Final Year Exams Recap & Review
Hii everyone!! How’s everyone doing? I hope all is well with you guys – the last day of term is within touching distance – hang on in there 😉
I thought I’d dedicate this blog to talk about my recent final-year in-person exams experience (that I literally finished two days ago!), in the hopes that it’ll help some of you out that may be sitting in-person exams for the first time next term.
Inevitably, for many of you, like myself, I was absolutely bricking it in the lead up to exams. Not only was it stressful to try and understand all the content and memorise certain things, but it was also the prospect of mentally preparing myself to sit exams in a proper exam hall with no notes for the first time since I did my GCSEs in 2018! It’s crazy to even think it was that long ago since I had the proper in-person public examination experience, but I couldn’t let this get to me.
To address some fears surrounding the closed-book aspect of exams:
- Yes, it is scary. There really is no sugar-coating that part of the exam. This element worked in some people’s favours, and for others, it caused them to struggle with how to revise. On the note of ‘revision’, my main piece of advice is to actually try to understand the concepts that you were taught. Once the foundations are set, you should hopefully be able to apply that knowledge to answering any questions that come up surrounding the topics you’ve been taught. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. I was always in favour of open-book exams, and a part of me still is, but at the same time, for the past two years of my online exams, I’ve relied heavily on my notes and being able to use lecture content to fuel my answers in the exams, but this meant that I didn’t really have a proper understanding of what I was writing, or what I was even taught in the module. I can safely say, for the majority of my modules this year, with exams being closed-book, it encouraged me to properly sit down and try to conceptualise all the topics we were taught – which has hopefully paid off!
- Just because exams are back in-person does NOT necessarily mean that they will be easier. A lot of students in my cohort were under the impression (and hopes) that the exams would be easier because they were closed book and back in-person for the first time, but this wasn’t always the case…
To address some fears surrounding the in-person aspect of exams:
- The preferred environment to sit exams in is different for everyone. When exams were online, I loved being in the comfort of my own home and being able to literally just sit the paper in my pyjamas. Also, it saved so much time doing exams at home, because it meant that I didn’t have to waste time travelling to campus or waiting for the bus (which is a real PAIN if you live in Leamington!) So, there were a lot of advantages to doing exams from home for sure. On the other hand, although being in an exam hall is really daunting at first, at least you’re surrounded by other people that are probably feeling exactly the same way as you are. It is also really nice and comforting to be able to see your friends and walk in with them just before you head into the exam hall, whereas when you’re doing exams at home, it’s literally just you on your own trying to calm your nerves, whereas if you’re in a group, at least you can help calm each other’s nerves down together!
- Make sure to eat before!! Don’t go into the exam on an empty stomach – the last thing you want is your stomach rumbling midway through the exam. FOOD IS FUEL.
- Do plenty of past papers beforehand – understand the exam structure and try to figure out if there is a pattern between the questions that they ask each year.
- Figure out which revision strategies work for you and implement good exam practice throughout
I hope this is helpful to those of you that are sitting your exams next term – wishing you the best of luck in advance 😊