The run up to exams

Whether your first, second, third year, Masters or something else entirely – exams are now breathing down our necks so its time to get your heads down. Don’t put your feet up and think “I’ll start tomorrow” or leave it all to the day before because we all know that that idea isn’t good for your stress levels or your grades… you are paying £9,000 a year afterall.

When Christmas has ended and New Year celebrations are out of the way, it is pretty difficult to throw yourself straight back into it. With nothing more than waking up early to revise or crack on with assignments to look forward to for the next two or three weeks. It’s easy to get bogged down with the long weeks and lack of motivation but just remember, once those two weeks are over your free for another few months!

My biggest tip if you’re already back at uni is get yourself down to the library. Yes, it’s boring and depressing and quiet… but the amount of work you can get done there compared to your desk at home is astonishing. My desk is at the end of my bed and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been mindlessly staring at my bed wondering whether it is OK to nap instead of doing my work… most of the time the answer was yes, see my point?

Make sure that you’ve got a good understanding of what your exam is going to be about at this point, even if you still have your assignments to get through before revision it will motivate you to get your assignments done and dusted so that you can get on with the nitty gritty stuff. I tried my hardest to get as much revision done as possible before Christmas because I knew that once I was home, uni would be a distant memory and a rude awakening come January 1st.

I know a lot of people giving exam advise say to eat healthy and try and exercise blah blah blah. Yes do all of these things but remember, for the sake of two weeks, your revision is your priority so if you have to forgo the gym then so be it! Eating healthy is a big help as well as drinking lots of water, it gets your brain ticking and probably allows you to work feeling a bit more energised than a Grab Bag of Monster Munch, a sausage roll and a Coke (my usual library snacks… shhh).

Most advisers also say not to spend your days revising and then carry on through the night. Revising til 1am is literally the most boring thing in the world but having said that, I have never seen anyone do badly because they stayed up that little bit later to get their work done. When I have spent a few late nights in the library, I’ve found that it is often easier to concentrate because it is pretty dead. If you’re going to do this though, make sure you have people to get home with – safety first!

If you haven’t left your revision til the last minute, by the time you get to the day before your exam, get an early night. When I say early, I mean put the work down by 9pm, have a cup of tea and unwind. If you’ve been working on this exam throughout the week, nothing you learn in the next 2 hours is going to dramatically change the outcome of tomorrow. You’ll wake up feeling a little bit refreshed and ready for your exam.

So by the time the examiner says you have 5 minutes left, they collect your paper and your on your way to the pub. Just remember, you deserve that pint and its time to enjoy yourself for another couple of weeks! One of the many perks of university. Good luck guys!

Photo Credit: The Wolf Law Library via Flickr

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Editor of Student Wire. I study PR and Communication at Leeds Metropolitan/Beckett, in love with mint hot choc, anything Disney and a good night out.

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