Up until 2020, exams revolved around arriving at the examination venue at least an hour before sitting and getting started on completing the paper. Huddling outside with your friends and nervously quizzing one another on the coursework. Shuffling into the venue with a crowd of other anxious students and finally putting pen to paper.
Nowadays, as a result of COVID, exam time looks a whole lot different, with many institutions encouraging online exams. This change from the norm has resulted in a higher dose of exam stress for students who worry about what to expect. Here’s everything that you need to know.
Preparing for online exams
Most students will be wondering how universities will be mitigating the risk of students cheating when writing their online exams. You are, after all, in the comfort of your home with no adjudicator pacing around making sure that everybody plays by the rules. What is stopping you from reaching for your notes for a quick refresher when you’re faced with a challenging question?
Universities are implementing different tactics to prevent this, such as anti-cheating software and ensuring that students have their webcams switched on at all times. The nature of the exams written are also likely to be somewhat different, asking students to provide their opinions and summaries of the work in question, rather than asking for very specific, textbook-based answers. This opinion based answer is something that you can practice in the lead up to your exams.
Taking the exam
Do not let the fear of the unknown shake your confidence. For the most part, taking an online exam is endlessly less stressful than taking an exam in a cold and gloomy examination hall! Do your best to make yourself comfortable – brew a cup of chamomile tea for your nerves, slip into something soft and cosy, and open a window for some fresh air.
Do not rush when answering the questions but do remain aware of how much time is left over. Your approach should be similar to what you are used to in that you should strive to answer the questions that you understand really well before attempting to answer the questions that seem slightly puzzling. Be wary of over thinking your answers simply because you have more time and access to ‘books’ – this can throw you off balance causing you to run out of time before you realise it.
Most students will find the experience of studying for and taking an online exam pleasant and straightforward. If, however, you are still suffering from a touch of anxiety around the prospect, do not hesitate to speak to a lecturer or a counsellor regarding your concerns.