It really wasn’t that bad

By Deji (Student blogger: BSc Marketing)

This week, I was hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok, and flat out deceived. See, I was forced to attend a workshop that is by nature, voluntary. A workshop that, only hours before, I had received an alert of, but decided to mentally, politely decline. It was on ‘types of learners and learning strategies’, and apart from just wanting my ‘institutionally allocated’ free time, I thought, “I’ve been learning just fine, thank you very much”. Yet, there I was, course mates in the same sorry boat sat around me; bright-eyed and hardly-tamed first years sat around us. I got out my pen and notepad, and searched for a spot in the wall that might make the next hour go by quicker.

The coordinator handed out copies of one of those scoring charts that swear they know you more than you could possibly know yourself. This one was called VARK – essentially a list of questions with multiple choice answers that, depending on your choices, would determine what type of learner you are. Possibly more useful than finding out which Avenger or Hannah Montana character you are, I know. My chart decided – not to my surprise – that I am “flexible in communication preferences” (in this case, Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, or Kinaesthetic). Woohoo.

Okay, seriously…though it’s true that experience had already shown me what the chart was saying, it was sort of interesting to see it on paper. When we all had our results, the coordinator took us through each of these learning types, as well as the study habits they explain and some strategies that could help us play to our strength(s). You could see in the room, this small sense of being seen and understood. Students who perhaps might have been struggling with traditional study methods/learning strategies and so on. What I felt though, was reassurance. An affirmation that the overly varying, sometimes semi-questionable learning processes that I use, are valid. I hadn’t previously thought to categorise them, because well, if they work, why bother? Yet, there I was, mmm-ing and ahh-ing at the explanations. I actually felt something gratitude-adjacent.

Now I’m no neurologist, but I suppose the lesson here is, we’re probably better off with even a millimetre of our minds open. Bad joke, forget it, thanks. Anyway, I definitely recommend having a quick look at some learning types/strategies, to try to identify a best fit for you. Whatever year/level you’re in, really.

Well, I’ll be at the next workshop and here’s to an even more illuminating session.

It’s Okay

By Becky (Student blogger: BA Hons History)

University is a big step up for everyone, the first time away from home for many and a step up in workload and responsibility. Even going from first into second into third year and even onto postgraduate study can be very overwhelming, especially for the first few weeks back. Everyone’s university experiences are very different, and it is important to know that having a different experience to your friends, housemates, course mates or family is completely normal. Every experience is unique and important.

 

It’s okay to… change course and degree. You may join the university and find the difference between it and your expectations a bit too much, but switching modules or courses is possible and an option taken by many to help shape their degree into what you really want it to be. Seeking help from your lecturers and college is a great start to help you settle into the academic side of university.

It’s okay to… not join societies. They aren’t for everyone! Creating your own society is a great idea if you can’t find your interests in one that already exists, but you can still find people who share the same aspirations and hobbies outside of societies. It is always worth trying out taster sessions on offer as you meet some amazing people and do amazing things, but these are not your only options, so put yourself out there!!

It’s okay to… feel homesick. It’s natural. Even as a third year, I still get homesick, sometimes all I want is to talk to my mum. Fresher’s/Welcome week suddenly disappears and the pressure of work and living independently gets to everyone, but you are certainly not alone in this.

It’s okay to… not get on with everyone. It’s impossible to get on with everyone, that’s just a fact. Bridges can be burnt if people make you uncomfortable. Its worth reaching out to societies and your course and flatmates to find people, chances are you’ll meet some friends for life, but don’t be downhearted if this doesn’t happen straight away. You may not meet some of your closest friends until much later on than fresher’s week. There is still plenty of time.

It’s okay to… take a break!!! University is tough, a huge step up with huge responsibility and it’s overwhelming for the vast majority of people. If this happens, just take a step back and remember how far you’ve come to make it to university and how well you are already doing! Watch that series, go for drinks, have a weekend at home, you deserve it!

 

Your university experience is unique, and can be a difficult way of living to grow into. But just being able to say that you are a student here at Lancaster shows how far you have come, even if the first few weeks are tough.

It’s okay to feel like you don’t fit in with everyone’s expectations and feel different, chances are the people around you feel just the same!

 

Financial habits I’m taking into 3rd year

By Hannah (Student blogger: BA Hons Advertising and Marketing)

If you know me, I am the person you would least expect to be writing a blog post related to finance at university. Previous shopaholic combined with an expensive taste in coffee, I have definitely been taken in by the sudden surge of financial freedom in the past two years of being at university and have not saved or spent in the best way.

