For information on extenuating circumstances, irregularies and grievances, see this page. There are also some more tips on beating stress and procrastination from UCL Student Psychological Services available in this document.
Study month is over and the frollicks of terms 1 and 2 are all but distant memories at this stage. The only thing looming on the horizon is the evitable exam period which we have now entered. Some have escaped final exams, having submitted inches of coursework during the year, but for most the weeks ahead look like a daunting task and getting stressed out about it all is too common. There is still plenty of time, however, to get on top of your workload and to do well. Follow some of our tips below to defeat the exams:
1. Prioritize your workload
Get to grips with what exams you have, what knowledge you need and what time you have. Familiarise yourself with the type of questions asked and build a revision list based on exam questions. Tutors or lecturers may have given some tips about the exam - prioritise these subject areas. List your exams in chronological order and begin the offensive!
2. Consolidate what you already know
The night before an exam isn’t the time to start reading up on a brand new topic. Remember exams aren’t there to catch you out: they exist to see what you know already. Focus on a few key areas that you’ve covered well instead of spreading yourself thin across the entire course. Be smart about what topics you choose to revise - you might be able to pick areas that are similar to coursework or an area that really interests you.
3. Create a timetable - and stick to it.
A regular revision pattern will help your confidence as well as ensuring you don’t burn out. Draw up a plan according to your exam timetable and be disciplined in obeying it. You can get a lot achieved in a day’s work so scheduling a normal working day of 9am - 5pm with a break in the morning, lunch and an afternoon break is a lot more beneficial than telling yourself that you’ll study for the day; and spending half the time watching videos on YouTube but staying at your desk until 11pm.
Ban access to the internet unless it’s work-related, but allow yourself to visit Facebook etc. in your break time. When 5pm rolls around, put down the books and take the evening off to do what you want. If you have spent the day doing quality revision then you have earned your time off and will feel good in yourself. Remember, it’s the quality and not quantity of your study hours.
4. Maintain a balanced lifestyle
Exams are important, but it’s equally salient to take time out to relax and to maintain a connection with the real world as well as getting enough sleep and eating properly. Your mind needs to rest too so plan breaks into your day and don’t cut sport out of your life.
Exercise is a great way to unwind, relieve stress and leave you feeling motivated - you can easily slot in a quick 20-minute walk or jog into your day which will break you out of the revision monotony.
A full night’s sleep is also important and necessary to help you maintain concentration during the day.
The same goes for having a balanced diet which gives your brain all its deserved nutrients - stockpile on fruit and veg and try to avoid high fat foods which can leave you lethargic.
5. Don’t panic!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the work you have to do or feel that there isn’t enough time, you might not feel like stepping away from your desk but a short break will help settle your mind and return you to normalcy.
Succumbing to negative thinking happens to us all from time to time, but we can overcome it and return our minds to positive vibes.
Give a friend a call and talk about non-exam related matters; have a laugh and let the weight be lifted from your shoulders. Ten minutes now won’t harm your study continuum but will improve your attitude and motivation.