This post was written by an external contributor. Sarah Wilson shares her key list of “don’ts” to ensure you come out of the upcoming exam season on top.
Look, there’s no getting around it: exam season is the pits. The weather’s improving, the trees are finally looking green and the local beer garden is calling your name like a long-neglected friend. Meanwhile, you’re stuck in the library with a giant pile of books, a headache and a case of chronic stress.
It’s a situation that drives everyone up the wall, and it’s easy to fall into unhealthy and unproductive patterns as you prepare for those dreaded exams and coursework hand-ins. But don’t stress – as long as you avoid these typical pitfalls, you’ll find yourself primed and ready for success. You’ll be in that beer garden in no time.
Don’t compare yourself
This is the worst (and hardest to resist) mistake of all. When revision season hits, everyone’s in the same position. Suddenly, once-interesting people are forced to sit in a library for weeks on end and they’re inflicted by an inability to talk about literally anything other than revision. We all need to let out the study steam somewhere, right?
It’s natural and extremely tempting, to compare schedules, hours put in or number of books read with your friends or coursemates. But all you’re going to end up with is further anxiety about your own work. It’s key to remember that everyone revises in different ways and at a different pace. Make an effort to focus on your work and your work only – and ban exam talk when you’re hanging out with your friends.
Working unsociable hours
Exam season is often a time with little official structure, with many days governed by whatever schedule you’ve decided upon. With this lack of routine, it’s important to make an effort at keeping sociable working hours. With 24-hour libraries now a provision of many universities, the temptation here is to sleep in the day and work into the night. But by doing this, you’ll isolate yourself from the normal working world and most likely your friends, too.
Making time for social activities is crucial during this high-pressure time, so be strict with yourself and designate a time in the evening to stop working. Partake in your favourite hobby, watch some Netflix with your housemates or pop by your local for a quick drink. Just take time away from your keyboard and revision books!
Leaving everything to the last minute
Of course, some students go the other way, but denial won’t stop your exams eventually coming around. It’s key to start thinking about revision as early as possible so you can manage your workload as effectively as possible. Sit down with your calendar and break everything down into chunks – trust me, you’ll avoid panicking later down the line.
Okay, it’s not the most catchy word for it, but you’ve definitely done it. Sitting down with your highlighters and creating yourself a really pretty revision calendar. Changing the font on that essay until it looks absolutely perfect. You’re pretending this is all helping you revise but let’s face it – it’s just another form of procrastination.
Try to intersperse easier tasks with the ones you’re dreading the most or finding the hardest, getting everything done is short bursts. That way you can still get your highlighting fix whilst actually getting some work done.
Giving in to the sunshine
It’s a special kind of cruelty that exams always seem to coincide with gorgeous weather. We’ve all been guilty of pretending we can get work done outside on a picnic blanket whilst drinking a beer. Don’t kid yourself; getting outside is important, but use time in the sun as a reward for getting some real work done.
It feels a long way off, but freedom is just around the corner. You’ve got this!