Test And Exam Preparation
If you require test or exam accommodations, please register by March 23, 2020, even if you are not sure about how you will be evaluated in your courses. If you have questions about exam accommodations during COVID-19, visit the Accessibility Services COVID-19 updates page. If you are registered with Accessibility Services and have any concerns with regards to your accommodations, please contact your accessibility advisor. You can find details for each campus at the links below:
There are several different types of exams, and the best person to talk to about what to expect is your professor. Talk to your prof early on about the exam, and plan to study in the way that you will be tested. Get prepared to do your best.
Check out our PDFs on the right for suggestions on how to prepare for and write your tests and exams, with a new resource specifically for writing take-home and online exams. In addition to these tips, here are a few ideas on what might be helpful:
- Test yourself. You can still get practice exams from the Old Exam Repository. While old exams do not include answers and cannot be completed online, they can be a useful a study aid and offer an opportunity to practice what you have learned if the course has been offered in the past. If this is not an option, some courses also offer online practice tests, and course textbooks sometimes contain links to online practice tests; you can also generate your own questions or trade them with a friend.
- For problem-based disciplines that usually have tutorials like Math, Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, Economics and Chemistry, schedule time to complete practice problems, problem sets, or homework questions. If you get stuck, review the lecture content and your textbook to find possible solutions, and use online discussion groups and forums to get and give support.
- When writing online and take-home exams, be sure to review the format of your upcoming tests and exams, including the specifications of the exam, the software required (and how it works) and the time allotted. Some take home exams may only be open for a few hours while others may be open for a few days.
- If your exam is only open for a few hours, prepare for this exam as you would for an in-person exam. Take some practice exams under the same time constraints and practice your recall of information.
- If your exam is open for a few days, treat this exam like a final essay. Try to do some preparation or research before the exam is released on potential topics you could write about. Take some time to do an outline before you start writing and editing after you finish your rough draft.
- If you need a computer for online learning, the University has loan program in place for computers. Find information regarding availability and instructions.
Study Hacks – How to Prepare for an Exam at the University of Toronto
YouTube video transcript:
- Diagnosis: Determine what your prof's expectations are, what topics you have under control and what you need to review. Do this early so you can ask for help if necessary. Self testing can be a great way to guage what you know and don't know.
- Consolidation: Different classes require different approaches. Set your priorities and plan activities that help you actively review the material. Making concept maps, flash cards and tables can work well for different courses.
- Memorization: For detail-oriented courses, plan several short, frequent memorization sessions. Start early. Repetition is the key.
- Self-testing: A few days before an exam, test yourself to check your progress. You might want to practice with a timer.
- Schedule it: Prepare an exam schedule!
Study Hacks – 6 Ways to Reduce Exam Anxiety
YouTube video transcript:
- Focus on process not product: Take a deep breath, and reflect on the learning you've already done. Define your goals and work towards them one step at a time.
- Eat well-balanced meals: Eat regular and avoid lots of coffee and energy drinks while studying and before an exam. Go for good proteins and complex carbs to fuel your brain!
- Clear your head: Give your hard-working brain a break. Take some time to relax and breathe rather than studying right up to the start of the exam.
- Don't forget to sleep: Without enough sleep you may be unable to recall information. Don't study all night -- turn out the light!
- Visualize and plan: Imagine a smooth day - then help it happen. Check the exam location, pack your bag early and give yourself extra travel time.
- Don't fret if a question stumps you: Write down some ideas and move on. You can do that question last and it may be easier after having completed the rest of the exam.
Master multiple choice test and exams
Doing well on multiple choice tests and exams requires a solid understanding of the course content, as well as a positive attitude, strategic planning and critical thinking.
Read through the guideline for Mastering Multiple Choice Tests and Exams (PDF), to learn how to study more effectively, and score higher grades on multiple choice tests and exams.
Apps and assistive technology
We have used some of the apps and websites listed below, and others have come to our attention from students who have found them helpful.
Disclaimer: the University of Toronto does not officially endorse the apps and sites listed here, and may not be held responsible for any technological problems that arise from their use. Please use at your own discretion.
Students with disabilities may receive academic accommodations including the support of assistive technologies. Please contact Accessibility Services for more information.