Having just turned 21 however and entering my final year in Lancaster, I’ve decided I need to start taking money seriously. I’m not promising these tips and habits are going to be ground-breaking BUT they definitely will help me, and hopefully some of you, be better at controlling your finances this year.

  1. Use a Monzo card

They’re free and simple to apply for with no additional interest. I’ve recently set up my own Monzo bank account to run alongside my student bank account and it’s probably the best thing I’ve done for my money. Once you’ve signed up they send you a card and you have access to their online banking app which notifies you IMMEDIATLEY every time you spend ANYTHING as well as a total of how much you’ve spent that day: amazing guilt reminder. I like to use it to set limits on my daily or weekly budget. (AND if you convince a friend to download it, you both get £5 for free!)

  1. Instant coffee

I love Caffe-Nero, Costa, Starbucks and all the local cosy coffee shops in Lancaster but I think last year my addiction to store bought coffee got a little out of hand. I’m not saying to cut out your syrupy, frothy (or smooth), amazing barista-made coffee completely but maybe save it for once or twice a week when you can fully enjoy it and not just out of habit or caffeine need. You can also get some really cute reusable coffee cups for those early morning 9ams where instant coffee will do just fine.

  1. Food-shopping

I’m all for collecting nectar points and I love an innocent smoothie (the one on offer of course), but now Lidl has opened in town there’s literally no reason why I wouldn’t choose to cut my food shopping bill SIGNIFICANTLY. Also, I’m going to try shopping little and often to avoid wasting food.

  1. Eating out

If you don’t already have UNIDAYS – download it now! Studentbeans and the student’s union purple card additionally all offer a % off you food bill if you eat out on specific days in some restaurants so choose wisely! I think its important to not deprive yourself of socialising and eating out but being smart about it with discounts is definitely the way forward.

  1. Cut your problem area

This one is my most drastic change in spending, but I’ve decided to do a no-spend-on-clothes until after Christmas. Identify your problem area and COMMIT. Also I found it useful to identify what fuelled my clothes spending and want to cut that too: for example, I’ve stopped watching clothes hauls on YouTube, and planning on walking through town past the shops a lot less.

  1. Multiple income channels

When I was researching how to improve finances and build savings, nearly all the advice blogs and videos mentioned multiplying your income channels: essentially having more than one way of getting money. As well as my student loan and scholarship, I’ve decided to increase my hours at my part time job and am in the process of being a student ambassador. The University always has one off and flexible ways of earning a little extra income so even if its to pay for Christmas presents, plan-ahead and multiply those income channels!

  1. Take a photo, make a list

This is my oldest tip and habit but if you are in a shop and really want something you don’t NEED, take a photo or write it down. Chances are 50% of the time you will forget about it before you even get home. If you can go a week or month and still want it then allow yourself to go back and get it.

 

All in all I am as much as a beginner at saving, budgeting and financial planning as anyone else but being realistic these are the habits I hope to use at least this term so I can start building savings and not worry every time I pay for something hoping my card isn’t declined! Remember your WHY and REASONS for saving and it makes that Frappuccino or Topshop sale a lot less appealing. At the same time, university gives you a sense of financial freedom so as much as I encourage you to be sensible and plan, be prepared to be realistic and have fun, not obsessing over every last penny.

 

Dear Freshers: Make Michaelmas Magical

By Sean (Student blogger: MSci Hons Computer Science)

“Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats

Everybody here wanted something more,

Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before

Taylor Swift – Welcome to New York

The thing is, you don’t really know what to expect. Be it the Big Apple or the much smaller Lancaster University, we tend to look through gold-tinted glasses when we arrive somewhere for the first time. This is especially true during pivotal moments of change within our lives, like our first meal alone as an adult, or our first steps into the first room we will live independently in.

During Michaelmas, everything is exciting and seems to lure you in. While the second-and-third-year students trudge through their daily routines, you’re dancing through the North Spine at the thought of finally being able to enjoy a Subway footlong every day. Nights out are crazy adventures with your mates instead of long overdue stress relief outlets, and workshop activities tend to be fun rather than headache-inducing.

I think it’s extremely important to play your cards well during Michaelmas.

Not necessarily right, but well.

I do feel many miss out on making the most of the first term. It’s the term where you have the most time and freedom but when you are also the most malleable. If you take advantage of it, you’ll find yourself growing in ways you won’t be able to forget.

