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5 Top Tips on how to prepare for remote assessments

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@ImperialCollege advice on how to prepare for the remote assessments which are coming up for many students 

1. How should I be revising for this new type of assessment?

Your normal revision techniques will be appropriate for remote assessments. Just remember that before you start revising for any one particular module it is important to make sure you have a good grasp of what knowledge and understanding the exam assessment will be testing you on and what information you need to know.

While revising try and have a suitable place to work. Ideally this would, comfortable, quiet space free from distractions. If possible, try and create a work-free area as well for relaxing in.

Most people won’t have a separate room to revise in, but you can use routines to create that mental switch. I’m working from a table in my living room, but I know that when I shut down my computer, that signals the switch for me.

If you are living with others communicate with them to find a solution that works for everyone, and try not to be too short tempered with each other! This might involve some creativity, for example agreeing a schedule, changing rooms throughout the day, or using simple earplugs or headphones.

And if you feel you haven’t got the right environment for revising or doing your assessment, contact your senior tutor or equivalent, and consider submitting mitigating circumstances.

You can find more advice on how to revise for a remote exam, including some tips on revision and revision notes, on the College’s remote learning Success Guide.

2. How long should I revise for each day?

How long you spend revising will depend on how many assessments you are revising for and how you spread out your revision. For all of us working remotely, having a routine and planning a daily schedule for the upcoming week is really helpful. And update your plan daily, for example if you don’t reach your goals for the day you may need to move things to the following day.

A few more tips for productive revision at home:

  1. Set realistic goals, and maybe pair up with another student to discuss any issues that you have. Or contact the staff member who taught the module in whatever way works best for your programme.
  2. Structure your day – have a clear start and an end to the day.
  3. Take regular breaks from your studying, including enough time for a healthy lunch and dinner.
  4. Take time to exercise. If you can go outside then do so, otherwise there are plenty of videos online to help you exercise inside. Staying active prevents us from getting too stiff sitting in front of a computer.
  5. Give yourself time for hobbies or other pastimes, games and friends and family. These things are really important, and you should build time for them into your schedule.
  6. Give yourself some real treats as a reward. For some that might be time on a video game, for others, maybe some chocolate or an online tea break with friends.

3. Will my marks this year count towards my final degree result?

This depends on how your individual programme is structured, and you will already be aware of this from your Director of Undergraduate Studies or Director of Postgraduate Studies and your programme handbook.

The College has introduced a Safety Net Policy which means that if you pass the year, your remote assessments will not have a negative impact on your overall degree result. However, if you perform well, they can bring your average grade up. Your department will have been, or will be in touch with you about how this policy may apply to you and your programme.

If you are concerned that as a result of the current crisis, or any other changes in personal circumstances, you will not be able to do as well as expected in your remote assessments, you should contact your Senior Tutor and discuss mitigating circumstances.

There are lots of helpful FAQs on assessments and Mitigating Circumstances online. For more information visit the College’s COVID-19 assessment FAQs.

4. How can I test that my internet access and computer will work ahead of time?

By now, your department will have been in touch with you to schedule a practice exam. Many of these have already taken place and you may have had feedback from them.

These practice runs allow you to test out your connection and equipment. The students who we have talked to who have had a practice run have learnt a lot about the process and how it works.

If for any reason you missed that practice, then contact your department about having one in advance. It really does help – as in everything the first time we do something can be a little bit odd, and the second time can be much easier.

5. What do I need to do before my first remote assessment?

Your department will remind you what other things you will need for your remote assessment such as paper or a calculator.

You will also have practised how to upload your work, and how your department will contact you if there is an issue during your remote assessment, and if the department need to contact all students.

If you live with others, consider putting up a ‘do not disturb sign’ on the door or on your chair to stop others interrupting you.

During the remote assessment, do the same as you would always do during an exam, even though you are not sitting in a room with other students. There are lots of good tips on the website.

And remember to follow the instructions that you have been provided with by your department, including how to make contact with your department in the unfortunate situation that you have issues.

Any final words of advice?

Remember that you have taken lots of examinations and assessments before and you’ve done well in those in order to get here. We know you can do the same now.

Remote assessments are important, but we all know that they are not the most important thing in the world.

Please stay safe and look after your family and friends and remember, you can only do the best you can. Good luck and stay safe and well.

Dr Lorraine Craig is Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching and Faculty Senior Tutor for the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College

More information for Imperial College students on support is available on their Student Support Zone.

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