Playlists, Pints & Planning Ahead: Exam Reflection

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Andri reflects on exam stress now that January is over, providing handy tips for May.

Whether you had a mountain of assignments due, heavily weighted exams or maybe were lucky enough to have both, January has been a stressful month for most of us. Particularly as we had to juggle this huge work-load with having a restful and sociable break over Christmas.

Now that the hell period is over (and you may have already celebrated with numerous pints and cheeky G&Ts), it’s probably a good time to reflect on our stress-management to better prepare ourselves for what’s to come in May…

Here are my tips for when exam season rolls around:

1. Organisation

There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve run out of time, so it’s no wonder that “organisation is the key to success” is such a commonly used phrase. Organisation is not my strong point so I’ve found that writing out as much as I can on my phone calendar really helps me manage work and personal responsibilities. In the run-up to exams/deadlines, I’d recommend writing out a timeline of when you plan to get tasks completed to keep you on track to reach your overall goals.

2. Finding what revision strategy works for you

This one is more personal and requires a bit of trial of error as everyone has different learning styles. But finding your ideal revision strategy can make all the difference when it comes to exams. You’ll find that your revision will become more effective in terms of retaining information when you have a strategy which works for you, so you’ll feel more motivated to keep working.

3. Discovering your ideal work environment

Finding your ideal work environment is crucial because it can have a huge effect on your mood, focus and quality of work. You might find that working amongst loads of other students in Laidlaw Library motivates you. If that’s too daunting, a private booth or a quiet study area in your school building might suit you more.  Whichever one it is, don’t feel pressured to just follow your friends out of routine because you can always meet up with them for lunch or a coffee break.

4. Identify your stress reliever

This is probably the most important point, because even after following the above steps, all of us inevitably feel stressed at one point or another, so finding how to deal with all those emotions can impact your quality of work and, more importantly, your mental health. I personally find that working out in the morning and listening to a lo-fi beats playlist before bed helps me feel calmer with more mental clarity, so find what works for you and try your best to stick to it – you’ll be reaping the benefits later.

Andri Neocleous