Exams season: survival guide – Delphine Martineau

I know it is a bit late for such an article but I am sure it can still be helpful to some of you. Exams season is a highly stressful and depressing period. But isn’t there a way to make it easier? Let’s try! What I am writing will obviously depend on the kind of studies one person is doing but for the most part the idea to be assessed on a few exams at the end of the year is nervewrecking. I feel like students, including myself, have a tendency to just lock themselves up in their room and work non stop a few days before the exams. If this method has proven successful to you that’s perfect but for the others I think trying to keep a balanced lifestyle even in revision and exam period is key to alleviate stress. Here are a few tips to achieve this goal:

1. Plan your revision realistically

The key to success in that matter is to plan your revision finding the right balance between enough revision to ensure good grades and keeping a healthy life not to go crazy or depressed. It is easy to get tempted to plan 8 hours for revision each day but it is pointless. You will never manage to stay focused and efficient for that many hours in one day and even if you were technically able to do so I doubt you would be very happy to keep such a pace for several days in a row. Planning a few hours a day but during which you will be complicately dedicated to learning and revising will make a great difference.

2. Do some exercise

One of the essentials to succeeding in following your revision plan is to incorporate times to exercise or at least go out for a walk in order to avoid staying sat down at your desk all day long. It may sound paradoxical but exercising a little gives you more energy and helps coping with stress. Many of you might be doing sports in their daily life already which is awesome but a trap is to think you cannot allocate time for it during revision and exam period. You might not be able to spend as many hours at the gym during the week as you normally would but it is essential to try to keep some physical activity nonetheless.

3. Eat what you need and want

It is certainly not the time to restrict yourself or start a diet! You might not have the time to prepare food as you normally would, but try to eat a variety of food to help you in the work you need to do. Eating only chips and burgers will not give you the nutrients and energy you need in the long run, if you crave that every other day go right ahead but try not to make it your go-to meal. Cooking is not always a very popular activity amongst students but the time you spend preparing your food can be seen as a break from revision, allowing you to focus on something pleasant and not let stress invade your mind.

4. Meet up with your friends

You can obviously organise group revisions if that is what you are into but do not forget to take some breaks and reward yourself with some time out with your friends after a good revision day. The goal is not necessarily to stay out all night long partying and getting wasted because the next day will not be very productive in terms of revisions but at least taking your mind off uni for the evening by going to the cinema or just organising a dinner party can only do you good.

5. Put things into perspective

This advice is more directed for exam period itself and I think it is the real key to having a different experience. Of course an exam is something for which you should work and get ready. However it seems easy to forget that all the work done during the year, that is to say going and paying attention in class, doing some reading for the tutorials and some mid-term assessments, plays a crucial role in succeeding and ultimately graduating. An “accident” can happen and make a good student fail exams but overall your success is not decided during the last days of the uni year.

All there’s left for me to do is saying break a leg and remember everything will be just fine !

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