We’re here to help you reduce exam anxiety
Are you feeling ready for exams? It’s okay if you’re not quite there yet. As you prepare for exam season, it’s important to practice self-care. We’re gathering helpful information, study sessions, tips and resources and more — all in one place.
Winter 2023 classes end on April 12. The exam period is April 14 to 29. Go to Mosaic and select “My Exam Schedule” to view your exams. Visit the Registrar Office’s website for more important dates and information.
Before exam day
Review exam guidelines
Exams can be extra overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. Whether it’s an online or in-person exam, you need to follow the university’s examination protocols. Check out the Registrar’s website to learn about these things and more.
- Places to take online exams on campus
- Important information about exam conflicts, illness and accommodations
- Guidelines for using calculators during exams
- What to do when leaving an exam
- Deferred exams
- External exams
Get Faculty support as needed
Do you have questions about your program or course requirements? Or, do you want to talk with someone about your academics? It’s time to contact your Faculty’s academic advising office.
Here are some examples of topics that an academic advisor can help with:
- What to do if you miss an exam
- The McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) process
- Questions about future courses, majors, course selection, program selection
- Switching Faculties (contact the Faculty you’re thinking about switching to)
- Last-minute accommodation needs
Find your exam locations
On exam day
Before entering the exam room
- Masks are strongly encouraged but not mandatory.
- McMaster student cards or government issued photo ID are required at all examinations.
- If you don’t have any photo ID on them, you won’t be allowed in the exam room. You can get a supplementary card at IWC B122 or PGCLL M25.
- Remember to use the washroom before entering the exam room.
- You will be able to enter an exam room up to 30 minutes after the start of an exam.
After you enter the exam room
- If you bring a backpack, you’ll be asked to leave it against the wall of the room.
- When entering the exam room, you should find a seat and make sure that you’re writing the correct exam written by your instructor. (Some courses have different exams for each class section. I.e., Econ 1B03 C01, Econ 1B03 C02.)
- Place your student card or government issued photo ID on the upper right-hand corner of the desk. Leave it there until the invigilator has collected your completed exam.
- Other personal belongings and food:
- Small personal belongings (e.g., purse, cell phone) may be placed under the chair or desk.
- All electronic devices or cell phones must be turned off.
- Drinks are only allowed in spill-proof containers. No food is allowed.
- Hats with brims must be removed or the brim must be turned to the back.
Once the exam's started
- Make sure that all exam papers, booklets, scan sheets and scrap paper have your name, student number, subject and course code.
- Ensure that scan sheets are filled in — no extra time is given to complete the scan sheet.
- If you need anything (e.g., pencil, scrap paper, washroom break), raise your hand and an invigilator will come to you.
- If you need a McMaster-approved calculator (Casio fx-991 and Casio fx-991MS), you can ask an invigilator to borrow one.
- In the event of a fire alarm or any emergency, you should remain seated; exam staff will provide instructions.
- If you arrive late, no extra time will be allowed to complete your exam.
- You aren’t allowed to leave an exam room until 45 minutes has elapsed from the start of the exam (even if you complete the exam before that time).
About Scantron exams
The Scantron is a testing device that’s often used for multiple-choice exams. Your exam will come with instructions on how to properly fill in the Scantron sheet. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the answer sheet is properly completed.
Here are some general guidelines you’ll need to follow:
- The scanner, which reads the sheets, senses the bubble-shaded areas by their non-reflection of light. A heavy mark must be made, completely filling the circular bubble, with an HB pencil.
- Marks made with a pen or felt-tip marker will not be sensed. Erasures must be thorough or the scanner may still sense a mark.
- Do not use correction fluid on the sheets. Do not put any unnecessary marks or writing on the answer sheet.
- Ensure all your answers are entered on the sheet. You won’t have additional time at the end of the exam to fill out your scan sheet.
Exam Prep: Writing Your ExamMarch 24, 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. ET (Mills L215)
Come join Dr. Kajiura from the Department of Biology and our very own writing specialist to have an open chat about approaches to writing.
Studying in STEMMarch 30, 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. ET (Mills L215)
Are you a STEM student and having trouble effectively studying? Join us for a 20-minute conversation to learn more about the different studying strategies you can use to heighten your success in the classroom and beyond.
