Revision tips and making the most of exam season
Over exam season, you’re obviously put under a lot of pressure. Last term, during my final exams, I often felt swamped with work and being stressed just seemed to be a constant state of mind. However, after a horrendous exam season last year, I was determined to try and keep afloat and still make the most of my term. I found that by trying to implement a few small changes to my uni day, not only did I feel more productive, I also enjoyed exam season (as much as possible anyway)! I’ve found that term three doesn’t need to be as intimidating as you think.
The first thing that we often overlook when exams are looming is our actual health. Last year, I neglected a lot of things in the name of revision, which in the end just made me more stressed. Setting aside an hour a day to look after yourself is vital, even if deadlines are looming. Do your food shop, tidy your room, go for a run, take a relaxing shower, read a book (for pleasure, not for revision!) dedicate time to bulk-cooking meals to last you through a busy week, make the most of societies, spend time with friends. All of these things are important to creating a work-life balance, and maintaining both your physical and mental health. I found that not feeling guilty about going on dates, spending time with my friends, or even having the odd night out at the start of term, really helped keep my stress levels under control. This was because I didn’t feel like I was missing out on university life or constantly buried under a pile of text books. I came back to revision feeling refreshed and more productive.
And when it comes to revision, I always think that it’s vital to stay organised. I’ve found that this is one of the most important things when it comes to revision, especially if you have a large number of exams. I had multiple exams that were split into smaller sections, so I found it best to organise and colour code my notes using different folders. I gave each exam a specific colour, and each section of the exam (taught by a different lecturer) had its own labelled folder in that colour. This meant if I’d forgotten to pack my rucksack the night before and was in a rush to get to campus, it was easy to grab the relevant notes and I always knew where I could find a specific bit of information. Plus, after I’ve organised my notes or tidied my room, I always feel so much more productive, though that might just be me being weird!
Speaking of organisation, I also think it’s important to map out your actual revision. Personally, I’m not a fan of revision timetables – I find them too constricting and feel under pressure and like I’ve ‘failed’ if I don’t complete a certain task in a certain time. Instead, I love a good list. I make note of my exam dates, and make lists of things I need to cover each week / day, ranking them by time priority. When doing this you shouldn’t over face yourself with too many jobs in one day, but I find that splitting your revision into smaller, more manageable chunks mean that you can track your progress and celebrate all the small victories.
And you should celebrate the small victories when it comes to exam season. The main thing I found hard last term was that the work was seemingly never-ending, and my final exam felt like it would never arrive. However, by acknowledging my hard work and giving myself time off when I completed a certain set of revision topics on my list, everything seemed much more manageable. Even if it’s just going to make a cup of tea or going for a quick walk around campus, every little helps.
Good luck to everyone taking exams this term, and as cheesy as it sounds, believe in yourself. The relief you feel once they’re over is worth all the work you put in.