UoL Examinations – A freshman’s ‘fresh’ experience

Woman writing exams

I think this is probably a pretty accurate image of how I looked in the exam room!

May 2014 was a tough yet valuable learning experience with my first examinations as a University of London International Programmes student. A first experience is like a new driver on a new road; you learn through your mistakes. In any case, you explore your capabilities, test yourself, and polish your learning patterns.

As for me specifically, it was ahead of calling it just tough. I had a very intimidating exam timetable and it definitely had a role to play in my overall experience as well as my exams. I had a total of five exams, with two exams each day, and only one that was ‘single’. The four exams as a ‘couple’ each were quite tough and made it very difficult for me to manage them, especially with having only four to five days in between. It caused me a lot of anxiety and due to sitting for such prolonged periods of time during them, I got severe backache and swelling of the legs. For future though, I know I will be able to manage such a situation more efficiently as I have learnt many things from this new experience.

If one is in a situation like mine, there are several ways to manage the preparation and also seek help in terms of the examination conditions from the university:

  • If you have two exams in a day, no matter how many days you have in between them and other exams, more or less, consider it an obligation that you have completely prepared for them beforehand. Do NOT leave stuff from those subjects for the last day. It will cause you burden and extreme stress.
  • If you think you get panic attacks and have issues like anxiety during the exam, do apply for the specific access requirements. You can cure your anxiety, fear and panic during the exam sometimes by eating something sweet. And something extremely important in this regard is that do NOT at any cost underestimate your panic attacks and anxiety. They destructively affect your mind during the exam and as a result your performance. If you think you are not sure about yourself in keeping yourself calm during the exam, do apply for the Specific Access Requirements, for instance, getting the permission to take something to eat inside the examination hall. Also, you can apply for special seating arrangements, breaks in between, extra time and examination papers with bigger fonts. Do keep in mind though that the University can only make adjustments to the examination arrangements where an anxiety disability has been formally assessed and diagnosed (more information in the Special Exam Policy).
  • If you come across such problems during your exams that were beyond your control, like accidents, you can apply for Mitigating Circumstances. You are to apply for it until three weeks of the last exam and have to provide evidence of course. If your case is considered, you can get a failed exam to be not counted as taken. This way you do not lose an attempt.
  • During your exams, no matter how your timetable is, make sure you are prepared a month before and just need revision during the exams. In short, do not leave anything for ‘studying’ during the exams, because it will consume a lot of time.

And last but not the least, information about the Specific Access requirementsSpecial Exam Policy and Mitigating Circumstances is available on the website. Please read these documents carefully as they will tell you exactly who is eligible for specific consideration, how to go about making these requests and the evidence that you will need to submit.  You always learn from your experiences, and the first ones are usually tough. But the positive part about them is that you find the best ways to study and manage your preparation,  and get a chance to explore your capabilities even more.

Wishing everyone best of luck for the results!

Sundus is studying for the BSc Sociology in Pakistan with support from Roots College International. The BSc Sociology is not available to new students from 2014, however you can still study for a Diploma for Graduates in Sociology.

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