For many of us, January means one thing: exams. It's a stressful time, and often we just can't tell whether we're coming or going when it comes to revision. Here are my top tips for getting through exams. I've learnt through trial and error, and I hope that these can help students out there in need of some advice.
1. Start early
I know this will be a pain, but trust me, it pays off. Even if you start a few months or so in advance by simply re-reading through your workbooks or copying out notes, it's a start and you'll be glad when it gets to the serious stuff the week before the exam!
When I went home for Christmas, I'd go to my favourite cafe and just sit going through a book I had struggled with over the term, making notes of themes and quotes I could use in an exam. When I'd come back to uni and the exam was only two weeks away, I felt much more confident and knew how I could use this text.
During this time, assessing exactly what you have to do for the exam (eg. Language students, do you have to translate anything? And Maths students, will you be tested on vector calculus or algebraic expressions?) and how you intend to prepare is an important step. Are you a solo library-goer, or will you organise group revision sessions?
2. Stay hydrated!
Limit caffeinated drinks to daytime, in the evenings opt for herbal tea, water or squash. Staying hydrated will improve your concentration and keep you alert. You need all the brainpower you can muster!
3. Eat enough
This is really important. Eating healthily and more importantly, eating enough will help you to concentrate and muster up the energy to motivate yourself to keep working. Eating healthy snacks like popcorn, nuts or dark chocolate while you study can also help.
We students are known for being nocturnal, but make sure you adjust your sleeping pattern so you're really feeling rested and able to work to your full potential in the mornings.If you're really having serious trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, make sure you talk to your GP.
And most importantly of all...
5. Find a suitable study spot
Whether this is the library, your desk, the kitchen or the corner of a cafe/pub, make sure it works for you. A clear desk with an organised set of notes will help, and whether you want background music or total silence is up to you. Just make sure everything's set to your preference.
Also make sure you take regular breaks. Every hour or so, go for a short walk, do that household chore you've been putting off or watch a twenty-minute episode of a TV show. If you're in a library of a cafe, take some time out to have a drink or get a snack, you could even bring a light-hearted book or magazine to read during your breaks.