About exams

Key words: exams, exam timetable, past papers, post mortem, special examination

Exams are a daunting prospect for most people. Understanding the reasons for exams and knowing how you can have some control over the process, gives you the confidence required for a successful exam experience.

About exams

Exercise 1: How do you feel about exams?

Click each statement to see the comment.

I hate exams!

You are not alone. Most people find exams daunting. This workshop will help you prepare for exams.

I feel as if they're trying to trick me.

Exams are an opportunity to show your lecturer that you understand the material you have studied. Contrary to popular belief, your lecturers do not try to trick or trap you.

I enjoy the challenge of them.

If you enjoy the challenge of exams you probably prepare well for them, approach them with a positive frame of mind and, consequently, do well in them.

I get so nervous!

Some degree of exam ‘stress’ is normal and helpful. However, if your level of anxiety affects your ability to study, then you need to learn how to manage your exam anxiety.

Advantages of exams

There are some positive benefits in exams – can you find them?

Exercise 2: What are some advantages of exams?

Click the boxes below to find some advantages of exams over course assignments.

You don't have to reference in an exam.
Exams are a great way to show your examiners what you know.
There is less pressure throughout the semester/year than if you have continual assessment tasks to complete.
Exam markers are generally more lenient when it comes to minor grammatical errors, spelling and handwriting than course assessment markers are.

UNE’s exam timetable

The dates for UNE’s exam period can be found on UNE’s Principal dates calendar from the beginning of the year.

The UNE examination timetable, showing the date and time of each exam, is available approximately 8 weeks before the exam period.

Past exam papers

Studying past exam papers is a valuable aid to examination preparation. Past exam papers provide an opportunity for you to:

become familiar with instructions and exam format.

Be sure to read all instructions carefully before you begin an exam.
  • analyse question topics – which topics recur? These would tend to indicate the areas of most importance in a unit.
  • research answers to questions – as a form of revision.
  • practise questions under exam conditions.

Access a range of past exam papers from UNE Exam paper search

What if I’m sick?

If you are unable to attend an examination because of illness or other unforeseen circumstances, such as a change in work requirements or a death in the family, you can apply for a Special Examination.

To apply for a Special Examination you must:

  1. Complete the Application for Special Examination form. Be sure to read the information on page 2 before completing the form.
  2. Attach supporting documentary evidence.
  3. Submit these to the Student Centre at: Student Centre, UNE, NSW, 2351.
  4. Inform your examination supervisor that you will not be attending.

Post mortems

By all means, you should learn from your past exam experiences – your mistakes – and successes. However, lengthy discussions about the exam with other students before receipt of your results, are unproductive and can be disheartening (often without cause). If necessary, discuss the exam paper with your lecturer.