What it's like to take an exam during lockdown

Although some students have been able to take home exams in the past, many will be unfamiliar with the online system. As part of my third-year final assessments, the exam was something completely different for me. It taught me a lot more about confidence and discipline in studying.


My exam timetable was published on the 3rd of April. I didn't know what I was going to get this year so I looked at my only exam, which was scheduled for Thursday 7th of May at 10am and would last 23 hours. What was that? It meant that I had 23 hours from the moment the exam was published on the 7th to complete my assessment and submit it via Blackboard to my department. Panic was my first instinct. How could I manage to write two essays in one sitting? It took me weeks to create an essay that I was satisfied with. Here is how I conquered exam anxiety to complete the assessment in record time.


This was an exam. You may find it difficult to give yourself more time to answer essay questions in essay-writing situations. The freedom to spend as much time as you like can make it seem that you are able to write the same quality coursework that took weeks. It is an exam. The marker is aware of this fact. You will only be asked to provide an answer that you can do in the exam room. This is something you should learn as you prepare. Be realistic about the limitations of the timeframe and don't expect too much.


An additional tip for essay-based exams is to become familiar with the exam criteria. While this would work for any year, it may not be as useful for an online exam. Is there a word count? How many questions do you now have to answer? This was a huge relief as my exam required that essays not exceed 1,000 words. I was able to plan my essays using a structure that was both concise and easily achievable. This helped me calm down some anxiety that I felt about having to write pages upon pages.


I knew that the exam was open-book when revising. This meant I had all the resources I needed to pass the exam. When taking notes, I made sure to take this into consideration. I planned them so they were easy to see again when I needed them. I also saved useful websites and essays to a Chrome folder so I could quickly refer to them during my 23 hour exam period.


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Related Resources:
How do online exams work?
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How it feels to take an exam during lockdown
What it's like to take an exam during lockdown

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