A group of students studying at their laptops

PASS exam sessions…what the?

It’s that time again, when uni feels like feeding time at the zoo. You finally handed in that final assignment, a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, you feel like you can breathe again.

But then you remember something… exams start in a matter of weeks.

How can you possibly prepare for a final exam in two weeks? You’ve been so busy you haven’t even given this any thought. Isn’t there something that can make all of this easier? Surely other students are feeling the same.

I’ve got good news for you. They do. And there is something that can help.

If you haven’t attended a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS), it’s not too late. PASS runs exam sessions (aka intensive PASS) for you to compare your notes, discuss topics you find difficult and go over weekly materials for the course. PASS sessions are prepared and run by a student PASS leader who previously achieved excellent results in your course. These sessions are free and their purpose it to provide you with all the equipment to smash that exam. PASS sessions are currently online and easily accessible via your Canvas site.

Let me take you back to a time where an inexperienced first-year student had an exam on microeconomics.

They had no idea what on earth was going on in this class. But unfortunately, this was a core course that had to be conquered. The topics about this course were so overwhelming that preparing for the exam was difficult and they couldn’t concentrate on what were important parts.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to help shed a light on what are the important exercises and topics are for the exam. As PASS is run by past students who have previously taken the course, they know what basic topics are included in the exam.

With a failed mid-semester exam and barely a pass for the last assignment, the student thought there was no way she could pass. Walking into a PASS session welcomed by the PASS leader and other students immediately settled her nerves. The leader handed out a booklet that had questions related to the whole 13-week course. There was then an opportunity to ask questions of the leader and other students and everyone worked together to help answer the question.  The worksheet helped declutter the content of the entire course and focus on the important sections in greater detail. For a student who thought they were going to fail, you can imagine how surprised they were when they passed the course due to a great exam mark.

If you haven’t picked up on it already, this student is me…AND I PASSED THE COURSE! Not only did attending this session help with the nitty-gritty, it also helped with my exam confidence by making me well prepared for my final exam.

PASS Program Coordinator Karen Cutts says that PASS exam revision sessions give students the opportunity to consolidate what they know and work with their peers to sort out those bits and pieces they aren’t quite clear about before they head into their exams. She also states that research shows the power of studying with your peers – one hour in PASS equals three hours individual study. So, while PASS exam revision sessions shouldn’t be the only preparation you do for your exams, if they are available for your course you certainly should consider taking the time to attend a session. They may just be the element that tips you from a Fail to a Pass or a Distinction to a High Distinction.

You can find out if your course offers PASS here, or check your Course Canvas site for a PASS module.

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