Tackling the Exam Period

By Lucy (Student blogger: MSc Management)

Revising for exams is never an easy process and certainly not one that people want to relive in a hurry. However, exams are generally a part of university life no matter which stage you are at, so it is best to be prepared for them. Exam revision can be very stressful. Many of us face obstacles such as a lack of motivation or uncertainty about what is expected of us, but sometimes all we need is a little bit of direction. Therefore, after reflecting on my years of assessment preparation (the successes and the setbacks) I thought it might be helpful to provide some tips on what I found beneficial in easing some of that exam stress.

  • Keep up to date

With an abundance of new circumstances over the past year, including online exams, online teaching and a greater focus on independent learning, it can be easy to miss learning material. Lecturers provide vast amounts of detail in lecture recordings, additional readings and workbooks – so I would just ensure you have double checked the Moodle page. It is also a good idea to be strategic and make comprehensive and logical notes from the pre-recorded materials throughout the year to save time when you revise.

  • Use a variety of revision techniques

When I first came to university I did not know how to begin tackling revision. The types of exams and exam content were different to what I was used to at A-Level, and I often found that trying to replicate techniques I had previously used was not always effective at university level. I learnt that the most effective approach for me was to compile many methods together to ensure a greater comprehension of material such as: re-visiting lectures, condensed notes, cue cards, diagrams and lots of colour. People obviously know what works best for them, but from my experience variety is a winner.

  • Create to-do lists

Often it can be rather overwhelming trying to balance current learning with revision. Making to-do lists can ensure that everything you need to do is written down so nothing is forgotten. Making to-do lists can provide you with the motivation to work towards getting something crossed off, as there is nothing more satisfying than having a finished list. However, one thing I would say in regards to such lists is to be reasonable with yourself. It is very easy to get carried away writing down everything you want to get done but this can often make the targets unattainable. Breaking the lists up into different days can ensure that your goals and strategy work for you.

  • Have a weekly schedule

Again, emphasising the previous point, sometimes we can forget how much time we have in a day to get things done. By creating weekly schedules, you can physically see how many days you have to get stuff done. Mark key deadlines and activities on these schedules so you can actively plan smaller personal targets to work towards. Remember, there are 24 hours in a day – following the 8/8/8 method (8 hours sleep, 8 hours studying and 8 hours for eating, socialising and jobs) often helped me manage me time and my life.

  • Take breaks

Finally, make sure to take some breaks! Having small breaks in-between study sessions for some snacks, exercise (such as walks) or chatting to friends and family is really important. The Pomodoro method of 25 minutes studying for a 5-minute break often keeps me focused but ensures I don’t burn myself out. Looking after your health and well-being is a number one priority when undergoing stressful situations, and by having breaks it allows for a change of scenery while also making it easier to focus on your return.

Best of luck to everyone in their assessments and examinations, I hope these tips can be of assistance to anyone who is feeling a bit overwhelmed and lost. You can do it!