Exam Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again. Late night cramming, higher than average chocolate consumption, and a burning desire to go out and tequila slam your problems away (just me?).

Exam season is tough. Whether this is your first time trying to handle multiple exams at once, or you’re a low key pro at revising… it’s easy to let the stresses overwhelm you. Even now, I am still trying to learn how I work best and how to handle my workload. Here are some of my top tips to surviving your summer exams:

1)      Organise yourself as well as you can: Organisation is the key to any successful revision. There is no way you can try and retain such large quantities of information with notes scattered around the place and sections missing. Before you start making notes for each module/ subject etc., make sure you have all the resources and information you need to hand. Stock up on paper, cue cards, coloured pens, pencils and anything else you think will allow you to make the best notes possible. A clear and concise set of notes to work from can really make the world of difference.


2)      Give yourself enough time: Don’t be that person who leaves everything to the last minute, and has to spend the night before the exam messaging your friends to ask for their notes on that section you missed 2 months ago. They won’t like you, you won’t like you, and I guarantee that it won’t make for a good exam. Give yourself realistic allocated amounts of time for different sections to use as a target. If you slightly overrun, don’t hate yourself for it. Renegotiate your timings and carry on.


3)      Work with friends: If you were blessed with the ability to read and re-read notes and just naturally pick them up, good for you. But in reality, it can be really hard to retain streams of information in such a mundane way. Don’t be afraid to work with your friends! I have been doing it for years and I find it’s where I get to actually understand the information. I like to spend some time working through the content myself, then meeting with a friend or group of friends and talking about areas we didn’t understand or answering each other’s questions. If you’re really highly strung and a low key control freak (like me), make some question cards that you can use to test each other with. It works really well to switch up your revision style from time to time, so go to Costa and grab a Raspberry Lemonade or Peach Iced Tea from the new ‘Summer Menu’ and help each other out!


4)      Leave the house: This is the tip I wish someone had tried to hit me up with a little earlier (and is the current battle I am having with my housemates). Believe it or not, there is a world outside of revising. You will do yourself no favours staying inside and depriving yourself of fresh air for weeks on end. Take a walk, go for brunch, go to the gym (if you felt really compelled to do so), whatever tickles your pickle. You will burn out if you do nothing but work from the minute you wake up until you go to sleep. This is not the expectation of what you are meant to be doing, so don’t do it. Live a little.


5)      If it won’t stick, move on and come back to it: It is so tempting to spend hours on the same section and not let yourself move on until you know it. If you’re not in the right mentality to take in a certain piece of information, move on. There is nothing stopping you from coming back to it and trying again later. Don’t waste time getting mad at yourself. It really isn’t worth it. Leave it, look at something new, and try it again when you feel ready to do so.


Like I said earlier, revision and exams are not the be all and end all. Although it may feel like it at the time, you will get the exam done one way or another and you have to move on from it. Revise properly and productively, look after yourself, and give yourself time to relax and recharge.

Good luck everyone, they’ll be over before you know it.

Ellie x


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