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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Quick exam tips

Video resources

Video resources

text reading 'helpful tips' University tests are often worth a large amount of your grade, and many students experience anxiety related to taking tests even if they know the course content well. Whether or not you have anxiety about tests, you want to do your best on them. Below, you will find some tips for exam preparation, writing, and reflection. Use the Video resources button at the top of the page for some additional video quick tips.

 

  • Before the test

    to do list and study suppliesTalk to your professor and Teaching Assistant (TA)

    • Keep track of the concepts you don’t understand. Before starting to study, use the textbook, a classmate, a tutor, or your professor or TA to help explain these concepts.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask your professor or TA for help. Visit them during their office hours. Make sure to attend any review sessions. Do not skip lectures (this is very important)!

    Gather information about your exam

    • Use the course syllabus, lecture topics, lecture notes and your professor or teaching assistant to determine which topics the exam will focus on.
    • Review tests you’ve previously taken in the course to determine your professor’s testing style. Try figuring out why you lost marks on these tests in order to avoid making similar mistakes in this exam.
    • See if you can find any past exams from the course, whether from the department, the library, or from other students. You can also try to find practice questions in your textbook. Read them over and practice answering the questions yourself.
      • When taking practice tests, avoid working backward! Don’t look ahead for the answer. Wait until after you finish your test, then grade yourself and see where you made mistakes.
      • Avoid relying on your notes and limit the time you give yourself to take the practice test. Try replicating the conditions of the test as much as possible.

    Create a schedule

    • Rather than planning a long, marathon study session, divide your material into smaller parts. Plan to cover one part in each session.
    • Schedule time for fun activities to avoid burnout. Knowing you have an upcoming break will also help you focus on the current material and avoid wasting time.

    Set goals

    • Create a plan for the material you wish to cover during each study session. Set a specific time by which you wish to accomplish your goals.
    • Setting goals allows you to have something to strive for, rather than studying aimlessly. Goals help you feel more organized and motivated to start studying.
    • Reward yourself for accomplishing your goals in order to reinforce your positive study habits.



  • During the test

    student writing an examAllot your time

    • Plan how much time you will spend on each question so that you do not run out of time.
      If the questions are all worth the same amount, divide the time you have to write the exam by the number of questions.
    • If the questions are worth different amounts, spend more time on the questions that are worth more.
    • Plan to finish a bit early so you have time to review and check for mistakes. If you finish the exam early, be sure to go over your answers thoroughly before submitting the test. If there is still time left, use it to review carefully!

    First, answer what you know

    • Preview all the questions before getting started.
    • Save anything you don't know for last. Answer the questions you do know first to build confidence.

    Do as much as you can

    • Write down what you know, even if there may be parts missing. Even if your answer is not complete, you may receive partial credit.
    • If you are solving a problem, work through what you can, even if you don’t think you can finish it.
    • Unless points are deducted for getting the answer wrong, take a guess.

    Be clear about your steps, especially for problem-solving courses

    • State all your equations before you plug in values.
    • Clearly define any variables you use.
    • Make your work easy to follow. Keep in mind that someone has to mark your work and, if they cannot follow your steps, then they might not give you full marks.


  • After the test

    student deep in thoughtReward

    • Once you finish your test, do something that makes you happy! Of course, make sure the reward is proportionate to the task at hand. The reward for completing a short quiz should be smaller than the reward for completing all of your final exams.

    Review

    • After taking a quiz, test, or exam, no matter how you did, always review the results if you can.
      Read all comments, don’t just look at the letter grade.
    • If it is a quiz or midterm, take time going through the questions you got wrong. They may be repeated on the final exam.
    • Make a list of topics you struggled with so that you know what you might want to spend extra time on when studying for the final exam.
    • If you have completed a final exam, it can still be helpful to review your results, especially if you are taking courses in upper years that will require you to apply knowledge from previous years.
    • See if you can find any common themes to your mistakes. Is there a certain area that you may need to brush up on better going forward?
    • For any questions you struggled with, go back through your lecture notes and review the concepts. Once you have done this, attempt the problems again.

    Reflect

    Reflection is key!
    • If you did well, great! Think about what worked and why!
    • If it didn’t go as well as you hoped, try to figure out where things went wrong.
      • Did you run out of time to answer the question? Try to manage your time better while writing your next exam.
      • Did you misunderstand the question? Look for keywords such as: explain, compare, discuss, order or find in order to identify what kind of answer is required. Carefully read through each question rather than rushing to answer.
      • Did you know the general concept, but lacked specific details? A more in-depth review of important concepts is required for the next test.
      • Did you simply not know the correct answer? Identify the reason for your lack of knowledge.
      • If you missed a class, make more of an effort to catch up or ask a friend to take notes for you.
      • If you didn’t have time to study that section of the text, start studying sooner for the next exam or learn better time management strategies.
      • If you didn’t study the content that appeared on the test, you will have to try to better identify which subjects will be featured on the next exam.
    • Reflect on some changes you can make going forward.
      • This could include seeing a subject specialist or peer tutor, speaking with your instructor or teaching assistant, or taking advantage of the university’s Stride Learning Skills Program to work on developing new study skills and time management strategies.

References:

Derrington, Kate, Cristy Bartlett, and Anita Frederiks. (20 January 2021). Preparing for Exams. In N. Anderson and W. Hargreaves (Eds.), Academic Success. University of Southern Queensland. Accessed at: 

https://usq.pressbooks.pub/academicsuccess/chapter/types-of-exams/