Uni life can be complicated at first, so this site will help make it a little easier to navigate your first semester at Monash. The weeks listed here represent the twelve teaching weeks of semester. Just start scrolling to browse topics to see important deadlines to help you manage your studies each week. 


Content loaded - click to close

Preparing for final assessments

Preparing for final assessments

Prepare for the day

To prepare for the day, make sure you check:

Register for a workshop on preparing for final assessments

Take advantage of the free workshops we have on offer to help you prepare for your assessments.

We have workshops on beating procrastination and creating an effective study schedule, revision strategies, what you can expect during an eExam, effective strategies for sitting a timed assessment etc.

The workshops start in week 10 of semester, so be sure to register before then. For further details, see workshops on preparing for final assessments.

Make a revision timetable

Prepare a revision timetable as soon as possible. Consider:

  • studying in short to medium-length blocks, so you stay focused and alert
  • varying what you study on a single day, so you can maintain your interest
  • allocating more time for the subjects you found more difficult and the assessments that are worth more of your overall mark
  • allowing time for relaxation and exercise.

Find out about the assessment format and what it will cover

  • Ask your lecturer. Many will talk about the exam in the final lectures or tutorials, so make sure you keep going to classes.
  • Talk to students who've already done the unit.

Review your unit materials

  • Go over your topic schedule in Moodle. This should give you an overview of all the topics covered in the unit, and the unit goals and objectives.
  • Make a list of topics to review.
  • Review your lecture notes, and the key reading, or notes based on them.
  • Write notes on each topic as you go.
  • Make flashcards if you have to remember information.
  • Practice writing answers to questions.
  • Organise your notes with tabs or index lists if you're allowed to take them into eExams or other assessment tasks (some open book tests allow this).

You might also want to think about forming study groups to help you keep motivated and tackle more challenging units. You can ask each other review questions.

Look after yourself

Final assessments and the weeks leading up to them can be very stressful. So it's important to look after yourself. Make sure you try to:

  • avoid all-night study sessions, particularly if you have a hectic finals schedule
  • eat well. Avoid junk food, and foods and drinks with high sugar or caffeine content
  • try to get a little exercise every day. Walking is a great way to beat stress and improve your energy levels and concentration.
Sitting final assessments

Give yourself plenty of time before each assessment to set everything up and be ready to log in on time.

Managing your time

Reading time (or reading and noting time) is incorporated into the overall duration of all exams. Once the exam starts, it's a good idea to:

  • read the instructions carefully. If you don't understand something, ask a supervisor
  • note the types of questions: multiple choice, short answer, essays
  • note the marks you could get for each question. Plan the time you'll spend on each question based on this
  • set your priorities. You might decide to:
    • do the easy questions first to give you confidence for the rest of the exam
    • answer the questions worth more marks early, in case you run out of time.

Make sure you can see the clock in the exam room. Keep an eye on it as you work through your exam.

Go to Learn HQ for more tips on completing timed assessments.

What to do if you go blank

If you go blank:

  • stop and take some deep breaths. Stretch out your arms. Close your eyes and let your mind go blank. Just breathe for a few minutes until you feel more relaxed.
  • start writing on scrap paper. Write anything – the topic, related words. See if this helps you get started.
  • move on to the next question. You can go back to the problem question later.

If a question seems too difficult, leave it and move to the next question. Come back to it later if you have time.

If you're about to run out of time and have questions unanswered, just answer in point form.

Answering assessment questions

Understand the question

Read the question carefully. Underline the key words and phrases, paying particular attention to direction words and limiting words.

Direction word examples

These explanations are just a guide. Don't assume these are exactly the same meaning that your lecturer intends. The distinctions between them are a little blurry.

  • Analyse - examine the issue in detail. What are the essential elements? How are they related? What are the strengths and weaknesses or advantages and disadvantages?
  • Argue - present a case for or against a particular position.
  • Compare - consider items or issues side by side. Point out their similarities, but also their differences if appropriate.
  • Comment on - point out the important features of an issue. Be critical.
  • Contrast - consider items or side by side. Point out their differences, but also their similarities if appropriate.
  • Critically - analyse in a questioning way. How does this work? Why is it like this?
  • Define - discuss the meaning of the concept or idea. Refer to authoritative definitions.
  • Describe - characterise, outline or detail the issue.
  • Discuss - describe, explain, give examples, analyse.
  • Evaluate - attempt to come to a judgement by discussing the issue. Refer to advantages and disadvantages or costs and benefits.
  • Examine - critically discuss the issue.
  • Explain - interpret, clarify and expand on the issue. Give reasons for different views or results. Try to analyse causes.
  • Illustrate - use examples (and sometimes diagrams or figures) to explain or clarify an idea, issue or statement.
  • Justify - give reasons to support a position or statement.
  • Outline - present the essential features. Show the main and subordinate points, structure or classification of things.
  • Review - examine an idea or issues critically. Analyse and comment on the important or controversial elements.
  • State - present the main points in a clear sequence.
  • Summarise - give the main points or facts in a condensed form.

Limiting word examples

  • always
  • never
  • not
  • since WW2 (or since some other time)
  • in Australia (or in some other location or context).

Plan before you answer the question

Depending on the length of the assessment and the marks allocated to the question, do a little planning on scrap paper before you write.

  • Write down any mnemonics or memory anchors to help you with the question.
  • Note key points you need to cover.

Think about what the question is asking you to do. Think about it in terms of the objectives of your unit and your understanding of what your lecturer was trying to achieve.

Focus on answering the question directly. Avoid padding with irrelevant information.

Review your answers

Try to leave enough time to review your answers.

For short answer and essay questions:

  • Make sure each point you make is clear.
  • Check that your ideas are in proper sequence.
  • Is your writing is legible?

Check that you've answered all the questions.

Go to Learn HQ for more tips on how to approach common final assessment questions.

Alternative arrangements for students with disabilities

If you have a disability or medical condition, you may be able to make alternative arrangements for your assessments.

You might be allowed:

  • extra time for writing or to take rest breaks
  • alternative assessment paper formats such as large print, Braille or audio
  • specialised equipment or furniture
  • a scribe, reader, or AUSLAN interpreter
  • to sit your eExam at a different location or time.

You must:

  • register with Disability Support Services as early as possible, so appropriate arrangements can be made
  • provide signed documentation (from your doctor or other health professional) detailing your condition and how it impacts your study.

You may also be eligible for special consideration.

Special consideration

In exceptional circumstances beyond your control (for instance, if you are very unwell or severely affected by hardship, trauma or grief), you may be eligible for special consideration.

If you're unable to:

  • sit or complete a final assessment, you may be allowed to sit a deferred assessment
  • complete an assignment, you may be given extra time to do so.

Special consideration is not:

  • an adjustment to your marks
  • automatically guaranteed
  • available if you have already handed in your final assignment or sat your exam. You must apply before you complete your assessment.

You can apply for special consideration:

  • for an assignment (up to two working days after it was due; but if you can, contact your chief examiner for a short extension first)
  • before your final assessment (up to five working days before)
  • if something exceptional happens on the day of your assessment (up to two days after your last final scheduled assessment)
  • if you become ill during the assessment, you must immediately notify your supervisor.

You'll need to fill in a form and provide documentary evidence of your situation.

See apply for special consideration.