Exam Season Survival Guide
Halloween’s done, Christmas is over, New Years has been and gone in the blink of an eye and all of sudden you’re now in January - and it’s exam season. Well fear not, we all have to start somewhere and if you’re at uni experiencing exam season head on, this blog should help you with some key things you need to remember during this stressful time that’ll keep you from freaking out completely!
Start your day right
First things first, get yourself a big healthy breakfast quite early on. Research has shown that foods that include slow-release carbohydrates provide slow-release energy. Food like eggs, porridge oats or whole grain bread are really good for this. Make sure you’re also very hydrated throughout your day of study.
Once this is done, you can start thinking about how you’re going to spread out and plan your day. Revision and studying should start as early as possible, if you know you have exams in January, start writing your notes as you go along. If you know you’ve got a major exam in June, start prepping months before. That way you can really take your time and not feel pressured by timing.
Start by making a to-do list of everything you want to achieve that day - be realistic. Set things you know you’ll definitely be able to get done. When you’ve made your list, write a schedule of when you’re going to do them and how long you’ll allocate for each task. Make sure to give yourself regular breaks too! The worst thing you can do is multitask, so focus on one thing at once and don’t get confused by everything. Keep your workspace tidy and organised so you have an organised mind too!
Have the right stationery
Starting your revision, you definitely need every colour of pen and highlighter. You’ll also need some cute notebooks to write in. You might want to have separate notebooks for separate parts of your revision, like different modules. Use your different highlighters to colour code and coordinate different bits of information, as colours may trigger something in your memory when you come to your exam and you need to think back.
Right revision environment
Figuring out the best kind of revision environment honestly takes years. You try so many different techniques as you go through education and you slowly find out what you can work with and what you definitely can’t work with. Whether it’s at night, during the day, with or without music, in the library, locked away in your room, watching Netflix or fully focussed - find what’s good for you.
If you know you work the best during the day when you’re in your room at your desk with no distractions and no music, don’t then decide to go to the library with all your friends to do an all-nighter. This would make absolutely no sense and would be a waste of your time. If you can’t work with distractions, don’t give yourself any! Schedule 30 minute slots to work in with 10 minutes break in between, you can definitely be without your phone for 30 minutes! Take your breaks seriously too, have a walk round, talk to your mum or your housemate.
Other tips and tricks
Turn your phone off or give it to someone else in your house while you are working. This will help keep you 100% focussed and when the 30 minutes is up you’ll definitely feel like you’ve been productive and got a good amount done.
Stick revision notes up around your house in places you know you’ll read them. Put the most important info on them and keep them everywhere. You’ll definitely annoy your housemates when they open up the fridge and find your notes attached to the butter but these things have to be done!
If repeating your notes back to someone helps, get your housemates, friends or family to test you on things. It’ll be the practise run for when you’re actually asked in the real thing!
Each night, make sure you’re getting your recommended amount of sleep. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep, and when your brain is working hard trying to memorise everything, you’ll definitely need it by the end.
Make sure you have a whole host of revision snacks with you. Popcorn, grapes, nuts, veggie sticks, bananas, dark chocolate, seeds, and granola just to mention a few!
Most importantly, remember to stay positive throughout the whole process. It can be overwhelming when you feel you’ve got too much to do and not enough time, so make sure you do take your regular breaks and you give yourself time to unwind after you’ve finished things for the day. Getting yourself worked up about it will have the opposite effect of what you want. If it gets too much, stop what you’re doing, put on an episode of Friends for 20 minutes and revisit your work later!