Written by Anastasia Tsekou

Starting a Bachelor’s degree and sitting your first university exams can be very challenging!  When high school finishes, you feel that you have successfully passed the “study hard” phase, and you are ready for the “party hard” phase.

Well, this is definitely not the case in the Netherlands!

Dutch universities are very demanding, especially during the first year of your Bachelor’s degree, since they only allow you to continue your studies if you achieve 42 out of the 60 ECTS. Moreover, your academic semester is full of exams; there are midterms, then finals and before you realize it, exam resits will be calling your name. So, if you really want to make it to the second year you have to try harder than you think, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you pass your exams successfully:

Before your exams: 

  • Make sure you go to your lectures and tutorials (Attending lectures helps you reduce the study time needed for the exams!)
  • Tips for the upcoming exams are usually given during the last tutorials (You do not want to miss those!)
  • Start making “revision” notes early enough to keep up with the material (This saves you time later on!)
  • Do not try to adopt the Dutch students’ lifestyle (Dutch students can party hard and study hard at the same time, but this is not always doable for international students!)

During your exams week:

  • Make sure you have a detailed study schedule (This will always help you stay focused and achieve all your goals!)
  • Do not do more than you can because you may end up failing all your courses (Set realistic goals; sometimes it is wiser to follow less than 6 courses per semester and then try to catch up during the resits!)
  • Study with your fellow classmates and do not be afraid to ask for help (Peer tutoring or just peer studying before the exams can actually help you get answers for all those course-related things that you may have doubts about!)
  • Eat well, sleep well and avoid anxiety-inducing people (These three factors cannot ensure that you will pass your exams, but they can definitely ensure that you will do much better than you would otherwise!)
  • Do not forget to bring your passport, your ID or your student card with you (There are many cases where students forgot their ID and thus could not participate in the exam!)

After your exams: 

  • Well, now you are free to party hard because student life in Holland is gezellig!!!