It has come to the time of year when most university students will be hitting the books or studying at the library in the hope of achieving some peace and quiet, and being able to focus on their work. Yes that’s right, it’s exam season...
In this post, I hope to give you some tips for how you can succeed in your January exams, and the joy of these tips is that they are very easy to implement and should help to motivate you just that little bit more whenever you’re flagging.
Meditation: Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’re likely to have heard of the term ‘meditation’. Many people are often baffled as to what it means, and I’ll admit I still don’t fully understand myself. However, I do know that it helps you to develop more self-awareness, to better manage your emotions and to get some control over your thoughts. During exam time, we can go through stressful periods, where we feel like we have so much to do that we don’t even know how to start. By meditating for just five or ten minutes at the start of each day in the lead up to your exams, you will be allowing yourself a chance to be still, breathe, and focus on something that isn’t revision. Giving yourself this mental break should set you up well for the day ahead, giving yourself some much needed clarity. This will definitely benefit your exam performance.
Sleep: So simple but so effective! We all need our sleep. Even if you believe yourself to be a night owl, feeling that you work better by staying up late and working into the early hours of the morning, try to get some early nights in the weeks when you have exams. Trust me, when you’re sitting in the exam hall the next morning, your brain will thank you when you feel awake rather than so shattered you could fall asleep right there and then. Overall, it will help to make your experience of your exams, no matter how tough, just a little bit better.
Stretch: When we’re working at our desks revising for most of the day, it can be so easy to stay sat down and it’s not until we finish work for the day that we realise how stiff and tense our muscles have become. Our necks can get particularly sore if we’re sat hunched over a screen for several hours at a time. So, to combat this tension, make one of your breaks a chance to stand up for five minutes and perform some gentle stretching exercises, maybe rolling your neck back and forth a few times, or stretching out your arms and legs. You could even listen to some relaxing music while you’re doing this.
Look at the sky: This is a bit of a obscure tip for a post about exam revision, but something I personally would really recommend is to take some time each day to look out of your window (or if you can be outside in the fresh air, even better). Look up at the sky and remind yourself of how big the world really is. At university it can be very easy to feel like you’re living in a bit of a bubble, and we forget that there is more going on outside in the rest of the world. The world will not end if you fail this exam. Look at the sky and say to yourself, I can only do my best. Everything will be okay.
Treats! Lastly, an extra nice one to end on! Make sure to treat yourself after your exams are over, no matter how you think they’ve gone. Go to the SU and get lunch with your friends, go out for a wild night to celebrate, buy a bag of cookies on your way home. You deserve it! Relax and enjoy it, knowing that the exam is out of your hands now. You can’t do anything about it now, so you might as well go have some fun.
I hope this has reassured you in making you realise that some of the most important things you can do for yourself over the exam period are to look after yourself, both physically and mentally, as this will ensure you are performing at your very best.
Good luck in all your exams!