Easy Time Management Tips to Prevent Exam Panic

“It’s only the middle of term, I’ll start thinking about exams and revision at Christmas.” How many times have you said this only to waste your Christmas break binge eating and binge-watching, and then trying to cram before exams? I think we’re all guilty of it at some point. If you want to stop this cycle you need to start revising early. These aren’t just time management ‘tips’. These are lifestyle changing habits that will help you to break this vicious procrastination cycle.


1. Find a Study Space 

Have one space that you only use for studying. This will help keep you get into a ‘study mode’ as you’ll associate it with revision. It should be an organised space (more on this below) and tidy. Finding a quiet space is a struggle, especially when you can’t leave the house in lockdown. Pluck up the courage to ask your housemates to be quiet. Let them know you’re trying to study, and they’ll surely sympathize. Another struggle is getting distracted by your phone. If you can’t stop yourself from checking notifications every 5 minutes, it’s best to leave it ‘out of sight and out of mind’. By creating a distraction-free environment, it helps get you in the frame of mind to get work done. 


2. Dealing with Lots of Reading

It can be so daunting when you are faced with pages and pages of tutorial required reading. Sadly, this stereotype of a law degree is true. So, the first rule is to only study one topic for one hour at a time. It’s almost impossible to concentrate for longer. Tackle the reading by first scanning through the material to find the most important parts. I always read the introduction and conclusion first to get the gist, then I used sub-headings to help isolate relevant information. How do you remember what you’ve read? The trick is don’t read a textbook like you would read a novel for pleasure. You have to approach it with an analytical eye and with a specific question you need answering. Make sure you have tutorial or exam questions in mind when reading, so you can keep focused on the most relevant information.


3. Being Organised

Keeping your notes organised will help you so much when it comes to revising for exams. Ensure folders are clearly labelled, with dividers for different sections and organised neatly on your bookshelf. It will be easier to start that coursework assignment early if you can find the relevant notes. Not to mention, you can easily keep track of your progress with revision and what you still have left to do, which brings me on to…


4. Getting into a Routine

When you get into the habit of something it becomes less effort to do. The first task should be to set out your goals and deadlines: how much reading you want to get through when your tutorials are etc. When you find out your coursework deadlines, start planning how you are going to complete it immediately. Then, set smaller goals and deadlines to get chunks of work done. Work out how weeks until exams and how many topics you need to cover so you can plan what to study when. Now, you can break it down into daily tasks. This stops revision becoming overwhelming. Note that it may take a while to find a successful routine. If you notice you always fail to get up early to start work, don’t force yourself to study in the morning. Find what works for you.


5. Regular Breaks

I used to think working late into the night would help me get through my mountains of unfinished work, but it has the opposite effect. Your memory does not work as well, and you cannot stay focused for a long time. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive because less sleep means more stress and the quality of your work decreases. So, the way to get better at studying is to know when to stop. Fresh air and exercise are other ways to take care of yourself, get out of the ‘study mode’ to relax. Remember to forgive yourself if you do not achieve every goal.

Confession: Even though I follow these tips, I still sometimes find myself still wishing for more hours in the day and wishing I could get more things done sooner. And that’s fine. In fact, it’s important not to feel guilty about procrastinating. Celebrate your accomplishments and keep your to-do lists at the end of the week to remind yourself how much you have accomplished.