Exams – preparation and performance

Exam time can be daunting. Reviewing lecture notes, completing practice exams and applying for time off from work can be stressful.

If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of preparing for and sitting exams and would like to chat to someone, you can call our national confidential support line 24/7 on 1800 667 877.
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Being ready to tackle exams from the start of semester may be a way to prevent cramming and the stress that comes with this time of year.

Exam tips:

  • be positive – you can do it
  • do a little study every day (rather than cramming)
  • organise your notes during the semester ready for revision time
  • work out a study plan that works for you
  • organise study groups – explaining concepts to others may help concepts stick in your mind
  • plan exam day – where is the venue, how to get there, where to park
  • snack on brain food and drink plenty of water (monitor your caffeine intake)
  • take regular breaks (sunshine and fresh air are important for your brain)
  • avoid procrastinating and try different study methods, and
  • get a good night’s sleep the night before.
Failing an exam

Being told you haven’t passed an exam can be a very confronting experience. Failure is a concept that for many of us is difficult to accept and deal with. It is important to remember that failure can be part of the student journey.

Most people at some point in their life experience unexpected and unwanted events such as failing an exam. Failure is often a turning point, when you reflect on your current situation and lifestyle and think about changes you may need to make.

Things to think about:

  • Are you in good physical health?
  • Are you working too much?
  • Are you stressed?
  • How are you managing your stress?
  • Have you achieved work-life balance?
  • Is your lifestyle conducive to productive study?
  • Could you reduce negative habits, for example caffeine intake or substance use?
  • Are your living arrangements conducive to good study habits?

If you are upset and finding it hard to figure out where to go next or need some motivation give Nurse & Midwife Support a call 24/7 1800 667 877.

You have failed – your options
  • Apply for re-marking if you contest the result (there are some risks with this).
  • Make an appointment with the learning unit at your university and ask for feedback with a view to improving skills such as essay writing or critical appraisals.
  • Talk to your student union if you feel unsupported, treated unfairly or if you should have applied for special considerations.
  • See your lecturer for advice and clarification on where the issues lie.

In most cases after failing a subject you will need to repeat the subject. It may mean you cannot study in the following semester due to prerequisites. You may choose to take a break from study to work and build your savings for clinical placement and to get back on track. Consider picking up subjects you are eligible for or studying part-time.

What can I do next?

Why not read some of our other articles on staying healthy:

Our service provides free and confidential support 24/7, to nurses, midwives and students Australia wide. If you would like to speak to someone call 1800 667 877, or you can request support via email.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through accessing support.

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