Academic Integrity,  Assessment and Evaluation

Things to Tell New USask Students about Final Exams

There are many unstated or rarely stated norms and practices associated with the final exam setting.

New students need to learn the ropes.  This is especially important for students who are:

    • writing their first university exams because they are new to university study (like first year students),
    • new to USask (like transfer students),
    • new to Canadian higher education (like international students), and/or
    • returning to USask after only a COVID-based experience of remote exams.

It’s a good idea to reduce uncertainty and to avert distress during exams.

What can you do?

Tell students what to expect and explain what is expected of them in the conditions for the final exam.

    • Double check you have the details right for the exam
    • Be specific, students may not know what they don’t know, so relying on them to initiate questions will be a problem.

15 Good questions to answer for students:

1. Where is the exam? (they could assume it’s in the room where the course is taught)
2. How much time is allowed for the exam?
3. When should students arrive at the exam location and when should they expect to be allowed into the space?
4. What should they bring and have with them during the exam?  e.g., student card, pen, pencil, eraser
5. What will they be allowed access to during the exam, if anything?  e.g., formula sheet, textbook, calculator
6. Will they be able to bring a drink or food with them?
7. What will they be asked to do with their belongings? Will their belongings be secure?
8. How will they know what time it is if they can’t keep their phones with them?
9. Will students from other courses be writing their exams in the same space? If yes, how will your students find the right exam?
10. What if there are questions during the exam, will you be there?
11. What about needing to use the bathroom during the exam? (Or, if there is a need to cough or to blow one’s nose?)
12. Will there be invigilators other than the instructor? (And what does invigilation mean and what is an invigilator?)
13. What behaviours are invigilators watching for that suggest exam cheating?
14. What happens if cheating is discovered during the exam?
15. What should they do if they have more questions?


You can help students avoid uncertainty, surprises, and distress on exam day.