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Tips for exam preparation

Everything you need to know to get through exams, if you have them
By: Jess Leach
December 01, 2020
A woman with a raised fist acts excited as she sits with her laptop in front of a yellow background

Study plans, online logistics and physical activities are just some of the ways students, faculty and instructors can succeed during exam season.

Like everything else in 2020, academic coursework will be evaluated differently this year, as the semester wraps up. To help students who are taking remote exams or completing course assessments, Ryerson Today reached out to departments from across the university for tips on how to be prepared.

Here’s what we learned:

For students

  • Check the format and time of your exams! See your course outline to confirm the format of your final assessment. Undergrad and graduate exams with a scheduled start time will be listed on the exam schedule. Chang School exams are usually held during the last class
  • Remember that taking care of your physical and mental well-being leads to more effective studying and learning. Check out the virtual support options available
  • Research shows that light physical activity, like a five-minute walk, while you learn has been shown to improve creativity, recall, attention and understanding
  • Develop a study plan and schedule. If you have multiple exams, set time aside to study each course everyday in short, repeated sessions vs. longer intensive blocks to avoid cramming
  • Set up a study routine -- organize/clean your space and make sure to schedule breaks (stretch, stay hydrated, rest your eyes, etc.)
  • Have a specific goal for each study session and review what you have studied at the beginning of your next session
  • Imagine if you had to explain the material to someone else, would they understand? If you can’t explain what you are studying simply, it’s probably a good idea to review some more
  • Different professors have different expectations. For example, some exams or assessments may be open book while others may be closed book. If your professor tells you your exam is an open book, be sure you understand what that means. For example, they might mean you can access course materials such as your textbook, but not the internet. Are you allowed to access your phone during the exam? Your professors will be happy to answer any questions you have in advance of your exam
  • Try out your tech. If your instructor plans to use virtual proctoring tools to administer a final exam, test out the on-boarding process (found under “Online Exams”) in advance. You can even take a short practice D2L all about cats (found under “Take a Practice D2L Quiz”) 
  • Know who to contact: If you have issues logging in to D2L, contact the CCS Help Desk. If you have any issues during the exam (for example, accessing or submitting the exam), contact your professor. Chang School exams are supported by ce@ryerson.ca

For faculty and instructors

  • Plan ahead if you plan to use virtual proctoring. This will give you and your students the best chance for a smooth exam experience. 

Tips provided by: The Office of the Registrar, Student Learning and Academic Engagement, The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the Academic Integrity Office and Athletics and Recreation

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