College changes a lot of things and it also understandably changes the way you take exams. Come November end, an entire batch of first years will be taking University exams for the first time. Despite having given exams (a lot of them) all throughout school life, they are bound to feel a little unprepared for it. They should too. The preparation and pattern of a University exam is pretty different than that of a most school exams. From the perspective of an erstwhile under-CBSE Science student and current Economics student, here are 5 reasons how University Exams are different than school exams:

  1. Pace of the Semester and Syllabus Completion:

    Remember how in school the syllabus was finished weeks before the exams actually began? Yeah, that’s not usually true for college exams. You’ll often find teachers scrambling to finish their syllabus and asking for extra classes. You can’t blame them either, with all the activities and mass-bunks, the teachers find themselves with a lot less classes than actually allotted to them. For first years especially, the pace of the first semester will be tremendous. Expected to adjust to a lot of changes- new subjects and what not- you might find yourself face to face with them a lot more abruptly than comfortable, unlike the much more paced out school years.


  1. There’s no one book:

    For CBSE students, NCERT in Class XI and XII (and pretty much always) was The Holy Bible, The Bhagvad Gita, and every other important book you can think of. The cons (and sort of a pro) of college is that you’ll be referring to several books, all of which will be big and expensive, thus making it difficult for you to buy all of them, let alone one. Unless you’re a misinformed pseudo-intellectual like I was, you’d have embraced the photocopied relevant portions of all books (called ‘readings’). The issue with readings is that it never achieves the flow or uniformity of a book. Each author uses different symbols for different variables and asks you to refer to previous chapters for concepts which portion isn’t there from that same book, leading to a little bit of confusion. The advantage is that the same concept is explained in a number of ways and since you know the relevant books, you can look them up in the library and refer to the one which works for you the best. College exams, or any exam, at the end of the day, are about your concepts.


  1. The amount you’ll care about them:

    I don’t know about you but I took exams way more seriously in school than I do in college. Whether it’s about a change in perspective, priorities or having found things more important than academics (internships, societies, social work and others), your college life won’t revolve around your studies unless you very consciously want it to. You’ll study for exams as you should, but you will feel a difference in the motivation you have for studying. The reason for this could be anything from lack of interaction with your teachers (which served as a motivating factor for me during school) to lack of time.


With the semester exams not that far away, it’s imperative to dust off those books and sharpen pencils for a few weeks of toil, no matter how well or little you studied throughout the semester. To first years: you got this. It’s not that tough. Spend your time studying rather than freaking out about it. To us seasoned not-first years: another semester, another exam season. You’ve got this figured out now. Stick to what works, change what doesn’t. See you on the other side!

Featured Image: vox.com


Shubham Kaushik

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