By Courtney Withers
Ah, exams. Everyone’s least favourite time of the year.
It’s a time of stress, late nights, sore eyes from screen staring, and a plethora of empty cups of tea on your desk. It’s a time where, for three weeks or so, everyone is busy memorising content and frantically writing up essay plans, and the most you’ll hear from some your friends is a shared TikTok or two.
The precipice of the winter break is just within touch, but is still numerous exams away. You can almost smell the crisp air from down south and visualise nights spent by a fire with a hot chocolate in hand. You’ll be there shortly I’m sure, but just not quite yet.
This time is as annoying as a piece of gum stuck to your shoe, or finding out that your favourite TV show isn’t returning for another season. It’s limbo basically and we’re all stuck there until the break has officially begun. Everyone collectively looks as stressed as the next person in Reid, and for once, there’s actually some peace and quiet in that library.
So how do we get through this period without not wanting to completely pull all of our hair out?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Purely out of interest and not because I’m trying to procrastinate from the study I should really be doing, I’ve researched into the web’s best exam tips and tricks. Most of these tips you likely will be familiar with already, but I hope at least one of them might be new and helpful for you.
- Avoid stress-heads
According to The Good Universities Guide*, avoiding people that are going to stress you out during the exam period is probably wise. I think in particular, avoid the ‘I didn’t even study and still got a HD’ type of person. Let’s be honest, we all know them and know how much more stressed they can make you. So maybe just try not to subscribe to that kind of energy and don’t compare yourself to other people and how they are ‘studying’.
Stick to being around people that will make you calmer, and not people that will actually increase your stress. Sorry acclaimed HD-go-getter-without-studying, you are simply not worth my time.
- All-nighters ain’t it
Surprise, surprise. Staying up all night to study for an exam will actually effect your cognitive function the next day – crazy right? Although tempting to just smash out everything you need to do in one sitting until the early morning, it actually will come back to bite you in the ass.
Lonsdale Institute says in their tips for exam periods, “Too little sleep disrupts the neural pathways that allow information to travel smoothly from one area of the brain to another, a bit like a train that’s been diverted onto the wrong set of tracks. As a result, your working memory (which handles problem-solving and decision making) fails to kick in, and you take the long route in finding your answers.”*
So basically, instead of being at your prime for smashing out the extended answer section like a legend, you’ll find yourself struggling to even recall one of the multiple choice answers. Coming from someone who’s not the best sleeper, the one thing I have always come back to is how important sleep actually is.
If you actually go to bed early and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, you’ll feel so much more focused and switched on the next day. The Headspace ‘Guide to Sleep’ on Netflix actually is pretty great and I would highly recommend it for anyone who’s struggling to get to sleep before an exam or just in general.
- Actually eat a Kit-Kat and have a break
Ok, the website didn’t say you actually have to consume a Kit-Kat, but you do really need to take proper breaks. Insider Guides suggests that when you’re not studying, you should let yourself have a break and relax properly*. It’s hard to not think about anything but your looming exams during this period of looming exams, but look, it’s important to at least try.
Take time to watch a mindless episode of something and completely switch off. Might I recommend an Architectural Digest episode on YouTube? There’s something kind of comforting about looking at expensive celebrity homes.
Just like an introvert needs time by themselves, you need time apart from study in order to remain focused and calm. Maybe also have a Kit-Kat as well while you’re at it because why not — they’re delicious.
- Have your eye on the prize
Finally, focus on how good it’s going to feel when you’ve finished all of your exams and have something to look forward to. Top Universities suggest that if you do this, “you’ll find yourself feeling far more motivated to get the work done”* and be less distracted in general.
Have that down south trip at the back of your mind and think about the roasting of marshmallows, the Shiraz wine tasting in Margaret River, the fresh ocean breeze and, you get the idea…
So turns out, the web actually does serve its purpose and provides some pretty good tips when it comes to getting through the exam period.
It’s an all-round stressful time after a busy semester, but remember, the winter break is within arm’s reach and this period really will be over as quickly as you can smash a Kit-Kat.
Courtney cannot stop listening to the SOUR album. Seriously, she needs assistance.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.