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TCDSU Exam Success Guide In association with Student Learning Development

Contents 3 4

How to make your revision sink in


Knowing where and when your exams are


Advice from your Education Officer


Exam regulations in a nutshell

8-9 9-10 10 11 12

How to plan your revision

Emergency procedures - What if? Advice from your Welfare Officer Exam Venues Key Campus Map How to get to the RDS


STUDENT TIP “You can’t revise 100% of your course in depth so it pays to be selective. Try not to question spot though - the trick is to never be selective within a topic - if you’re revising a topic, revise the whole topic.”

Knowing what to revise By looking through past exam papers and your lecture notes you can get a sense of which topics are the most important to study. Exam papers can be found at Identify the type of question and the format of the exam to inform your revision. STUDENT TIP

“I list all my topics first to get a visual breakdown of what I need to study.” Knowing when to revise An effective revision timetable should be as personal to you as possible – working with your own energy levels and time commitments. By reviewing your progress every week or two you can amend your study plan to meet your needs. Use the SU Planner to get an overview of the exam period – when exams are, where you’ll fit in the revision topics. Try using a weekly timetable, it provides structure during revision weeks. A variety can be found on the Student Learning Development website. Student tip: “Get into a healthy routine of eating, sleeping and exercising to help you get the most out of your study and relaxation periods.” Knowing where to revise Experiment with different study environments and find out what works for you and what doesn’t. By studying in an environment as close to the exam situation as possible you help yourself to mentally prepare for the exam – which can help overcome nerves. For more resources on preparing for examinations see


“Have all your notes, past papers and stationary ready in your study space so you can stay put and revise.”


STUDENT TIP “I make a list of the topics and tick them off as I study them. I double and treble tick topics as I go along to remind myself that I have studied the subject well and I am confident about answering a question”.

Knowing why to revise Help yourself to get motivated by setting goals for your revision tasks. For example: Goal: - Read this chapter. Time frame: 2 hours. Outcome: Be able to answer a question on this topic which came up on the exam paper last year. STUDENT TIP

“Reward yourself when you reach a goal or when you’ve done some good work.” Knowing how to revise Try to make the material as interesting and meaningful as possible. The more you engage in the material the easier it is to remember. Examples include teaching another person, explaining the material out loud, and creating visual images to help the information to stick. Asking questions and testing yourself on the materials as you go along can help you stay engaged in the topic and stop your mind from wandering. Remember, you’ll have no notes with you in the exam hall – it must all come from your head! STUDENT TIPS

“Mix it up every now and then to avoid boredom.” “Answer past exam questions and time yourself to get used to answering under pressure.” “Play to your strengths by using study aids and techniques that play to your strengths and study style.”


STUDENT TIP “I arrive early to exams – but not so early that I get caught up with other people’s anxiety. I also leave quickly afterwards to avoid post exam analysis”.

Familiarise yourself with the exam setting Pay a visit to your exam hall before the exams to get a sense of what the place is like and to time your journey to and from the venue. Your exam timetable can help you to plan your revision timetable and ensure you get adequate rest between exams that are timed close to each other. Knowing how to manage your nerves Anticipating any problems and generating solutions can help you to feel more in control of the situation. By practising timed and untimed exams in a simulated exam setting you help yourself to mentally and physically prepare your exam. Positive self talk combined with practice can help you to prepare for your best exam performance. Keep perspective. Managing your time in the exam By familiarising yourself and practising past exam papers you can estimate how much time you will need to spend on each question and what questions will gain you the most marks. During the exam make sure to keep to your timing; be prepared to move onto next question to gain most marks. The first few minutes are key so plan what you’ll do. STUDENT TIPS

“I have a checklist of what I need to bring into exams and always bring in a bottle of water to drink as it helps blood flow to the brain.” “I never leave an exam early in case inspiration strikes at me at the end!”

STEPS TO SUCCESS: ADVICE FROM YOUR EDUCATION OFFICER 1) Pick up your free TCDSU exam planner so that you know exactly how much time you have and can figure out how to spend it wisely 2) Make sure you have your tutor’s contact details. If an emergency situation arises, e.g. you are feeling sick or you sleep in, they are your first point of call. 3) When you’re planning your study period, plan your free time as well, e.g. study breaks. You’ll find it much easier to avoid distractions if you know how much time you have for a break 4) Visit the Student Learning Development website at for a range of strategies and tips on planning your revision, practicing your exam performance and making sure that you give your best performance on the day. 5) Get a good night’s sleep the night before. It’s better to go to bed early and wake up early to look at your notes than wake up sluggish and unable to deal with any surprises

Keep an eye on for more hints and tips on how to do well in the exams!

