Prepare for exams

Prepare for exams

Preparation is the key to a successful exam experience.

We have provided some tips and advice from the experts, along with a handy checklist for you to make sure you’re ready to go on exam day, including what you can and can’t bring into your exam.

Successful exam study tips

Give yourself enough time to study

Don’t leave everything to the last minute, make a study timetable that suits your particular way of studying. Don’t forget to reward yourself for a good study session and remember to include a balance between study and life. A study strategy that may work for you is timeboxing, where you set a study period of 20-25 minutes to focus on one study task at a time. Try going for a short walk or have a healthy snack when you complete a task.

Revise actively and regularly

You’re more likely to retain and recall information that you have learned during spaced or distributed study sessions, for example by spacing your study for one concept over 3 x 20-minute sessions on different days or at different times of a day, rather than doing one solid hour.

Practice a past exam paper

The Library is a great source of past exam papers for almost every unit. Feel free to ask the library staff for help to find the right paper for you. Practice writing answers to these questions within a set time limit. Better yet, organise a study group with your classmates and practice explaining concepts to each other and asking each other questions. This is a great way of learning and will help keep you motivated.

Be kind to your brain

Take regular breaks. Give your brain the time to recharge and retain all the information you are learning. During those breaks, give exercise a try to keep your mind, body and mood in good condition. Replace food and drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine with healthy snacks to improve your concentration and memory. And keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water!

Take a break from social media

Minimise procrastination by limiting your time on social media. Taking a break from these channels will give you more time and headspace to achieve great things. Every day is progress!

Your Exam Preparation Kit

What you can bring into an exam

Materials/items that must be brought into an exam:

  • Photo ID: Students will need to bring their Macquarie University Campus Card as photographic proof of identity to each examination. Other forms of acceptable photographic ID include a current Australian driver licence, a current Australian Proof of Identity card or a current passport.
  • Stationery: Students should bring pens, pencils, erasers, rulers and other drawing instruments that may be needed for an exam in a clear, non-coloured plastic bag.

Materials/items that may be brought into an exam:

  • Water: Students can bring bottled water into the exam. The bottle must not have any labels, stickers or any handwritten notes on it.
  • Electronic devices (such as computers, tablets, and phones) may be brought into an examination room but must be placed under the student's desk before the exam commences. All electronic devices must be switched off.
  • Purses and wallets may be brought into an examination room but must be placed under the student's desk before the exam commences.
  • Watches: You may bring a watch, however, all watches must be removed and placed at the top of the examination desk, where they can be seen clearly and easily by supervisors. They must remain there for the duration of the exam. All alarms and alerts must be switched off.
  • Other items: Students should check well in advance if any additional materials are required. Ensure any additional materials (e.g. calculator, translation dictionaries) comply with the stated requirements.

What you can’t bring into an exam

Materials prohibited from examinations include (but are not restricted to):

  • Bags: The University has arranged for bag rooms to be available for students to deposit personal belongings during exams.
  • Pencil cases. Stationery must be carried in a clear, non-coloured plastic bag.
  • Blank paper, note pads, writing paper/pad.
  • Electronic recording devices.

Your exam checklist

  1. Arrive early to the location of your exam. Allow plenty of time for travel.
  2. Bags are not permitted in the exam venue. Instead, bag rooms have been set up for you to drop your bag off for the duration of the exam. These rooms will be staffed by security and are a safer option to store your bag instead of outside the exam venue.
  3. Bring your photo ID. Your Macquarie University Campus Card is ideal but other types of identification in English with your full name, photo and your date of birth are also acceptable.
  4. Bring your stationery kit in a clear plastic bag. This may include pens, pencils, erasers, rulers and other drawing instruments as required by the unit.
  5. Bring water in a clear bottle (no glass). You may be asked to place your bottle under your chair during the exam.
  6. Electronic devices (such as phones, computers, tablets) may be brought into an exam room, but must be switched off and placed under the chair.
  7. Watches are allowed in the exam room, but they must be removed and placed at the top of your desk. Remember to switch off any alarms and alerts.
  8. Your brain that is well fed, rested and ready to succeed!

Bag room locations and times

Bag rooms are staffed by members of the Security Office. Don’t leave your personal belongings outside your examination room as thieves are active on campus. All property is left at your risk and the University will not be responsible for any loss or damage.

Important:  The bag rooms open approximately one hour prior to commencement of an exam session.  Allow enough time to deposit your personal belongings as there may be queues prior to exam start times.

Bag Room Location

Operating Dates/Times

14SCO (Sir Christopher Ondaatje Ave), Mason Theatre

  • Operating from 12.45pm on Mon 11 November until the end of the exam period.
  • Note:  Mason Theatre is operating for all sessions including evening 5.30pm session starts.

23WW (Wally’s Walk), Price Theatre

  • Operating from 12.45pm on Mon 11 November to Fri 22 November (inclusive).
  • Note:  Price Theatre is operating for morning and afternoon sessions but not for any evening 5.30pm starts.

29WW (Wally’s Walk), T1 Theatre

  • Operating from 12.45pm on Mon 11 November to Thurs 21 November (inclusive).
  • Note:  T1 Theatre is operating for morning and afternoon sessions but not for any evening 5.30pm starts.

During the exam

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Listen to the supervisor's instructions.
  • Most exams start with reading time where no writing is allowed. Use this time wisely — make sure you understand the instructions on the front page of the exam paper and that you have read the questions carefully.
  • Plan how you will answer the questions.
  • Stay focused on what you are doing and ignore the people around you. If someone leaves early, it does not necessarily mean that they found the exam easy. If you're finding the exam difficult, the chances are that other students are too.

We're here to help

If you have questions about your exams, are feeling stressed and need some support, there are several ways you can find the help you need.

Study skillsFind information on preparing for your exams.
AskMQSearch our library of exam related questions and answers or submit an online enquiry to get the answers you're looking for.
Student ConnectYou can call, chat or pop into Student Connect at 18 Wally's Walk, Level 2 MUSE
Student Wellbeing and Support Services

There is a range of wellbeing services that are available to you any time during your studies to support you and help you succeed.  We have extended our health and wellbeing services to provide 24-hour support for all Macquarie University students -  dial 1800 CARE MQ (1800 2273 67) - it's free, anytime, any day.

Campus SecurityFor after hours security on campus
Back to the top of this page