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Preparing for an exam
Whether you're preparing for a paper, e-exam, or oral exam, there are a number of things you can do to help you succeed.
If you have an e-exam, you should learn how to use the e-exam system.
On this page
Plan your study
Creating the right environment, setting goals, and planning your schedule are all part of studying effectively — especially when preparing for an exam.
For our step-by-step guide to studying (including planner templates), see Study tips.
Learn the subject content
The best preparation for any exam is learning the subject content.
Revise the topics you've studied, look through any notes you've made, organise a friend to test your knowledge, and make sure to check the rest of our study tips.
All exams will require you to demonstrate the knowledge and capabilities you've gained throughout the year.
There's no way around it — to be successful you need to know your stuff!
Know the rules
Different exams have different rules.
Lots of things can vary, like the time-limit, the format (paper, electronic, or oral), and allowed items (e.g. dictionaries, calculators, and your own notes).
Knowledge is power! Knowing what to expect will help you concentrate on answering questions, rather than worrying about what rules you need to follow.
Rules are on the front page of every exam question booklet, and are available a few weeks before your final exam. These can be found using the subject search.
Learn more about exam rules.
Learn how to use the e-exam system (e-exam only)
E-exams are delivered using the e-exam system (a browser-based app).
If you have a subject with an e-exam it's important to familiarise yourself with the system.
Using past and sample exams are a good way to do this because they have been specifically made for each subject with an e-exam. This means you can practice in a way that will be very similar to your final exams. They can be found using the subject search.
Practice using the demo
If you're new to e-exams or just want to explore the features of the system, you can take the demo e-exam. You don't need any specific subject knowledge for this, but you will need Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari and a laptop or desktop (not a mobile or tablet) to use the system.
Key features of e-exams
New for 2021 exams:
- Highlighting & Annotating resources
- Selecting reference material
- Language keyboards
- it is highly recommended that all students become familiar with the use of the on-screen keyboard prior to the exam
E-exams (unlike paper exams) make use of modern concepts like word-processing and multimedia. Learn about the key features of e-exams by watching the videos below, or downloading E‑exam features [PDF 1MB].
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Using multimedia (video and audio files)
Some language e-exams require responses containing special characters — like accents and punctuation — that are not available on a default US (English) keyboard. E-exams supports three language keyboard options:
- On-screen keyboard
- US International keyboard
- Country of origin keyboard, e.g. French (France)
Using the on-screen keyboard
Installing additional keyboards on Windows
Installing additional keyboards on Mac
Guides for language keyboards
- Before E-exam reading - Mac [PDF 174KB]
- Before E-exam reading - Windows [PDF 502KB]
- French (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Mac [PDF 1.2MB]
- French (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Windows [ PDF 1.2MB]
- German (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Mac [PDF 816KB]
- German (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Windows [ PDF 909KB]
- Italian (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Mac [PDF 983KB]
- Italian (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Windows [ PDF 988KB]
- Spanish (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Mac [PDF 1MB]
- Spanish (continuers) - How to use language keyboards during exam - Windows [ PDF 1MB]