Exam preparation

Repetitions, expectations and course objectives

Identify expectations and objectives of the course

At the beginning of the course, it is essential to identify the professor's expectations and the course objectives. This will enable you to understand the structure of the course and to anticipate what will be required in the examination.

In order to prepare as well as possible, it is essential to know the requirements and modalities of the examination (learning objectives set by the teacher, type of examination, procedure, duration, type of questions, authorised material, etc.).

  • Remember to collect the necessary material for your revisions (notes, course materials, required/recommended reading, books, etc.).
  • Complete and organize your course notes before you start revising
  • Take stock of what you need to learn, identify your weaknesses and prioritize based on the learning objectives set by the teacher and your remaining deficits.
  • Attend the last lecture of the semester where questions are often asked (review the material in advance and use the last session to ask your own questions).
  • Imagine what the exam might look like, and then envision the types of questions that might be asked and the format of the exam.
  • Practice with old exams and assignments from the course to familiarize yourself with the types of questions likely to be asked on the exam.


Planning the repetitions

From the beginning of the semester, it is important that you attend class regularly and also take notes. This will give you an overview of the course before you start reviewing, plus it will save you time.

To be prepared for the exam, it is important that you start studying before the end of the semester. Calculate generously and plan enough time for your studying. Also, if you start revising early, it will take pressure off your schedule and maximize your concentration.

  • Find out under which conditions you work best and which work habits suit you. At what time of day are you productive, receptive and concentrated? And for how long? How do you plan your appointments (half-yearly, monthly, weekly, daily)?
  • Create a learning plan that takes into account your work rhythm and set detailed, concrete and realistic goals (you can use tools such as calendars, individual learning plans, to-do lists, etc.).
  • Eliminate distractions and improve your concentration Pomodoro technique, Freedom app, Self-Control app)
  • Be sure to maintain a balanced general condition, take regular breaks, and alternate learning sessions with periods of relaxation, sports activities, and social contact.
  • Get into the habit of establishing a ritual before you start work that will help you get into the right frame of mind and increase your concentration.
  • Learn to manage your time and read the chapter dedicated to time management soon. 


Exchange with other students

Discussing the topic, sharing your opinions, questions, or misunderstandings is also beneficial to your learning process. Sharing your ideas with others may help you see the material from a new perspective and further enrich your knowledge of the subject.

  • Compare your note taking with that of your fellow students
  • Mimicking an exam situation in a group will help you find out what topics others think are important and further supplement your preparation
  • Test your knowledge by quizzing each other on specific areas of the course to complete your knowledge

Summarize notes

No matter what kind of notes you have taken in advance, now it is best to create a handwritten summary. The goal here is to summarize all the information. This will allow you to actively re-engage with the material, which is more effective than just reading it over. Secondly, it allows you to sort out unimportant material and keep only the important information.

You can try to further compile the information, e.g. by using a schematic representation.

Other techniques are detailed under Memorization.


Potential impediments

Often, you are confronted with all kinds of challenges that can turn into real obstacles just before the exams.

  • Avoid overburdening by alternating periods of concentration with periods of relaxation. Allow yourself regular breaks. Check if your time schedule for revision is realistic? Take the way you work seriously and respect your work habits. Make sure you get regular, quality sleep and eat a healthy diet.
  • Always stay focused! Lack of concentration can stem from various sources of distraction, starting with an unsuitable workplace, lack of motivation, feelings of anxiety, etc. (App for dealing with sources of distraction : FreedomSelf-Control,  App for improving concentration: Pomodoro).
  • Anxiety and stress see Stress management
  • Procrastination, or putting off tasks you do not wish to complete right away, is a relatively common behavior that can quickly become a problem when the work starts to pile up. Thus, the motivation has to start from you. To avoid being overwhelmed at the end of the semester, it can be helpful to plan ahead for the work that needs to be done and stick to your schedule despite possible lows in motivation (the  Pomodoro method). Making regular study appointments with other students, friends, and colleagues provides a clear commitment that you may find easier to stick to.



Learning to deal with sources of distraction, increasing concentration, improving organization, and creating to-do lists - you can do all this with the help of apps that help you manage your tasks.

Manage distractions from connected devices




Increase concentration



Simple Pomodoro Focus 10 for Windows 10

Pomodoro Brain Focus Productivity Timer

Améliorez votre concentration (Ulaval.ca)

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Organization software


Comment utiliser Trello

Toggl Plan

Checklist creation application


Google task


Google Keep Note


Unifr offers 

Sport & offres de relaxation


Psychological support in case of fear and blockage, procrastination and stress management

Thematic workshops on stress management (stress management, strategies against stress and anxiety during studies, motivation)

Coaching and support for organization/planning in difficult personal times

MyPLE - Managing your time and tasks

MyPLE - Manage your collection of documents  

Digital Skills Self-study online course