How to prepare for university if your exams are cancelled

The final year of school brings all kinds of emotions with it. Stress, panic, excitement, hard work, and maybe even a little sadness as you come to the end of an academic era in your life. All these things are part of the process that prepares you for the next stage. For many, that’s going on to university. With so much cancelled for this year’s students, including the benchmark of formal exams, what can you do to help prepare for university this year?

Get ahead on reading lists

Hopefully by now you have a fairly good idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. Of course, there will still be a form of assessment this year, much like students experienced in 2020, so you will still need to go through the process of finding out where you have been accepted. Wherever you go, getting ahead on any reading lists can be a great way to feel more confident and excited about university. 

Get into the university mindset

Look to expand your passion beyond the classroom by researching topics that you’re personally interested in and perhaps wouldn’t look into when doing exam preparation. It’s a great way to really develop your passion for studying and get into the university mindset, which is much more about independent thinking than the typical school environment.

Check out research programmes

Experiencing different ways of learning can be a powerful way to broaden your horizons and develop your passion for your area of study. For example, research programmes targeted at the career you think you would like to go into – such as finance, tech, investment, engineering or accounting. They can be a great way of developing professional skills.

Collaborate with your peers

Seminar groups based around discussion and collaboration are a big part of the learning process at university. While our lives may be characterised by a lack of social gatherings at the moment, technology does allow us to work together. You could consider taking the lead and setting up a peer group on Zoom to discuss and debate topics that you feel confident or passionate about. Make it fun and give each member the chance to lead the discussions on rotation.

Consider your sources

When you’re interested in a topic, take different opportunities to learn. For example, if you’re a passionate history student, pick an area of interest and explore it from different angles. That can be as varied as looking at primary sources on museum websites, reading secondary sources in the form of history books (maybe even some by professors at your university of choice), and even looking at how that period is being portrayed in fiction. You could even call some of that Netflix binging research! Use those different perspectives to gather your thoughts and maybe even develop new hypotheses!