The Ultimate Guide to Exams

First time sitting an exam at Unimelb? Or just in need of a refresher on how this exam thing works?

Here are some pointers we’ve put together to help you get ready for exams.

Before your exam

1. Double check your exam venue

You’ll be surprised at the number of people who get exam venues mixed up (exam stress gets to the best of us). Firstly, Royal Exhibition Building (REB) and Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre are two completely different places. REB is next to Melbourne Museum and is about a 15 minute walk from campus. You’re in for an awful surprise if you turn up to the Convention Centre next to Crown on exam day.

Royal Exhibition Building in all its glory

Also, don’t assume your exam is at REB. There have been cases where people had to run from REB to Wilson Hall after getting venues mixed up. Don’t be that person.

2. Wear tons of layers!

The key word here is layers. REB is unforgivingly cold. Hey, you may even want to consider wearing a onesie. However, bear in mind that there’s a chance you’ll get a seat directly under a heater and end up sweating profusely like a pig. LAYER UP!

3. Bring only your essentials

Bring only what you need such as stationery, money, myki and concession card. Avoid bringing anything you can’t afford to lose (laptops, ipads etc.). You can store small bags and valuables under your desk, but larger things need to be stored away.

Normally we would have those storage containers outside exam venues, but this has changed.

Goodbye storage containers!

Instead of storage containers, we now have storage rooms inside venues for better security. In saying that, it’s still not 100% secure. One thing to note is that the storage rooms will reopen at the end of the exam. Meaning that if you finish your exam early, you can’t get your things until the official end of the exam.

More info about storage spaces:

Edit: These storage rooms don’t seem to exist at either venues. We’ve been told by examiners to put our bags under desks. Just FYI.

4. Plan your route and get to your exam early

If you’re travelling by public transport, always leave earlier as we all know public transport is never reliable. Some tend to get to the exam 30-40 minutes early and hang around. If you have an exam at REB, you’ll find tons of people hiding out in the Museum next door to stay warm.

Highly recommend that you download the metroNotify app or follow Metro/Yarra Trams on Twitter to check if there are any delays with public transport.

5. Bring little snacks

Although the University policy is against us bringing food into exams (except for medical reasons), we haven’t heard of examiners taking away people’s snacks. However, please be mindful about what you bring in. No one wants to be stuck next to the person eating crunchy potato chips. Pack your small snacks in clear containers/ziplock bags.

6. Write your seat number on your hand

Seat numbers will become available on your exam timetable on the student portal in the days leading up the exam.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 11.38.47 pm
Exhibit A

If you forget your seat number, or didn’t have a chance to look, don’t stress – there will be giant sheets of paper out the front of your exam with everyone’s seat number on it. However, there is usually hordes of people frantically checking this, so your safest bet is to write it on your hand.

7. Don’t forget to bring your student card

It’s important to have your student card with you during exams. As soon as your get to your desk and finish lining up your pencils in an OCD fashion, get out your student card and put it on your desk.

The examination supervisor will come by your desk to mark you off the role, and they will need to see it. If for some reason you don’t have your student ID, see here for other forms of ID you can bring.

8. Have your belongings ready the day before

Make sure the day before your exam that you have a clear plastic bag with your stationery, student card, a clear drink bottle and myki already packed. You can also buy transparent pencil cases from Officeworks if you want. See here for a list of things you’re allowed to bring into your exam.

And for the love of your bank account, don’t forget to bring your concession card if you’re travelling on a concession myki. Ticket inspectors don’t take days off on exam days.

9. Check the dictionary policy for your exams

This builds off the previous point, if English is not your first language – do check if you are allowed to bring a language dictionary in before exam day. Some exams will allow this, but require that your dictionary is approved prior taking it into the exam.

10. Wooden shoes/heels is a NO NO NO

As you may know, heels on wooden floors = super loud. The wooden floor of REB and Wilson Hall is not the Victoria’s Secret runway.

11. Reading time is included in your exam time

Read this part slowly and carefully to avoid confusion. Back in the day, if you had a 8.30am exam, you exam really started at 8.15am because it didn’t include the 15 minute reading time. But now this has changed and reading time is included in your exam time. If you have a 8.30am exam with 15 minutes readings time, reading time starts at 8.30am.

ON exam day

12. Go to the toilet BEFORE the exam.

There’s usually some time before the exam where you can use the bathrooms, so make use of it! You do not want to waste your time walking down the exam hall to the toilet and back to your seat. YOUR TIME IS PRICELESS! Unless you’re doing a first year psychology paper…you’ve got all the time in the world.

13. If your exam table is shaky, talk to an examiner

Don’t sit through your entire exam with a wobbly table. Get the examiner’s attention, and they’ll give you a piece of cardboard to put under your desk to stop it from shaking.

14. Take advantage of UMSU’s Exam Support Stall.

If you’re at REB, UMSU volunteers man an Exam Support Stall everyday. If you need last minutes things before your exam, then can help you out. They sell stationery, bottles of water, and can lend out calculators.

15. You can’t leave the exam in the first 30 minutes, and in the last 15 minutes

Just FYI. More info:

16. You won’t be able to enter the exam room 30 minutes after the exam begins

You will be locked out if you’re 30 minutes late, but if there’s some major disruption that affects a large number of students, you may be allowed in. More info:

after THE EXAM

17. UMSU Advocacy is there to help

If you are late to an exam due to circumstances outside of your control, are unable to attend for any other reason, or are charged with academic misconduct during your exam (e.g. having unauthorised materials or you are suspected of cheating), call or visit UMSU Advocacy ASAP. They are there to help in all these situations, and can help the process result in the best outcome possible.

18. Don’t forget your free end of exams crepe!

Perhaps the best part of exams! Although Carte Crepes haven’t officially announced it yet, they have confirmed to us that this tradition will continue this semester. On the last day of your exam, head over to Carte, show them your exam timetable and be on your merry way with a free crepe in hand!


There we have it! Hope those tips and pointers help you feel less anxious about exams. We’d also like to thank 13 MELB for their help with this post.

Good luck with the studying!

– The Unimelb Adventures crew

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