End-of-semester exams are a fact of university life. Exams are held in December at the end of semester 1, and in April (and May, depending on when Easter falls) at the end of semester 2. Repeat exams for both semesters take place in August. See the academic calendar for key exam dates, including the release dates of your exam timetables.

Although many courses involve significant amounts of coursework over the entire semester, much still hangs on the end-of-semester exam. You can find out about NUI Galway’s exams policies, procedures, and timelines via the Examinations Office.

Some students love exams, and others don’t. Either way, you have to do them. Your exam preparation begins as soon as the semester begins. Everything on your course is examinable unless you are told otherwise. For this reason, you need to hit the ground running when it comes to going to lectures, labs and tutorials, taking and making notes, and completing assignments.

Ideally, exam preparation involves reviewing existing knowledge rather than learning new material. If you’ve developed a good note-making strategy, all the materials you need for exam revision should be to hand. If you haven’t done this, it may be time to start! See our top tips for note-making for some inspiration.

Start your revision a week or two before the exam at the latest. A ‘study week’ is built into the NUI Galway calendar in each semester to give students time to focus solely on exams, but your preparation needs to begin long before this, and your revision can also begin before study week does. Make sure that you have a clear overview of what needs to be covered in each module, and draw up a detailed revision plan using a weekly planner (available in Manage Your Time). You may need to allocate more time to some subjects – for example, subjects that you find difficult or for which you don’t feel well-prepared.

Past exam papers can be a very useful resource. They are not always available for every module and you need to ensure that the format and content for your exam will be similar to previous exams. If a different lecturer is setting the exam, there may be significant changes to the format or content of the exam. Past papers are available through the Library website (via Collections). Searching the database by module code is probably the most effective way to find what you are looking for.

See our top tips for exam preparation for more, including memory techniques. See also our exam checklist for some advice about what you need to know before, during and after the exams. 


  • Assignment and exam planner

    Assignment and exam planner Word (431 KB)

  • Assignment checklist

    Assignment checklist PDF (126 KB)

  • Exams checklist

    Exams checklist PDF (125 KB)

  • Top tips for exam preparation

    Top tips for exam preparation PDF (146 KB)