Here is a list of, in my opinion, five most important things to do or start making a habit of during the Michaelmas term:

  1. Attend Welcome/Fresher’s week

Welcome week or Fresher’s week is your golden ticket to a well-rounded taste of university life. You get your course introduction, course facilities tour, orientation and initiation events and best of all: hauls of free stuff. The freebie and society fairs are the best targets, with things ranging from amazon prime trials to bicycle seat covers to GLOW nightclub member cards on the table, up for grabs. In fact, if you play it savvy and hop from event to event (especially your college events), you’ll find there isn’t a need to spend any money on food in the first week due to the opportunities to grab meals at events.

Aside from freebies, the other major benefactor of welcome/fresher’s week is how it helps you settle in. From ‘meet your course-mate’ events and course inductions, you’ll find a few buddies, which does make your first lectures feel a little nicer. Within your block or flat, your fresher’s reps join you on nights out while looking after and having fun with you. This is one of the few times everybody in your block is free, so make use of that to have a good time and get to know each other.

  1. Try talking to people

Like many others, I found myself quite intimidated by the looming idea of being tossed into a sea of new people and being expected to talk to them. However, the monsters turned out to be just trees: during welcome/fresher’s week, nobody knows anybody. People tend to be more open and willing to make conversation because everybody wants to meet new people and make friends. I talked to people in queues, in cafes, at events and made quite a few friends; and it wasn’t as scary as I made it out to be. Give it a go – I promise people won’t hiss at you.

  1. Join a society

Honestly, you might end up not attending all of your societies by 2nd or 3rd term. Nevertheless I still think this is a great idea, as you get to connect with like-minded people, and if you find something you really like, you’ll end up meeting a group of people you can vibe with who might end up being good friends. The first few society meetings tend to be free, so if there’s any time to join one, this is it.

  1. Get the ball rolling (academically)

Go to class. You really don’t want to fall behind or miss out on what are the most basic levels of your course, especially if your course requires a strong foundation. I made the mistake of skipping or not paying attention in a lot of my earlier lectures, and felt the effects later on when challenging coursework came in. It’s surprisingly easier if you take it step-by-step and just remember to keep up with your lecture notes every week.

  1. Learn to adult

Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of home-cooked meals or having your laundry magically do itself anymore. You’re an adult now and you have to learn to do things on your own from cleaning your room to sorting out your finances. Given its introductory nature, Michaelmas is undeniably the best time for you to get a grip of “adulting”. Get to know your way around campus. Learn to cook a few meals – some fancy and some fast. Get the hang of the public transport systems so you don’t get stranded in town one night. Show yourself what you can – and can’t do.

I hope this helps you get a vague idea of a game plan for the first term. Don’t fret if you’ve missed out on a few opportunities- you still have plenty of time and many more to come. Just make sure you’re doing whatever you can, whenever you can, and stay as happy as you can be.

Good luck – and welcome to Lancaster University!

Forget Your Promises

By Deji (Student blogger: BSc Marketing)

I don’t have it in me to count how many times I’ve scripted and pledged to some plan of attack that fills the entirety of a holiday with revision and yet, reached the last hours of that holiday having done nothing of the sort. It’s easier than it has the right to be, and happens whenever a university or school term has all but had me concussed.

In battles between me and almighty terms, I’ve had to choose between myself and my grades. Grades have won each time, but the cost has always (eventually) been worth it. Nothing drastic – only the simple sacrifices of sleep and a proper human diet. After “winning” these battles, my MO has been to swear to myself and anyone within earshot, that the next term would be different. You know, that I would allow myself none of the pleasures of holidays. Read, revise, and repeat, so far ahead that when the time came, I could afford to maintain my grades as well as my sanity.

Not sure why, but this hasn’t been the reality. I’d open my lecture notes once or twice during the break, and that would be it. Pride? Procrastination? Perhaps some measure of the two? You decide. Here’s how it goes:

I’ve run myself ragged. I deserve this break. Days pass, and my notes summon me. They do a poor job of it, though. Oh, look – holiday’s over. There’s been no reading, no revising, and certainly no repeating. I use my lack of terrible grades to convince myself that all is well.

A few weeks into the term, I learn that all might not be well. The anxiety is bad, but the guilt is worse. The sabotaged master plan, the great many hours spent on YouTube. Like that, we’re back to a rough Me Vs. Term.

