Exam time is stressful. Getting into good study habits helps, as does preparing a revision plan, and taking time out from study to rest and recover.

Unless you have chosen courses that are internally assessed, you will sit a major exam at some stage during your time at university.  Exams are designed to enable you to show what you have learned during the trimester.

It's natural to feel nervous before exams and some nervousness can help you perform better.

In the lead up to exams, planning your study will help you cope—emotionally and academically.  Getting into a good study routine, ensuring you understand what you need to learn, and finding the time and motivation to sit down and study will help you do your best in exams.

  • Work out when you are most focused for study—if you're a morning person, use this as your more intensive study time.
  • Find a place to study that works for you—the library is not for everyone—work out where you study best.
  • Study in concentrated bursts with short breaks in between. Some people find it works to study for 50 minutes with a 10 minute break each hour.
  • Make sure you have all the notes, readings and related material you need before you start to study so you avoid wasting precious revision time hunting for information.
  • Doing mock exams is a great way to test your skills in interpreting questions, getting information down on paper, and checking out your timing when writing.
  • Get help to create a study plan if you're not sure how you’re going to fit everything in. Student Learning or Te Pūtahi Atawhai for Maori and Pacific students can help with this.
  • Keep some balance in your life while preparing for exams. Stay in touch with good friends, keep exercising, eat well, get enough sleep, and generally take care of yourself while the pressure is on.
  • Let friends, flatmates and family know that you are studying for exams and how they can support you—if only by turning their music down!
  • Make sure you know exactly when and where your exam is being held. If it's somewhere you're not familiar with, work out how to get there, how long it will take to get there, and exactly when you need to be there before the day of the exam.
  • Breathing and relaxation exercises can really help if you're getting stressed about exams—see Student Counselling for information on relaxation techniques.
  • If your exam stress feels overwhelming, and is affecting your ability to study, there are people who can help. Contact Student Counselling or your doctor to get support.