Group of students hold signs reading: Good luck on exams!

December Exam Jam: Taking time to focus on academics and wellness

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 2:47pm

Exam Jam, one of UTM’s most popular events, returned on December 5. Now in it’s fourth year, the twice-yearly event draws about 3,000 students seeking an academic boost or stress-busting techniques ahead of the winter exam period. This year’s schedule featured about 80 academic review sessions, along with more than 30 wellness activities designed to help students relax and unwind after hitting the books.

“Exam Jam is an opportunity to merge academic and wellness initiatives, and create a holistic approach to student success,” says Ravi Gabble, health education coordinator with UTM’s Health & Counselling Centre. “Students can learn about what they need to to prepare for exams, but also discover techniques to take care of their own health and well-being.”

“Exam Jam comes at the end of the first semester, so it’s a good time to reintroduce all of the services and supports available, especially for first-year students,” says Carianne Leung, success coordinator, academic initiatives, with the Office of Student Transition. “We know students need academic support, but it’s also important to build community, access resources and learn self-care.”

A woman wearing a tan hijab and a green shirt pedals a bike. The bike has a blender mounted over the back wheel blends a pink smoothie drink.The event offered many different academic supports, including instructor-led academic review sessions, as well as drop-in writing and study skills workshops and facilitated study groups led by the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre. New this year, the Office of Student Transition hosted a drop-in motivational study space where participants could pick up study strategies and organizational tips.

The event also featured dozens of wellness activities, including DIY crafts, beauty treatments, outsized games of Jenga and Connect4, board games and a ball pit. The ever-popular St. John Ambulance therapy dogs posed for photos and lapped up attention. New additions included booths hosted by student groups, including the the Afghan Students Association and UTM’s Anthropology Society.

Free energy-boosting snacks were available for the taking, along with fitness challenges to help keep stress levels low, such as table tennis, chair yoga and the very popular “bike blender”, where riders whizzed up healthy smoothies with pedal power.

One new initiative featured the inclusion of Exam Jam participation on the Co-Curricular Record. Students who attended at least one academic and one wellness session dropped by the CCR booth to reflect on their takeaways. “The co-curricular record recognizes the work that students are doing outside of the classroom,” says student development officer Dray Perenic Price. “This event is about health and wellness. We know students are working on it and we want recognize that effort.”

Exam Jam is coordinated by UTM’s Office of Student Transition and the Health & Counselling Centre, with support from the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, the Centre for Student Engagement, the Dean’s Office, Student Life, the Department of Historical Studies and the Office of the Registrar, along with student organizations and community partners.