Lifestyle University

Three ways to beat exam season

Find out our top tips to get through exam season, and make the most out of study leave.

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Credit: Sam Ormiston

With exams fast approaching, it’s crunch time for us Stirling students. Classes have finished and most deadlines and dissertations are now a distant memory. Only one thing stands between you and summer: Exams. The culmination of all the hard work you’ve put in this year can come down to just a couple of hours in the Gannochy on a Monday morning in May.

Here are three fool proof ways to make the most out of study time, and ensure that you get the grades that you deserve, in order to graduate or progress to the next academic year:

Find your study space and leave your phone at home

Studying at home is preferable for some, but I find it’s mostly full of distractions. It’s so easy to close Canvas and turn on the telly. Your flatmates will walk into your room for a catch-up or to invite you out for food or drinks, and if you have the same level of will-power as I do, you’ll be in ‘Musk’ quicker than you can say, “I’m just going to pres”.

Finding your own study space that suits you is essential. The library is now open 24/7. There is something to suit everybody, from silent floors to private study rooms which you can book out if you work well studying in groups. If you want to get anything done, I wouldn’t recommend the Study Zone, because it’s a lot more social and you’re bound to run into someone you know.

If you are coming onto Campus, switch off your phone or, even better, leave it at home altogether. It’s far too easy to check up on your friends’ Snaps or Instas, especially if they are all out socialising while you are stuck on the third floor of the library.

Take regular breaks and set short-term goals

If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn’t be out running all day, every day. The same applies to studying. Human attention spans are short, so if nothing is sinking in, take half an hour to give your brain a rest. Whether that be going to the gym, walking around Airthrey Loch or grabbing a bite to eat in the Union with your friends, all of these things can help to reduce stress and keep you sane.

Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself. Set some short-term goals. For example, promise yourself that once you read a certain chapter, or ‘Listen Again’ to a certain lecture, then you will buy some snacks, or go and meet your friends for a catch-up. Doing this will give you an incentive to pull your socks up and get stuff done.

At the end of the day, the only person that can get you the results you want, is you. University life as a whole is entirely what you make of it, and exams are no different. It’s important to try and maintain that work-life balance, or in a student’s case, that work-life-study-socialise-exercise-friendship-relationship balance. However, don’t feel pressured into going out just because all your friends are. ‘Fear of Missing Out’ can be a terrible feeling, but surely it would be better to get a first and celebrate after exams are done.

Don’t leave things until the last minute, and speak to your lecturers

Being a student isn’t easy. Between part-time jobs, socialising, playing sport and taking part in clubs and societies, time can run away from you. Making a rough timetable is advisable, to make the most out of the time you have between now and your exams. However, don’t waste a whole day making a colour-coded exam timetable and printing it out, because chances are you won’t stick to it.

If you have a part-time job, book days off work in the week leading up to your exams. With the last SAAS payment coming up, it’s tempting to pick up those extra shifts to pay for all the things you want to do this summer. However, it will be worth it in the long run to knuckle down, study hard and get those grades.

Another important piece of advice is to speak to your lecturers well before exam day if there is something you are unsure of. They are there to help, and will all have office hours, which is time set aside each week specifically to help students. If there’s anything you don’t understand, just ask. Chances are they will give you a better answer than your classmates, and remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Whether you were reading out of interest, procrastinating, or simply clicked on this link by mistake, I hope these words of wisdom will help you to make the most out of the time you have left before exam season starts. The clock is ticking. Now get back to work!

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