What to Bring to Exams

When you have a sit-down exam it’s easy to freak out and bring everything you own so you’ll be prepared for every possible situation. While it’s tempting to play it safe, a lot of things that you bring along will end up being totally unnecessary and a bit of a pain. We’ve put together this list of things that you should and shouldn’t take to your exams, just in case you’re wondering whether or not it’s reasonable to bring a snack, $100 in cash, and your cat.


  • Student card: this will be used to identify you. If you don’t remember to bring your student card, you’ll have to provide an alternative form of photo ID, or report to the examination supervisors after your exam and provide photo ID within four days.
  • Spare pens: three blue or black pens at a minimum for written exams. It’s also recommended you have a red pen to use for headings/underlining/adding extra text etc.
  • Greylead pencils, eraser and sharpener: crucial for multiple choice exams. Make sure the eraser is good quality so it doesn’t leave gross marks all over your exam sheet!
  • Clear plastic bag: this will contain everything you need for the day. You aren’t allowed to bring pencil cases into your exam and you don’t want to risk losing anything, so use one of these to carry your stationery, student card, myki, medication and anything else you might need.
  • Time and location: write it down! People forget things when they are stressed, so make sure you check the time and location of your exam, set multiple alarms, and write it down in a few different places.
  • Seat number: write this down too! You’ll be able to check this at the exam venue, but it’ll mean fighting through a huge crowd. You also don’t want to risk accidentally looking at the wrong student ID because you’re in a rush and consequently ending up in the wrong seat.
  • Tissues: REB in particular gets pretty cold in winter and the last thing you want to be worrying about in your exam is a sniffly nose.
  • Layers: again, REB gets very cold. However, there are heaters scattered about so you might get quite toasty. Dress in easily removed/added layers so you’re prepared for every temperature!
  • A water bottle: make sure it is clear with no labels or writing.
Don’t bring an eraser that is not actually going to erase anything and will turn your paper a funny colour instead.



  • Snacks: rules regarding whether or not snacks are allowed change a bit, but the instigators generally allow them. Avoid bringing anything that’s going to be noisy or smelly unless you want to get death stares. Muesli bars, chewing gum, even a sandwich – all good options. Things that will make someone want to throw things at you: crisps, celery, individually wrapped sweets.
  • Highlighters: these aren’t completely necessary, but they’re wonderful for highlighting key words and concepts in questions, or main points if you have to analyse any text.
  • Study notes: this depends on your study style. While some people find it stressful, others benefit from some last-minute revision. Just be mindful that you may have to throw out your notes once you enter, depending on the personal belongings policy.
  • A watch: you can bring a watch as long as it can’t be used to communicate with other people or store notes, and you’ll have to take it off and place it on your desk. Keep in mind that exam venues have clocks all over the place to make sure that people can keep track of the time.
  • Your phone: you definitely will not need this in the exam, and it can cause a little bit of stress if you’re worrying about whether or not you remembered to turn it off. However, if will definitely need it before or after the exam make sure you turn it off well in advance and double check that it is actually off.
  • Your wallet: again, you won’t need this for the exam but you might need it beforehand or afterwards. If you don’t bring your wallet, make sure you bring another form of photo ID just in case. If you do bring your wallet and won’t be allowed to bring a bag in, consider wearing a coat/jacket with very big pockets that you can put it in during the exam.
Don’t be this guy.


  • Valuables: the university seems to alternate policies regarding personal belongings. Sometimes, you’ll be allowed to bring your bag with you and keep it under your desk. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave it in a shipping container out the front of the venue. These aren’t the most secure locations, and it can take forever to retrieve your things afterwards, so don’t bring anything that isn’t 100% necessary.
  • A bag: only bring a bag if you really, really need to. If you can store all your belongings in a clear plastic bag then go for it. Once again, wearing a coat with very big pockets is a great alternative.
  • Your laptop: if you’re going to study beforehand, make sure you bring physical notes and not your whole laptop. You definitely do not want to have to leave this outside in a shipping container, and it probably won’t look too great if you have it under your desk.
  • Your cat: unfortunately, they must stay at home.


And finally, don’t forget to bring your motivation! Good luck!

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