Exams have become a bad word and no one can speak of them without having to roll their eyes or do a deep sigh of sadness. Exam schedule has been released for UOttawa students, and now is the crunch time. Time passed by fast and you need to make sure that a lot of things are in check before you write your exam. A lot seem common sense, but this list of 5 things will simply remind you because students might forget with their brains filled with course lessons.

Where your exam room is and the time

You have to keep checking the times and places your exams are. Exam locations can change the last minute so make sure you are walking into the right room. Not only that but students always forget the days of their exams so make sure you quadruple check. Exams don’t fit your schedule, your schedule fits exams. Make sure your shifts at work are covered and you don’t make any meetings during exam times because you will either make your boss mad or a friend for ditching prior commitments last minute. This may seem common sense, but it does happen even to the most organized of people. Knowing UOttawa, anything can happen.

Stationary and student card

Make sure you have all types of writing utensils. That goes for various colours of pens, pencils and highlighters. You never know what your professor might prefer. Some find that the more colours and highlighters the more my profs thought my exam was organized and easy to read. BUT again that might not be all profs.  Bring multiples of each because your pens or pencils could fail you last minute. Your pencils should also all be sharpened because every second is valuable in a UOttawa exam and time passed by fast. Extra plain sheets of paper also help to write notes or drafts during the exam if the prof doesn’t provide any paper. Along with that, you remember the student card that you barely use, yeah….. you need that for all your exams because the profs can’t memorize your face or your name out of the hundreds of students they have each semester.

Water, water and more water

Hydration is key for your brain. If you drink coffee it’s even more important. bring a reusable water bottle during the exam and drink throughout because you might break a sweat when you’re writing hard. Make sure you know your bladder. If you think you will need to go to the bathroom, maybe drink before the exam and go to the bathroom before the exam starts. Going to the bathroom is a huge waste of precious time so, make sure to squeeze everything out of your system and start fresh. Depending on your room, it might also be very warm so water can be very useful in keeping you comfortable during the exam. Switch out any sugary drinks, coffee or energy drinks with some water, trust me you will feel better.

Making a summarized notes system( cue cards or 1-page notes)

If you have done a lot of studying prior to your exam and it’s a lot of information to memorize, challenge yourself if writing condensed notes. By writing only key things your brain will learn to do without having to rely on your notes. Recently a lot of profs permit formula sheets and cheat sheets for the exam so it’s a good way to help you summarize what you’ve learned and the important concepts. Doing group summarized notes is also great because then you get what different people have taken out of the course and you never know what you missed.

Sleep and food

It’s funny because students think that sleep and eating is a waste of time. It can be really hard to go to sleep especially when UOttawa exams are most of the time super early. Make sure to schedule food and sleep into your study schedule. There is nothing worse you can do to your brain than not eating and sleeping a good amount of hours. UOttawa students have become pros at all-nighters but we have to break that and become pros at sleeping and prioritizing brain health. If you feed your brain and if you get a good night sleep, you will be able to function at full capacity during your three hours of sleep. Don’t give the excuse of “I’ll sleep after I complete the exam”.


Making sure you’ve tapped into all of the 5 things above will make your UOttawa exam period a little easier. Take care of yourself and make sure to relax. The more relaxed and confident you are in your abilities the better your results. Organization is key especially when you don’t get to pick your exam schedule. You might be stuck with 3 back to back exams, or you might not. ust make sure you know what you will be facing in the coming April month.


I’m a 3rd-year International Development student at the University of Ottawa.

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