Tips for getting through the exams period
By Izzy, MA (Hons) Geography and Social Anthropology
Exams period is notoriously the most difficult time of year, and unfortunately this year my flat and I are all in isolation for finals. But I am going to share with you five my tips which have helped me through the past 4 years of finals week.
- Space and self care
Firstly, it is important you take care of yourself and your friends around you, everyone is undergoing the same stress and we are all in this together. Communicating with your flatmates when you might be most stressful, and how they can help to work around you. Doing small acts of kindness for one another can make a huge difference!
Keeping your space around you tidy will help prevent you from going mad, as it gives you a comfortable and tidy place to relax and unwind. Personally, I find it really difficult to work in my room during exam season, as I need to separate work from play. So we have set up group study sessions in our living room to help spur each other on.
Always make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sometimes people operate whilst doing an all nighter, however that is not for me. I make sure I am fed for dinner time, and if after that I feel myself hitting a wall then I know it is time to head to bed and recharge those batteries for the next day.
To ensure you get quality sleep, avoid watching TV before bed, instead I opt for reading a non-academic book or a magazine like National Geographic. This alleviates stress, sends your mind to sleep and also I find gives me time for myself.
You know pretty much from the beginning of term which period of the semester your exams will be in, so you can always prepare early. For me, this works by creating a two week visual calendar with topics and goals I would like to have done by the end of each day. Obviously plans don’t always work, but it can help you visualise what you need to do, and keep it on your wall so you don’t forget. This works for me, but it might not work for you. Experimenting with colour and how you display your notes can also be a big help.
Time management is essential to helping you make the most out of your studying hours. Work smart!
4. Alternative sources
Not everyone benefits from the same methods of revising – as we know. So why not mix it up! Try emulating a tutorial discussion with some of your course mates to explore readings you might not have explored. Or, watch a documentary or video which is related to your c
ourse. There are ways to study that can be social, and so revision does not have to be solitary.
Likewise, perhaps go for a walk and listen to a podcast. I know that whenever I am feeling stressed and need some fresh air, I like to be productive too; and so I combine leisure with work to help me think about things differently.
5. Be Mindful
Lecturers, friends, support staff, personal tutors are all around to help you! If there is something you don’t quite understand, or if you are feeling a bit swamped with work, there is always someone to talk to.
The wonderful thing about university is the community you surround yourself with, sometimes just a conversation can help put your mind at ease. For geography students there is GeogPals, GeogSoc welfare, and there are office hours for most staff members. Use these tomake sure you are strengthening your support networks.
If you are unsure who to talk to this link provides more insight into who you can contact to keep in the loop and get support.
Last but not least, I will reiterate… take care of yourself!! Listen to your body’s needs and look out for your friends.