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Getting Through Exam Season: Online Exams


After the joy of the December holidays, comes the (less joyful) exam week for many of us. As an undergraduate at King’s, I’m here to share a few tips and tricks to allow you to ace your first term exams! 

Work in a comfortable environment 

It’s critical to be in the right mental state when taking your exam, and many factors, other than studying, play a role in this. One of the major ones is your immediate environment while you’re sitting for the test.

A comfortable and safe environment is critical to being in the right head-space. While having exams online comes with its own set of drawbacks, it makes it easier to manage your stress and pressure, provided you plan ahead and choose the right conditions. 

Whether you take your exam in London, abroad, with your parents or with your flatmates, it is essential to be in a familiar space. A key to succeed on your exam is to have 100% of your mental capacity focused on the paper and eliminate other worries that would be distracting. A good tip is to take your exam at the same spot as where you study so that you don’t have to adapt any of your working habits. 

Avoid distractions 

Many remote exams will be still be timed, meaning that you can’t let unnecessary distractions pull you away from work. While in-person exams naturally limit the number of distractions, this is not the case when you take them from home. 

An obvious one, of course, is your phone. Through years of conditioning, when we hear that notification bell, it takes a huge effort to resist looking at it, and most of us (me included) will succumb. The fix is easy: simply turn off your phone.

This can seem like obvious advice, but I have to insist, your phone is by far the biggest source of distraction, and the last thing you want to do is scroll through Instagram while the time left to finish your exam quickly ticks away. If you are living with people, also make sure to let them know you’re about to start an exam. You don’t want your roommate to start loudly playing guitar or anyone suddenly coming into your room when you’re rushing in the 5 last minutes of your exam. 

Manage your time 

An obvious starter is to not dive right into the exam at the very start. Because you have 24 hours, you can allow yourself to take the time to slowly read over the entire paper to understand the ins and outs of what will be asked of you, before planning out your day.

Make sure to plan for breaks, and don’t feel bad about them. No one can work efficiently for 8 hours straight, and trying will only lead you to burn out. Don’t forget that this is probably not the only exam you will have to take, and taking short pauses can help make exams less of a burden. Besides, many studies show that taking breaks boosts productivity, so it’s in your best interest to not forgo them. 

Finally, don’t submit your exam at the last minute. You never know what could happen, between your computer shutting off, your wifi not working, or the submission page not loading. These are easy things to avoid if you upload your exam around an hour before the deadline. 

The importance of sleeping well cannot be understated. Countless studies show that the amount of sleep you get, and its quality, is a major factor in how you’ll perform. If you’re choosing between an all-night cramming session or sleep, choose sleep. 

Now that I’ve given you my best tips, I expect everyone to go out and face their exams with confidence. It’s okay to be stressed (everyone is), but now you have the right tools to handle the pressure. Good luck! 

Finally, we wish you the best of luck with your exams! If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or need extra support, check out the KCLSU Wellbeing Hub or come and see one of our Advice caseworkers if you have issues affecting your studies.


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