Last session though, it was different. Here’s my take: Forget your promises. Toss them. Into the infinite afar. And beyond, still. Seriously.

Hear me out. You’ve just completed an aggressive term. Probably not in the best space to be making big promises to yourself. Whenever you’re able to appreciate the approaching holiday for what it is (a holiday), plan out your revision. In doing this however, recognise that you’re not trying to fool anyone. You can only promise one day of each week to revise? One week and nothing else? An hour every day? Do that, then. Decide if you can effectively work your revision around your holiday. Might sound counterintuitive, but I figure that this way, no part of you feels cheated out of well-deserved vacation time. If in fact, it isn’t quite well-deserved, try committing to additional time.

In recognising that vacations exist for us to regroup, you don’t fault yourself for enjoying them. In resisting the urge to overwhelm your vacationing mind to the point where it just says ‘No’, you’re much better prepared for the next You Vs. Term. You and your grades can make it out alive, you know?

Lectures? Seminars? Get ready with university!

By Jojo (Student Blogger: BSc Hons Economics)

Ever wondering what a lecture is like? You might’ve already tried out some during taster days or other events, but you never really tried it for “real”…

At Lancaster, you should expect your lectures to be about 200 students in size, and depending on your course and year of study, your contact hours vary (so if you’re majoring in engineering, then you will have tons of lectures, seminars and laboratory works… Go suffer! Only kidding).

So say myself, an Economics major student. In my first year, I had six hours of economics’ lecture hours in total every week, three for one module, and three for the other. You may enjoy your two hours classes at A-Levels, but trust me, two hour lectures are “not fun”!! Reason is simple – at university, the pace that the content is taught is mind-blowing! It is quite amazing that in the first year of university, we actually learned all of A-Level stuff plus things beyond that within one academic year…So make sure you are prepared to do the work!!

So exactly how are lectures taught? Well, they are just like your ordinary lessons (but a lot bigger in size), except that you may want to listen to the lecturers and make notes of what they said, instead of writing down what’s on the PowerPoint. Firstly, it is a complete waste of time, secondly, you will never have the chance to write everything down on time (you can always look back through the slides and make notes in your own time, or just print them, they will always be on Moodle). Oh! You should also expect that the lecturers will chuck an 85 slides PowerPoint in a two hour lecture 😉

Lancaster is doing something quite interesting with lectures, they actually change lecturers every so often. This is to allow the experts to teach intellectually challenging content to students. For myself, we changed lecturers every six weeks. And the teaching received so far is quite promising, you should expect the lecturers to know “everything”. But also bear in mind, they (university and your department) value your feedback, so if you found their ways of approach are not your favourite, please do tell them and don’t just skive off the lectures, they are very important!

Ok, so we have talked about a 200 student sized lecture, but what about smaller classes, are there any smaller classes? Yes, universities most certainly do…

They are called seminars, a.k.a workshop; tutorial; or sometimes you may see yourself having a clinic (of course, laboratory workshops are slightly different…) I do agree that they are confusing, but they do have the same purposes though — giving you the chance to express your ideas; doing the work required to succeed in your course; giving you the opportunities to ask complex questions to your tutors etc…

It is also the case you may find it easier to make your new “major” friends in seminars (that is, the friends that do the same major as you). These friends can be very helpful, i.e. you may want to study with them, share thoughts, revise together, hanging out etc.

Before you go to the seminars, you are expected to have done all the preparation work, because seminars or workshops are not actually lessons (I thought they were, I was wrong, so I’m telling you right now…), they are a period of time when the tutors assess your understating of the content, as well as helping you when necessary, so they are not teaching you anything new, they are actually discussing the topics with you. So you should see it as opportunities to consolidate your understanding, as well as developing your critical thinking.

That’s it from me! A huge congratulation and welcome for getting into Lancaster. You will not regret of joining this brilliant community, with internationally recognised excellence. And good luck with your future study!!

Bon Courage!! 

The end of the year: Balance, reflection, exams and graduation

By Sophia (Student Blogger: LLB Hons Law)

Every year there are big changes in every person.

As students we have many changes in many parts of our lives.

Before Christmas, we were trying to do our best and most of us were succeeding in many sectors, but after Christmas, almost always something is going to go wrong. From my own experience, I can say that try to have a set program and time for yourself first, so you can be healthy psychologically and physically and, later, if you take care of yourself everything will be ok. You will succeed if you put small goals that lead to the big successful goal.