How to Take Multiple-Choice ExamsApril 6, 11:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. ET
Let’s talk about multiple-choice exams. Come learn some test-taking tips and strategies so you can excel on your next exam. This session is being led by a student program assistant with the writing and academic skills team. They’ll share advice and research-based best practices to help you succeed.
Writing and academic skills appointments
- Academic peer mentoring (30 minutes): Meet with an upper-year academic peer mentor to create a study plan, chat about test-taking strategies and learn how to use your lecture notes to study.
- Academic coaching (50 minutes): Meet with a professional education expert to get holistic academic support, monitor your progress, build academic resilience and more.
- Writing support (50 minutes): Book an appointment with a writing advisor, offered by the Writing Centre. They can help you at any stage in the writing process, in any academic discipline.
Book appointments on OSCARplus, under Student Success Centre > Appointments > Academic Skills.
When it comes to tutoring, you want to connect with someone who’s trained and knowledgeable about the subject. This is where the Undergrad Peer Tutoring Network can help. This service offers high-quality tutoring that can help you take your learning to the next level. Tutors are trained upper-year students who earned at least an A- or 10 grade in the course.
All tutors agree to charge $15–$20 per hour.
Are you interested in helping other students with their academics? Do you have an A- average? Apply to be a tutor! Pay ranges $15–20 per hour. Learn more about becoming a tutor.
Subject-specific study sessions
Join us for study sessions where you can get things done while meeting other students studying the same subject.
SSC study spacesMonday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET
Good news! The SSC’s campus locations are open for studying.
- Student Success Centre, Gilmour Hall 110
- SSC: Career and Experiential Lounge, McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) B118
- SSC: Writing and Academic Skills Hub, Mills Library 215
McMaster Library hours
McMaster Library hours will be extended to provide space for students to study. This includes a 24-hour space at H.G. Thode Library starting December 7. Earplugs and other resources are also available at each library’s service desk.
Your Archway mentor is here to help. Meet with them to ask questions about exams and anything else that’s on your mind right now. Connect with your mentor on Microsoft Teams or via email to get started.
Email email@example.com if you’re not sure how to contact your mentor.
Your Residence Life community advisor (CA) is here to help. Meet with them to ask questions about exams and anything else that’s on your mind right now.
Plus, you can get help from upper-year tutors in Science and Engineering at the Residence Academic Centre in the Les Prince Conference Room (Monday to Thursday, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET.
Student Wellness Centre
StressLess (drop-in sessions)
The StressLess drop-in session is an opportunity to explore not just how to manage your stress, but also why you might get so stressed out in the first place. Using an anti-colonial framework, we informally discuss themes such as motivation, rest, pressure, fear of failure and anxiety. We will explore nervous system regulation and stress management strategies such as mindfulness, tapping, progressive muscle relaxation and others.
Drop-in sessions will be available online. Email Zeinab Khawaja firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link for the online meeting.
Drop-in clinic appointments are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis. These appointments are available for students with urgent needs and/or for students who are not currently connected with a counsellor.
- Monday to Wednesday, check-in begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.
- Thursday check-in starts at 1:00 p.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.
- Friday check-in starts at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.
McMaster Community Fridge
We know exam season can be challenging! If you are in need of a quick snack or meal, you can swing by the fridge and grab what you need. The fridge is open 24/7 and located behind Mills Library, in front of parking lot B.
The McMaster Community Fridge aims to reduce barriers and support food security by providing fresh food and non-perishable items at no cost to those who need it. We want to emphasize the McMaster Community Fridge is a resource meant for everyone! Take what you need, leave what you can.
Black Student Success Centre
Black Student Success Centre LoungeMonday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET (PGCLL M07)
The Black Student Success Centre’s communal lounge remains open for students to drop in and relax, unwind and take a break during exams.
Access to check-ins remain available (in person and online). This is great for sharing concerns, needs or clarity for campus-wide referrals if and when needed. If you’re confused about the support you need, then ask us at the Black Student Success Centre. We’ll help you get to the right service.
Mental health peer support
Do you need a safe space with fellow Black students to talk about wellness as it relates to the Black student experience during exams?
The student-led Black X-Scape offers space for Black students to have safe and liberating discussions about mental health and healing. Black students can freely express themselves, and have conversations on the nuances of mental health, wellness, stigma and more. Together, we can share resources, support, coping skills and collective healing, and explore and expand on meaningful Blackness.
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