Motley Staff Writer Sadhbh Sullivan gives you some tips on how to cope in an exam situation, and what to do leading up to an exam
With the excitement of Christmas comes the fear of exam season. They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun,’ but unfortunately, it also flies when you’re not. In the depths of each winter, I find myself wondering how exactly I managed to fall so far behind on work, and how I can allocate my time in the best way possible to maximise my exam performance. As the semester comes to an end, this can seem like the most stressful time of the year, but there are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re the best version of your academic self on the day of your exam, and of course, a few things to remember if things don’t quite go your way.
Look After Your Body
Most twenty-something-year-old’s need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Although the extended library opening hours might entice you to stay on campus well into the early hours of the morning, it’s unlikely that pulling an all-nighter will actually help your exam performance. Try to get enough sleep every night so that you know you’re putting your best foot forward for every exam.
While it might seem like the only thing you have time for is studying, it’s also really important to make sure that you’re taking time to eat properly. Make time for three meals every day. The main rest has great affordable, healthy meal options if you don’t quite have enough time to cook.
Be proactive with your problems
While you may have had a lot of time to find the solutions to things you’ve been struggling with on your own earlier in the semester, now is the right time to reach out to lecturers and classmates if you don’t quite understand something. Try not to waste too much time worrying about what you don’t know and focus on what you can do right now instead.
Accept that not everything will go your way
Life is full of ups and downs, and college is no exception. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to cover all of your exam content. If you’re running out of time, try to break your content down according to its importance. Work on the topics that are most likely to come up on an exam first and focus on the rest afterwards.
Know your exam timetable
Although it might seem like the only important information on your exam timetable is the times, dates and locations, your timetable also tells you if your exam has assigned reading time. Look out for any symbols that might suggest this on your timetable and be sure to arrive to your exam before your allocated reading or start times.
Know your options
Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s okay. If you find yourself in any valid circumstance that prevents you from sitting an exam (due to illness or family bereavement), make sure you get in touch with your lectures and course coordinators and let them know what’s going on. Any exam that you can’t sit this semester will take place during the Autumn supplemental exams. Similarly, if you fail a module exam, the repeat will also take place at this time.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Although it might feel like it, exams are not the be-all and end-all. If you feel like an exam hasn’t quite gone your way, try not to be too hard on yourself. At the end of the day, you are not your exam results. Stay positive and stay hopeful. There’s nothing more you can do than your best.