Featured Article - December

Featured Article

What Makes Exam Jam Work?

Natalie Cuei, Dariya Darvin, and Svitlana Frunchak


UTM Exam Jam is one of the events that make UTM famous and proud. Most of UTM students, faculty and staff know that UTM Exam Jam works and that it is growing and expanding from year to year. We have now outgrown the Instructional Centre (IB) – the Exam Jam “headquarters”, so we are utilizing the New North building classrooms, as well as CCIT facilities, and even think about expanding the Exam Jam wellness lobby activities into the NE atrium when it is finally finished!


For those of you who do not know, Exam Jam is a day-long exam preparation event held during the Fall and Winter exam study periods.  Exam Jam combines intensive, course-specific, academic review sessions (instructor-led, possibly in cooperation with FSG leaders) with well-being activities that promote healthier study habits and stress management (student services-led). 


Exam Jam Growth


Here is what two UTM students have to share from their persona experiences with UTM Exam Jam:


Natalie (3rd Year) on Academic Review Sessions:


Throughout university, Exam Jam has been an integral part of my revision process during final exams. For myself, the event is a great way to propel students back into the cycle of revisions after the end of the semester which results in the loss of a structured routine around a course schedule. Exam Jam academic review sessions, whether that be instructor-led, Facilitated Study Groups (FSG’s) or drop-in sessions, are all incredibly helpful to students by aiding them in studying smarter and not harder. As you progress through university, you begin to understand the importance of prioritization and understand the importance of and how to grasp large concepts in courses. Academic sessions help students review the most important sections and guide them in focusing on those sections as they are usually heavily tested since they are the focus of the course. This helps students like myself, who are very busy, quickly generate a study plan by eliminating the areas I already understand and allocate more time to topics that I know require more of my attention.

 In courses that have take-home essays and/or exams, drop-in sessions become a great ally because trained instructors help you improve. They provide necessary feedback to help polish an essay or provide aid on a math question that you are stuck on. Drop-in sessions are also offered to improve study skills, which is important because despite knowing what to study, if the wrong study methods are utilized, students can feel even more overwhelmed than necessary. For example, knowing that I am a visual learner helps me design studying techniques catered to myself, so I can more easily grasp concepts and understand the overarching themes of each topics through word maps and diagrams.


Dariya, (3rd year) on Wellness and Community Building:

Every semester since my first year, Exam Jam has aided me in combating the “final exam” stress. I remember being apprehensive about attending Exam Jam in my first year since it was just before my exams started. However, I am extremely glad I went to the event; I got some useful tips from the review sessions and drop-in sessions which helped me a great deal in my finals. Moreover, I took part in some de-stressors during the time between the review sessions and these activities helped me become less stressed and concentrate better when I started studying. Furthermore, there was a quiet study space where I could study undisturbed and get some free snacks; this worked perfectly for me since I snack a lot while studying. These de-stressors and wellness activities show that our university greatly cares about our student body’s mental health, sees us as individuals and recognizes the stress of academics. Besides helping students review and destress, Exam Jam is also a great social event for students to attend with their friends and to meet new people. The event fosters a sense of belonging and we, as students, can realize that we are not alone during this stressful time and have an incredible community of support.