This section looks at how to manage exams. This includes information about what to expect, how to prepare for an exam and practical tips to help you perform well.


Your university timetable is likely far more fractured than you are used to. Within secondary education, you are in for a fixed amount of time each day and have your breaks at the same time as other students. At college, it becomes slightly more complicated, you might have longer breaks and be in for varying amounts of time. This is once again elevated at university. Your timetable will be far more fractured, you can be in from nine until five but have multiple one+ hour breaks. You might not even be in some days!

How could this affect me?

University timetables can be a great source of anxiety and uncertainty for new students, especially those on the autistic spectrum. Having to adapt to a new timetable, as well as daily schedule can be tough. This is especially so when it varies from day to day.

What to do next?

Identify suitable gaps in your timetable for down time and work time.

Practical tips

Make sure to always leave a bit earlier than you think you need to when starting out. Once you’ve gauged how long it takes to get to places around the campus, you can then leave at a more appropriate time.

Don’t feel like you have to work in all your breaks. A one hour break isn’t really enough time to get work done, by the time you’re set up you might only have thirty to forty minutes before having to leave. Because of this, its best to use one hour breaks for some down time. In the middle of the day this might include lunch, in the afternoon perhaps use it to read a book or browse the web, its up to you.

Two hour breaks are a good amount of time to get work done, and the longer break means you can go further from your current location to work. The Library’s silent study area on the top floor is a quiet place to settle down and work. Likewise, if you have a long day with lots of activities, you might want to use the two hours to relax in a coffee shop.

Questions to think about

How early do you like to get to locations? If you prefer to be at the lecture hall early, make sure to plan for this.

Do you know where you are going? Allow for some extra time if it’s the first time you’ve been to the room, as it might be tricky to find.

Have you had a break today? It can be very tempting to get all your work done during breaks in your day, but this can lead to being overworked and stressed. Make sure to leave some time during your university day to relax and alleviate stress.

About the author

This article was adapted from an article written by Joel Gisborne, second year student at UoP.

This toolkit is an adaptation of the Autism&Uni project led by Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University, under license CC BY 4.0. The original Autism&Uni project was funded with support from the European Commission with partners in the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. For more information about this project please visit the Autism&Uni website.