Our 10 Hacks to Smashing Your Online Exams | The Student Guide

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Exams are stressful, aren’t they?! We all know how important exams are, and how much pressure we put on ourselves to do well. What about online exams though? Are they any different to traditional exams you sit at a desk, in a cold gym or hall?

The idea of online exams replacing sit-down, in-person exams with all students in one place, was designed to help alleviate exam stress for students and allow for the study and the knowledge to become the key concept, rather than just learning how to pass an exam.

Online exam stress still exists though, and we’ve put together a handy list of hacks that will help you smash your online exams. These aren’t tips on how to cheat your way to success, much to your dismay, but tips on how to best prepare for an online exam.

1. Focus on the study, not the exam


The first tip we can give you to make the most of your online exam is to take the time to focus on the study of the topic itself, not on the practicalities of going to, and taking, an exam. Having the time to revise the topic in-depth rather than memorise specific information and processes just to pass a test has been one of the great benefits of online exams. An online exam isn’t necessarily easier than a traditional exam, so make sure you put the hard work in and prepare well.

2. Choose the best seat for your exam


You know how important it is to have a good desk to work from at home, a dedicated space that makes it easier for you to focus and not get distracted by other things, like your phone, your music, or what your neighbours in your student accommodation are arguing about, etc. Make sure that you have a comfortable seat and desk to take your online exams. You won’t worry onlooking at invigilators, other students and the rustling of paper and squeaking of chairs in the exam hall. Create an area of calm, where you have the space to focus and prove how hard you’ve worked, with no distraction.

3. Dress for the part


On top of finding the right space to do your online exam, it is also important to have the right frame of mind. The best way to do this is to dress the part as if you were going out to take the exam in an exam hall. To feel fresh in your mind and ready to attack the day and get the best out of your online exams, it’s best to be fresh in the body.

Get up, have a shower, freshen up and get dressed as if you were going out to do an exam. That way, you’ll be in the perfect frame of mind to do your best.

4. Have comforting things around you


The beauty of being at home for your online exams is that you are not restricted to what you can and can’t have around you. You don’t want to be distracted (see point 2), but if you want to have a cup of tea on your desk, some sweet treats to keep you going, or some good luck mascots and messages around you, feel free! It can only help you stay in a positive frame of mind.

5. Understand the exam


This might seem like a simple point that you’d never forget to do, but it is crucial. Take the time to fully read and understand the exam pattern, the format, the process, and the topic that you will take the online exams on. Look for past examples of exams and speak to your tutor and coursemates to see what might help you get to grips with the online exams you have coming up.

6. Test, test, test


Revising and studying are vital to ensure you know the topic inside out.  You can do this through mock exams found online to do with your test. This will not only allow you to focus on the content but also be beneficial in testing your skills under pressure and under time constraints.

You can also set little tests for yourself throughout your revision schedule to make sure you are on the right track, and to keep a note of the things you could be doing better on.

7. Manage your time well


You don’t want to waste time, on your exam or life! There’s so much for you to enjoy socially as a student, and you don’t have to miss out just because you’ve got some online exams coming up. Instead, manage your time effectively, with a clear revision timetable. Getting into the habit of finishing a set amount of work and revision within a set timeframe is also good practice for the exam itself. There could be a time limit, and if there isn’t, you should have a loose one of your own to keep things moving forward.

8. Check the connection


As you sit down to take your online exams you want to know that everything is gonna work, right? The last thing you want is for your laptop to not open up, or for your WiFi connection to be dodgy, that would be a disaster! Do a practice run with your set-up, the same way as you have with a mock exam. Check that everything runs smoothly, that the connection is stable, and your laptop works perfectly. That way there will be no surprises when you log in for the online exams.

9. Have the right tools


You need a good laptop in your student apartment to access the online exams. That much is a given, but what about other things? You can add all the tools you need to help make you comfortable and to meet the brief of the exam.

Always have a pad of paper and a pen or pencil on your desk. No matter what your subject, this will help you work things out before submitting an answer on your laptop. Have a timer or a clock visible so you can manage your exam time and any other tool that is specific to your topic that will help you get the best out of your online exam.

10. Double-check before submission


Finally, before you click submit and send off your answers, double-check absolutely everything. If you have prepared correctly and put all the building blocks in place to perform well in an online exam, it can’t hurt to just go over it one more time to make sure you haven’t missed anything important, made a silly spelling mistake, or want to rephrase certain answers.

We hope you love these top 10 hacks to help you smash your online exams! They cover all aspects of online exams, from preparation and revision to setting up and dressing well at home, through to double-checking your answers and understanding exam time management. Let us know what you think and what tips you have to do well in online exams!