it is important to inform your department of the reason as soon as possible. Ask them to provide you with a Mitigating Circumstances form, then follow this up with another email containing medical or other evidence as soon as you can. The regulations state that, in these cases, students should submit evidence not later than 3 days following the last day of their University Examination (unless there are specific circumstances which warrant an extension of this period), together with a medical certificate showing their inability to take or complete the examination at the prescribed time. For more details regarding this, see Regulation 12.
If you’re suffering from a physical or mental health problem that might affect your exam performance or your ability to attend an exam, it is important to ask a medical professional for a certificate verifying that you have been ill as your department will often require evidence of your illness. It is also important that you notify your department of your illness as soon as possible!
If things have not gone well for you academically during the year or during the revision and examination period, you should talk to your Department (e.g. your Personal Tutor or Departmental Senior Tutor) and consider whether you can submit mitigating circumstances for the Exam Board to consider. For information about this, see our page on Mitigating Circumstances.
Undergraduates: First Year
- If you fail a first year examination by getting a mark of less than 40%, you can usually resit the exam at the end of the summer vacation of the same year.
- then -
- If you fail the exam a second time, you will not normally be able to resit the exam again unless the Exam Board considers you have mitigating circumstances that affected you and your ability to take the exam.
- then -
- If you have mitigating circumstances, you will be given the opportunity to take the exam again as a resit without residence.
Intermediate Year or Final year students cannot normally resit a failed exam, but you should talk to your Department and get advice if you fail an exam.
If you fail an examination or assessment, your Department will be able to advise you on what you can do and the impact it will have on your qualification.
Places to get advice:
Inside your Department:
- Personal Tutor or Supervisor
- Departmental Senior Tutor
Outside your Department:
Other Useful Contacts
Also, look out for University and Students’ Union events aimed at helping everyone get the best out of their exams.