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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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

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].


Scribble paper

Zoom and hide

Navigation bar

Highlighting and adding notes

Using multimedia (video and audio files)

Displaying reference materials

Language e-exams

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

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