EXAM REGULATIONS IN A NUTSHELL This is a revised version of the full TCD examinations regulations which can be found on the website of the Officer for the Vice Provost. A link is also available on the education website. The onus lies on each student to familiarise themselves with the full guidelines. 1) Make sure you familiarise yourself with the dates, times and venues of your exam - we advise double checking the week before. 2) Mobile phones (or other electronic/communication devices) are strictly prohibited. If you are found with a mobile phone, it will be confiscated and you will have to pay a fine to the Junior Dean. 3) Before you enter the room, find your seat number on the seating list outside, read any other notices and leave your personal belongings at the designated spot near the venue. 4) You cannot enter the exam after the first half hour, and can’t leave during the last half hour. If you need to go to the bathroom, you must raise your hand and be escorted by an invigilator. 5) You are expected to comply with the conduct of examinations notice (see the education website). This means silence at all times, and only have the materials required for the exam on your desk. 6) Your exam number is on your student card, and you’ll need your student card to sit your exams. Don’t forget to bring it to the exam! 7) You can’t start your exam before you’re told to do so. You can take advantage of anonymous marking by sealing the flap in the right hand corner. You must fill in your exam in ink. 8) Make sure to familiarise yourself with the emergency procedures detailed on the next page. We hope you don’t need to use them, but it’s important to know that there are people to help if you need them. NOTE: Many JS students and nearly all SS students cannot sit Supplementals. Please check with your department for details.

Emergency procedures - What if? As you can see, most of the procedures require you to contact your tutor. Please make sure that you have their contact details and are aware if they are here or have arranged somebody to cover. You can find your tutor’s details on TCD Portal. If in doubt, contact the education officer on 0857723676 or What if I’m ill at the time of my exams? Consult your doctor and request a medical certificate for the appropriate period. All medical certificates must be dated and include the date on which the illness started, the length of incapacitation, and a clear statement that you are unable to sit exams. This must then be given to your Tutor within three days of your illness. Depending on your year, the length of your illness and the exam session, it might be possible to have your exam re-scheduled during the exam period. Remember that medical certificates are not accepted in explanation or excuse for poor performance. What if I’m late for an exam? Contact your Tutor immediately when you arrive in College. If your Tutor is not here, check if s/he has organised somebody to cover. If you can’t find your Tutor, contact the secretary in your department or come to the Senior Tutor’s Office in House 27. If nobody has left the examination room, you may be allowed to sit the exam. What happens if I miss an exam (I forgot, I got the dates mixed up, I was ill)? Contact your Tutor immediately so that s/he can find the best solution for your situation. If you don’t attend an examination without a valid explanation, you will not be allowed to sit Supplementals in September. If you are ill, make sure you see a doctor and get a medical certificate (see above).

What do I do if I feel ill during an examination? If you are feeling unwell during an examination, DO NOT LEAVE without speaking to the invigilator. If appropriate, you will be taken to the Health Centre and your situation will be assessed. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, you may be allowed to continue with the examination. Do not continue the examination without making the invigilator aware of your illness.

ADVICE FROM YOUR WELFARE OFFICER Stress management techniques There are loads of ways that we can learn to deal with stress. We all cope with stress differently. Here’s a few suggestions for you to bear in mind. 1. Audio There are a number of audio tracks available on the Trinity Counselling service webpage in relation to mindfulness and relaxation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious while you study try listen to one of these in order to help you relax and get back on track. 2. Exercise Going for a short walk can help you to re-focus and it gives you a chance to take a break from the desk, books and computer screen. It can increase the blood flow and the amount of oxygen that enters your body which may help to increase your ability to concentrate. The Welfare and Education officers will be doing six 20 min walks during the exam success campaign as an organised exercise break. (April 16th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 25th) It’ll be an opportunity for students to ask us questions about procedures etc. We’ll meet outside the BLU library at 6pm each day and pick up students from the Hamilton at 6.05pm. Weather permitting.

3. Take regular breaks Taking regular breaks is essential for effective studying. Breaks don’t need to be very long to be effective. You might decide having a cup of tea, watching an episode of sopranos, running a lap of the college is your break. Whatever you decide to do try and take regular short breaks. 4. Talk If you want to talk through your stress please feel free to call or text me at 0851136515 or e-mail me at and I’ll meet you at the next available time. Sometimes you just need to talk through the stress with somebody.

EXAM VENUES KEY AB,RM 4072: Room 4072, (Language Laboratory) Arts Building AB,RM 5025: Room 5025, Arts Building BIOLAB1: Biology Laboratory 1, Panoz Institute CHEMISTRY: Chemistry Department, SNIAMS DRAWING: Drawing Office, Museum Building EXAM HALL: Examination Hall (Public Theatre), Front (Parliament) Square GENETICS: Genetics Department, Smurfit Institute GEOLOGY: Geology Department, Museum Building GMB: Graduates’ Memorial Building, Front (Library) Square GOLDHALL: Goldsmith Hall, Westland Row/Pearse Street LUCE LOWER: Lower Luce Hall, Luce Hall (Old Sports Centre) LUCE UPPER: Upper Luce Hall, Luce Hall (Old Sports Centre) M17,MUSBLD: Museum 17, Museum Building PHARMACY: School of Pharmacy, Panoz Institute PHYSICS: Physics Department SNIAMS RDS-MAIN RDS: Main Hall RDS, Ballsbridge REGENT HSE: Regent House, Front Gate SPORTS CTR: Trinity Sports Centre (new), Westland Row/Pearse Street

Campus Map


If you have any more questions about exam-related issues then don’t hesitate to contact Education Officer Rachel Barry via email at or by phone on 085 7723676. Alternatively, contact Student Learning Development via email at

Exam Success Guide