So you’re probably reading this either in the library, procrastinating or allowing yourself a twenty minute break, and wondering if the end of summer exams will ever arrive. Well, first of all, it will, and secondly, we’re here to help you get through the dreaded exams with this Ultimate Exam Guide. Whether it’s where to revise, when to revise or when to take a break, we have a few hints for you to make exams a little easier!
So let’s start with the big one… The one that we’re really all about here.
1 – Don’t revise constantly
The first thing to note is that there are 24 hours in a day: you don’t need to be revising for every single one of them. In fact, I highly recommend that you don’t. You need time to sleep: it sounds stupid but it’s one of the first things we forget to do when we get stressed. You start to think I need to revise more, so I’m pulling an all-nighter: wrong. If you don’t sleep, the work you that you actually do won’t be very productive. So tip 1: if you’re tired stop and take a break, or if it’s late, go to bed.
[pagebreak]2 – Where to revise
It’s 8.30 and there’s either people still there in the library last night or people up super early – so what to do? I know there are many people who can’t revise at home, but it’s worth at least attempting it for one morning. If that doesn’t work we have a few potential suggestions:
- Amory study centre – likely to be busy, but there is the possibility of booking rooms for group study
- Business school – most of the rooms are usually empty during exam period
- The Devon and Exeter Institute (next to the Cathedral) – this is apparently “a little gem” in town and is unlikely to be crammed, so certainly could be worth a try
Finally, one HCX team member has said that it’s best not to work anywhere that has particular associations that will distract you. For example, she finds it best not to study in the kitchen or her bedroom: she works somewhere she only works in order to minimise the distractions. It’s all about finding the best place for you
3 – Make a schedule
Decide what you’re going to do, and when. Importantly, you have to stick to this! You might find that organising your revision, and your desk, is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination because it feels like you’re being productive. Don’t kid yourself: making the plan isn’t the revision, it’s only sticking to it that counts! One of our marketing team’s top revision tip is that if she sets herself a set amount of work to do each day and keeps going until it’s finished. Perhaps bed time is the best motivation of all!
If you haven’t already made one, then here’s a template to get you started!
[pagebreak]4- Find when you can revise
When it comes to revision, I work best early in the morning and at night – afternoons can be a bit touch and go! If you work best in the mornings, get up, start your revision early and take a nice long break over lunch. Then you’ll be fresh to start work again later in the evening. It can be quite a good idea to break up your day: don’t say that you’re going to work for 10 hours straight – you’ll get tired and will lapse in concentration after a couple of hours. You’re best to work in 2/3 hour stints and then reward yourself with a break.
5- Remember to take breaks
Not only does this mean taking breaks in between your periods of work, but also take an evening off every once in a while! If you give all your energy too quickly, you’re going to burn out. Quickly. Whether you decide to watch a film, go for a walk or just see a friend for some tea, breaks will give your brain a rest and ensure that your work is productive when you go back to the books.
[pagebreak]So that’s going to take up the majority of your time – but what about the rest of your day? The top 3 suggestions we can give you are these…
1 – SLEEP
You’ve heard it before, and to be honest, I feel like your mum saying it: but you need to sleep. After a hard day of work, your brain needs some rest. You’ve also heard that you’re recommended to have about 8 hours sleep per night, so if you’re getting up early, a 2am bedtime every night might not work (unless you count 10am as an early rise!). Note: this doesn’t count as sleep – I mean sleeping in your bed – not in the library, and not on your books!
2 – Do some exercise
If you’re not a marathon runner, no one expects you to turn into one whilst the exams are on. Going to the gym, or even just going for a walk into town and back will do wonderful things for your brain. I don’t profess to be a scientist. At all. But we’ve all heard that endorphins are good for us and make us happy, so wave bye-bye to your stress levels and get out of the library for an hour!
3 – Eat well
Watch this space for some quick and healthy recipe and snack ideas, but just a general tip here: try and eat as well as you can. As much as you’re probably going to feel that you don’t have enough time to cook a decent meal, you do. It’s easy to cook a reasonably healthy meal in 30 minutes or so, and it won’t take you long to pack a salad or a sandwich before you head onto campus in the morning. Don’t forget to pack some healthy (and some unhealthy!) snacks too: grab some fruit, a granola bar or yoghurt in addition to that chocolate bar. Your bank balance will also love you if you pack these things instead of buying them at the forum shop.
Exam period is never going to be the most fun – but there’s so much to look forward to after! One final thing, try not to stress too much, and if you do, find a way of coping with it: whether it’s running, baking or getting addicted to a tv series, give yourself time to de-stress. Watch Her Campus Exeter for more exam related on articles soon! Look out for articles on stress, how to eat well dring exams and how to balance your partner and your studying!