Now that essay deadlines have past (well perhaps not for everyone but I know third years have just submitted their essays for Modern Social Theory, well done guys!) it is, sadly, time to concentrate on our January exams (how is it that time again already?!). Through my three years studying here I have consistently achieved very good grades in exams which means I am probably a good person to speak to about exam tips, so here are some of things that I think are important to do during exam period…
- Get lots of sleep. Perhaps a bit of an unexpected one to have at the top of the list but for me it’s extremely important. You must make sure that your body has time to refresh itself. Although your days might not be physically strenuous, they are mentally draining and it is just as important to give your brain a rest as it is to give the rest of your body a rest. I aim to get around 8 or 9 hours sleep at night.
- Keep a relatively healthy diet. Don’t just live off ready meals which you can just chuck in the oven because it saves time. You need to make sure you get brain food, like fruit and vegetables and fish. I’m not saying go on a diet, I just mean make sure you have a balanced diet to ensure your body is getting what it needs to give you energy, that way you’re more likely to be able to stay focused for longer.
- Set yourself rewards. I buy myself chocolate as knowing I can binge on chocolate when I’ve finished my work gives me the motivation to keep going. I feel it’s important to have something to work towards, even if it’s just a good dinner or a chat with your housemates, because it gives you a reason to work hard.
- Get lots of fresh air. I find that being stuck inside for days on end gives me headaches and makes me drowsy. So I make sure that I get outside for at least 15 minutes each day. Normally this just involves a walk to the library but on days I don’t go to library I’ll make sure I go for a walk around the park or out to the shop so that I can get some air in my lungs. I really do advise getting yourself outside as it will give you time away from your work. In fact here is an article which outlines how valuable purposeless walking can be: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27186709
- Don’t panic. Ok so that’s easier said than done when it’s 2 days before your exam and you still don’t feel prepared. What I mean by don’t panic is don’t think about the amount of work you have to do, concentrate on what you are doing and getting that right. So when you’re constructing an answer to a question, don’t think about the fact that you still need to do a ton of reading for another question. Just concentrate on one thing at a time so that you can create good quality answers rather than rushed ones.
- Don’t be a hermit. The worst thing to do is to shut yourself away in your room or in the library, believe me I’ve been there. This time last year I thought it would be best for me to stay away from my housemates so that I could concentrate on my exams without distractions, therefore if I wasn’t at the library I was shut away in my room. But this was a mistake. You need your friends around you because isolating yourself is likely to make you even more stressed because all you think about is work. So make plans with your friends and family, like going out for a meal or baking a cake, so that you can take your mind off the work for a bit.
I hope this helps. Good luck with exams everyone! 🙂