Trying to be always excellent in every sector of your life will be difficult. Be lenient with yourself, you know your limits and power. If you do not push yourself too hard then you will always have power and strength to continue doing things. All that matters is to be ok mentally and physically. And then you will do better at the academic things.

Feedback can help you to reflect on your year. It is the analysis of your work from professionals. You give a piece of work, your “creation, your baby”, and you are waiting for a specialist to tell you if you need any improvement, or it is ok, or perfect.

University feedback is very important, because from that you can learn many things. Try to accept your mistakes and try to improve yourself so at the end, when you will have exams, you can do your best or in another coursework. Feedback gives us the opportunity to have better communication with our tutor and lecturer. So, this procedure gives opportunity to work better with the department, if any student has some needs the department will help and this continues, and can help lecturers and tutors know if a module needs improvement.

Anything that our departments give us back from our work take it, grab it and try to improve.

Now we arrive at exams… one word that can terrify you.

Every student has their own style of revision. We all want it to be effective and fast but some people panic and think that they will fail. You can take some lessons from everyone. Try to do your best and cultivate yourself from each module. Try to have good communication with lecturers and tutors, so if you need something, they will try to help you.

The secret is not to leave studying until the last minute. Study during the whole academic year, doing weekly or monthly revision for each module and try to have a set program. Program means balance in your life, not being workaholic or “uniholic”. Having good mental and physical health will help you to have a balance, and the word exams will be just a word, and not a difficult procedure.

Some of you will be graduating this year. I know that most of you are happy that you are going to finish and you have new goals to succeed – a job, Master’s degree or academic development, or even travel all over the world.

During your degree you were thinking sometimes if you were doing things right. I think that now the years have passed, you can see that whatever you have been through, it was worthwhile. Why? Because definitely we learnt something. We broadened our horizons and developed ourselves. We are hopefully better human beings.

Sometimes, we cannot see how much we changed and HOW we changed – what were the factors, but definitely, our degrees helped us to change.

Keep changing and change the people next to you. 😊

Networking? Sounds Boring

By Will (Student Blogger: BSc Hons Entrepreneurship and Management)

When people say the word ‘networking’ an image of important business people talking usually springs to mind. I think most people view networking as a process that has zero fun and is purely to make connections that could be useful one day, when you want to call in a favour. This is an outdated view. Networking is incredibly important and university is an absolute gold mine, as there are so many people from different backgrounds with different skills.

Networking doesn’t just mean talking to people that you think have important knowledge that you could draw on one day. Nor is it a process where you set out goals or parameters as to who to talk to and who to avoid.

Networking is natural, we all do it in everyday life whether introverted or extroverted, everyone networks daily. University nurtures many different friendship groups, from flatmates to course mates and society mates. I would advise anyone coming to university to take advantage of this and network with as many people from different places as possible. I personally have developed networks with people from so many backgrounds, with sports persons, entrepreneurs, local politicians and experts in just about every academic field. Akin to these people being incredibly interesting and enriching to have a coffee and chat with, they have proved invaluable to my university career. If I didn’t know many of the entrepreneurs that I currently do, I would never have been able to gain the advice and expertise to help set up my own business within university alongside my studies.

It can always seem too easy to not go to that sports trial or avoid that marketing event with an influential speaker. Its not always that easy to get out there and meet new people while sometimes divulging information about yourself to people you barely know. However, every time you miss that event or decline that invitation to a party or social, you’re limiting the opportunities that university can afford you.

Networking isn’t just for extroverts and people who like talking, it’s for people who want to seize the chance they’ve been given and make the most of life. The more networking someone does the more connected they become, and I can say from experience that the more random opportunities start to pop up, which most people weren’t even aware existed.

The point of this blog was never intended to scare you into going to everything on university campus, because no one has time for all that and as always studying must come first. However next time the opportunity arises to meet someone new or go to a new environment, consider not what might be bad about it or how much time you’ll have to do other stuff if you don’t go. But what could I be missing, what advice and new characters might I hear about, but never be able to experience again, because who knows what the future holds?

So, don’t hold back don’t regret what could have been, but learn from experience and it is true that people make the world go around, so get out there and meet as many interesting ones as you can.

Slow yourself down

By Hannah (BA Hons Advertising and Marketing: Student Blogger)

Slow yourself down.

I don’t think it’s just me who has felt massively overwhelmed with the stresses and pressures that we not only put on ourselves but experience through just existing at university: Trying to balance society responsibilities, a social life, plans for next year, interviews and assessment centres, oh and not to forget your actual degree!

