Supporting students during exams
December 4, 2019
It’s exam time at Queen’s, and Student Academic Success Services (SASS) and Student Wellness Services in the Division of Student Affairs are among the units on campus offering supports to help reduce exam anxiety, promote wellbeing, and support academic success.
“The exam period can be stressful, but the university has services to help students study effectively, reduce test anxiety, and stay healthy during this busy time,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “We want students to know that they don’t have to prepare for exams alone. We have many in-person and online resources to support them as they finish the term.”
SASS offers exam prep workshops in the last week of classes every semester, and students can continue to book one-on-one appointments with SASS professionals into December. For individual exam prep, students can work with SASS team members to develop customizable learning strategies and study schedules.
SASS also offers workshops that focus on specific courses and exam formats, which give students additional opportunities to receive focused professional support. Students can consult the SASS online exam prep or test anxiety resources if they’re looking for quick information or don’t have time to come in for an appointment.
SASS also has course-specific study posters, which provide detailed study tips and common mistakes related to many popular first- and second-year courses.
To encourage students to prioritize their wellness as a way to manage exam stress, the Health Promotion team in Student Wellness Services launched the ninth annual 15 Days of Exams Health Challenge on Dec. 4. The Queen's University Be Well social media sites (Facebook and Instagram) will post daily tips and challenges through to Dec. 19. Each post will provide a student perspective on how to implement simple health actions during the exam period. Students are encouraged to leave comments about their healthy habits and can win weekly prize baskets.
“Physical, mental and social health are all important aspects of wellness. The goal of the 15 Days of Exams Health Challenge campaign is to highlight the importance of taking care of all three areas, especially during exams”, says Kate Humphrys, Health Promotion Coordinator. “Taking time for your own wellness not only helps you feel better, but also creates a campus community where others feel empowered to do the same.”
The challenges change every year and are created in collaboration with students who work and volunteer with Health Promotion.
Students can also access two new options for 24/7 assistance throughout exams and over the holiday break. Empower Me, offered in partnership with the AMS and SGPS, provides 24/7 access to confidential counselling services in many languages from anywhere in North America, and Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) offers interactive online wellness modules that include “Calming your worry,” “Improve your Mood,” and “Let Go and Be Well.”
Academic Skills Specialist Dr. Lindsay Heggie’s Top Tips for Students for Exam Prep
- Make a plan.
Follow the Student Academic Success Services exam study schedule to give yourself some structure and balance as you study for several exams concurrently. This will ensure you give each exam the time it requires and avoid cramming.
- Include self-testing and review in every study session.
Start each study block with a brief review of what you studied last time(s). End each session with 15-20 minutes of self-testing (e.g., redoing homework questions or examples from a lecture; completing questions that you got from previous exams or made yourself). For more, check out the “How to Use 3-hour Study Blocks” section in the Student Academic Success Services Exam Study Plan.
- Take care of yourself.
Exam season is a marathon, so you’ll need stamina. Get a good night’s sleep (7-9 hours) to promote focus and memory. Eat regularly and eat good healthy food. Take some time for restful and rejuvenating activities (e.g., time with friends, exercise) between study sessions. You can do it!