Examinations are an important marker of your progress throughout your course, and they are the clearest and most immediate measure by which a potential employer or funder may judge you.
It is important to approach exams seriously, calmly and ambitiously. A thorough review of course notes can work wonders for the confidence, and offer a reminder of just how much progress has been made. Exams can be a powerful catalyst: many students find themselves propelled into the next stages of their academic work with a new clarity of focus and a more compelling and personal sense of intellectual engagement.
In many subjects College Preliminary Examinations are held in January, offering an early opportunity to ensure you are keeping pace with your course, to familiarise yourself with the style and level of Cambridge examinations, and to adjust your approach to work if required. For most students the first Tripos examinations arrive in April or May.
College Regulations require students to show evidence of satisfactory progress in their academic work, by their performance in each set of University or College examinations for which they are entered. Failing normally means that they will have to leave the College. Students have the right to explain the reasons for their failure in person to the Master and Tutors and the Governing Body before such a decision is taken.
On the other hand, around a hundred Fitzwilliam College students each year receive prizes in recognition of their excellent examination performances.