As well as sleeping, eating and generally existing.

It all just seems ever so slightly (massively) impossible.

It seems we are always running around, joining in the constant conversation of ‘what next?’ whilst trying to get absolutely everything done from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed (or, if you’re anything like me, get home at 5pm and ‘accidentally’ nap for four hours; coincidentally, also the amount of sleep I was averaging a night. But at 5pm I refuse to call four hours sleep anything but a ‘nap’!)

I was living on this carousel, and as easy as it is to jump on the ‘ride’, the more you go round and round trying to fit everything in, the dizzier you get and the more overwhelming it all becomes.

Because like a carousel, the ride of University is a positive one with opportunities left, right and centre. But unless you slow down, it’s impossible to enjoy the moments in between: life happening right now. The rest of the ‘fun fair’.

There is no time like right now, these little pockets of time that you are living today. Not next year, not tomorrow but right now. In our little city of Lancaster, which is home for the now. You don’t always need to be going somewhere fast or anywhere at all.

S L O W  D O W N.

Give yourself time.

It’s completely okay if not every day is full of meetings and essay plans and social media schedules, gym sessions, social gatherings and future planning. Some days may look like settling yourself down in a nook of a cosy coffee shop (because Lancaster has an abundance) with the window misty and the rain (again, thank you Lancaster) outside, sipping coffee, slowly working or just watching the world go by.

Take time for yourself, to enjoy the ride of life that isn’t a constant carousel, which in time makes us dizzy and overwhelmed. Don’t spend your entire time on the carousel and at the end of three/four years realise you missed out on the rest of the little joys. The candyfloss of life.

Be intentional with your today. Your now. Tomorrow can wait for some other day. If you’re always rushing to the next moment, ask yourself ‘What happens to the one I’m in?’ Trust me, and just take a moment to appreciate the present moment that IS your life NOW.

And maybe to you this doesn’t look like cosy coffee shops on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. And that’s okay. Your now can be anything you want it to be. Just make it something, anything,  that’s not a tomorrow.

FIKA (Swedish noun): a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life.

One day at a time.

Exams already! Bring it on!

By Will (Student Blogger: BSc Hons Entrepreneurship and Management)

It only seems like yesterday when I was arriving at university ready to start the year, full of optimism and confidence on how I would keep on top of work being the best student I could. It therefore seems almost unreal and more than a bit daunting that the word exam is already being thrown around, with expectations of revision mounting by the passing day.

Though it is true that exams are not particularly enjoyable to partake in, if prepared for in ample time they become infinitely more enjoyable, believe it or not. Now I’m not saying I relish the moment that I can sit in a room writing answers to questions for hours on end. However there have been times when I have come out of the exam hall punching the air in extasy and quietly saying to myself ‘think I smashed that’ or words to that effect. These rare occurrences present themselves whenever I give myself ample time to plan and revise for the designated task.

It is true that everyone revises differently, and I, unfortunately, have no advice on what may be the best for those reading to use. There is one universal practice, however, that will ensure the heavy dread felt in your stomach before each exam is lifted. As the old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ this could not be truer for university exams. A lot of students get caught out with mid term exams, expecting all papers to be sat in third term, this is not the case for most courses, however. I know from experience that despite not actually knowing the material for the exam just knowing the time I had left to revise allowed me to plan in my mind the days I had left to get serious and put a pen to paper.

Preparation for an exam doesn’t just relate to knowing when it is going to commence, however. With most university exams you will be told what you’re expected to do well in advance of sitting the paper, do not ignore this. You would be surprised at how many students ‘wing it’ on the day not reading the brief of what is to come and just banking on the exam being a traditional essay format. Your professors want you to pass their modules and 99% of the time provide hints and tips in the lectures and documents that lay out the exam task. Ensuring you are aware of the exam task before you take the paper greatly increases your chances of success, as you will have been able to at least mentally plan what your approach is.

Finally, university exams sometimes allow you to bring in certain articles and books that can be annotated before the exam. If this is the case use it. It’s too late once you’re in the exam hall, so make sure you have all the required readings with you well before. If you are unsure, just check with your lecturers or course leaders; their job is to help you and they will usually give you extra information if you actively seek them out.

University exams may seem scary but using another adage ‘the bark is worse than the bite’ the more aware you are of them and their contents, the easier they are to conquer.