Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo
COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Student taking a multiple choice exam.

8 Tips for surviving exams

We all know that healthy food, sleep and a few deep breaths can help on exam day but what do you do if you wake up sick? Find tips on how to keep healthy, access study help on campus, and what to do if you do if the worst happens and you find yourself sick on exam day.

Apr 16, 2019

  1. Make an exam study plan and let it guide you
  • Plan ahead; give yourself time to prepare.
  • Get help when you need it; pace yourself. The Student Success Center runs exam prep workshops from multiple choice prep to time management tips and more, they are there to help you get through the exam season. Sign-up for FREE workshops on OSCARplus.
  1. Read your exam schedule carefully
  • Check your Mosaic Student Centre for your exam timetable.
  • Put dates, rooms & times in your calendar with reminders.
  1. Sleep, sleep, sleep! And don't forget to eat
  • Get plenty of rest; take study breaks
  • Ensure you get enough sleep the night before an exam – avoid staying up all night.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (coffee dehydrates you) and make sure your're eating healthy foods. Make breakfast your new buddy.
  • Remember to Relax and Breathe!
  1. Be exam-day ready
  • Give yourself time to accommodate for traffic, poor weather, delays, or car trouble.
  • Sleeping in or bad traffic is not a sufficient reason to grant you a deferred examination.
  1. What if you feel unwell on exam day?
  • If you feel your illness will diminish your ability to perform well on your exam, do not write the exam.
  • Once you sit for a final exam the course is completed and your grade is final.
  • If your illness prevents you from writing the exam see a doctor at the earliest possible date, ideally on or before the date of the missed exam.
  1. What if you miss an exam?
  • If you miss an exam due to illness, provide the Office of the Associate Dean (Academic Advising Office, KTH 129) with your medical documentation as soon as possible to submit a request for a deferred exam.
  • If you miss an exam due to other unforeseen circumstances (such as a car accident or death in the family), appropriate documentation with verifiable origin covering the relevant dates must be submitted, normally within five working days. Contact the Office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences if you have any questions or concerns regarding required documentation.
  • If you miss multiple exams, meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss a plan for completing deferred exams and your academic course load in Term 2.
  • Deferred examination requests will not be approved for travel/vacations.
  1. How do deferred exams work?
  • If the deferred examination is granted, you will be informed officially by means of the notation DEF which will appear on the relevant course your grade report.
  • Please follow up with the Faculty if the DEF does not appear on your record within 10 business days of submitting a completed Deferred Examination Application.
  • Deferred Exams are written during the next official University deferred examination period: December exams are written during Reading Week in February and April exams that are deferred are written in June.
  1. What happens if you miss a deferred exam?
  • You need to write an approved deferred examination. Missed deferred exams cannot be deferred again.
  • If you do not write a deferred exam, you will receive a failing grade for the exam.