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May 25, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Time to prep for exams

The end of the Trimester 1 is within sight and assignment due dates and examinations are looming. In order to help reduce the number of stressed students on campus, this article will offer suggestions about how to avoid the examination blues and generally how to continue enjoying your time as a student at Victoria University.

We recognise that for many first year students the transition from high school to university can be challenging. A few years ago a survey of first-year undergraduate students at Victoria showed that

  • A third of students who responded had doubts about the courses they had chosen.
  • Nearly half of the students acknowledged that they needed to improve their academic skills and that they had not been doing enough work.
  • Around 13% of students stated that they were experiencing emotional health issues.
  • About 20% were finding it difficult to fit in or measure up with other students.

It seems that there are a lot of students wondering about what they are doing, feeling that they need to improve their study skills and work harder, and possibly thinking about ways to improve their emotional health and how to relate to other students. Therefore if you are feeling any of these things, you are not alone.

It is not expected that students have to sort out issues such as these by themselves. Just remember, Student Services Te Huinga Ratonga Tauira is here to help you and that it is okay to ask for help. At Victoria University we would like to support students so that they can enjoy their studies and be a part of our community. We would like to prevent people getting sad and lonely and not achieving to their full potential. Asking for help is a healthy thing and doing so generally means that you will do better and feel happier than those who try to struggle alone.

With examinations approaching you may like to visit the Student Learning and Support Service (SLSS). The SLSS will be offering a range of exam-related workshops from 19 May until 4 June 2009. Classes are FREE and they are held in the SLSS seminar room. No need to book, just turn up on the day. You can view the workshop timetable at

The workshops focus on:

  • Revision Strategies—find out ways to make revision part of your study routine so you are able to improve your understanding and improve you exam performance.
  • Test and Exam Techniques—Brush up on your old strategies and learn new ones so you feel well prepared and cope well in exams.
  • Exam Essays—Now is a good time to finetune your essay writing skills for exams. Learn strategies that will help you to improve your exam grades.
  • STATS workshops or drop in times are particularly helpful for people studying QUAN102 and STAT193.


  • Learning advisers are also available for individual appointments at Kelburn, Pipitea and Karori.
  • For any quick queries visit the Study and Writing Helpdesk in the Rankine Brown library, level 2. Available Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm.

For appointments, contact:
Student Learning Support Service
Level 0, Kirk Wing
Gate 2
Kelburn Parade
or call 463 5999.

Another service you may like to contact, especially if you are among the students who are having doubts about the courses you have chosen, is the Career Development and Employment Service—commonly known as Vic Careers. This service can provide you with guidance regarding career options, including:

  • Helping you to match your courses, personality type, and personal interests to career/employment opportunities.
  • Workshops on applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.
  • Victoria CareerHub; go online to find out about part-time jobs, holiday work, work experience, internships—use the Resume Builder to prepare your CV.
  • Daily drop-in hours where you can get your CV checked or pop in for quick queries and advice.
  • Graduate recruitment programmes and ‘Careers in Focus’ networking events tailored to your course of study.
  • Support for international students, including guidance regarding work requirements.
  • Scholarship databases for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

For more information including opening hours and locations on the Kelburn and Pipitea campuses, visit their website or call 463 5393.


If for some reason your preparation for, or performance in an examination or other item of assessment was impaired, or you have been prevented from attending examinations or completing an item of assessment because of illness, injury, or other circumstances outside your control, you can apply for an aegrotat. An aegrotat will give you a “G” Grade on your academic record. The aegrotat system covers the last three weeks of the trimester and up to the date of your last examination. For more information, visit

If you have any questions at all regarding how to apply for an aegrotat, please contact your Faculty, the Student Health Service or the Counselling Service.

Something you can do to prepare for the study and examination period is to think of ways to take care of yourself. Make a plan which allows you to focus on your studies. You may have to temporarily reduce commitments which will require you to use your negotiation skills with your family, flatmates, friends and your employer and work colleagues. If you let them know what is going on they are more likely to be understanding and do what they can to help. Try to get enough sleep, around eight hours a night, eat nutritious foods, stay chemical and alcohol free, try to get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity into your day and get the influenza vaccine. All these healthy behaviours will no doubt help boost your immune system and also help to prevent common winter illnesses such as colds and influenza. Take care, enjoy the challenge, and remember after exams you have the mid-year break!

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