I hope you’re all good. It’s that time of year once again. The end of March/ start of April: as a student you’re starting to realise that exam season is approaching faster and faster. My first thoughts are actually where did this year go!? It feels just like yesterday when I was starting second year and now I’ve literally got just a couple of weeks till I’m done.
It’s so crazy how time flies by. I can’t even say I’ve been having fun either. Second year has been a challenging year- academically but also mentally. It almost reminds me of A2 (second year of sixth form/college). That year was just awful in terms of balancing it all. I find myself almost feeling like that 18 year old with the weight of the world on my shoulders again. I just don’t understand it though – I know for a fact that I can pass exams. I know I can learn content. But right now, I’m just scared.
I know I’m not alone, I’ve spoken to course mates, friends and seen numerous tweets on Twitter. It seems like we’re all going through it right now. I know that if I walk into that exam tomorrow, I can say for certain that I won’t get the grades that I want. It’s crazy because I’ve got huge ambitions but my current work rate doesn’t match them. Second year is actually 40% of my final grade. Wow, I need to let that sink in.
So, today I’m taking control and changing things for the better. If you are in secondary school, college, university and you know you’ve got exams in the months of May & June- this is for you. I know you’ve looked at your calendar and have counted the amount of weeks you have left to learn and revise the whole year’s content. Roughly speaking, just over a month right?
I’m not trying to scare you, trust me we’re in the same boat. So I thought I’d compile some tips of how to still SMASH THOSE EXAMS. Let’s speak it into existence- that A*/1st/2:1 is still achievable.
Disclaimer: I’m not the perfect student, but I’ve been sitting exams for a good 5 years now consistently, so I’ve got an idea or two.
1) Plan & strategise
This is so important, honestly. Plan your revision sessions, because you will waste more time by not having a clear structure. Revision timetables are extremely handy, if you can plan your week from morning to night. There is no way that you won’t have a productive day & overall week.
You can find so many helpful templates online!
It is actually up to you how you want to do this. You know yourself; you know if you work better early mornings or late nights- so only you can plan your revision. You know what modules need more work and which ones are a walk in the park.
Personally, I find it easier to actually list what I need to do and I set myself a deadline of when I should do it by. E.g. read and take notes on chapter 12 by 3rd April. This way, I am free with how I choose to revise. I can have one lazy day and then work over-time another day. This requires more discipline however, because you have more freedom to do things as you please.
As I sit through my library sessions, I almost lose hope and wonder how I’m going to pass these exams. But then I also remember that this summer is going to be LIT. However, before I can have fun this summer- exams are first. The very thought of Summer just motivates me to work harder. Put in work now & enjoy later.
Enjoying summer is just short term thing. Let’s think long term instead. Just think about life after education, when you’re excelling in your chosen field of work; when you’re living your life goals. Success is a result of self determination.
I want the houses, the cars and holidays. This just means that I need to be working super hard right now.
3) Make it a lifestyle
You need to stop seeing revision as such a chore. See it as a lifestyle. Make it as fun as it can be. I know that if you’re studying something quite boring, it’s hard to make it exciting. But be sure to balance your revision with something that you enjoy too!
Just look at how fast the past couple of months have gone by… so just imagine how fast exams will fly by too!
On the topic of lifestyle. Protect yours. What I mean by this, is protect your mental health, especially during this period. It’s mentally exhausting on all of us, don’t push yourself to an extreme that you cannot. Don’t compare yourself to someone else- if you see that same person at the library from 8am-10pm everyday, but you know that you cannot do the same – don’t even bother. You’ll just end up exhausting yourself & you won’t even be productive anyways. Be realistic. Work at a pace, that you can! Everyone works differently. Stay healthy, take breaks. You won’t do yourself any favours by burning yourself out.
4) Avoid distractions..
.. not completely though. Remember you need breaks, remember you need time out. Spend time with friends and family. Have a weekend off, sometimes.
But, remember that this is not the time to start a whole new series on Netflix. Try to minimise distractions as much as possible. If that means turning off your phone for a couple of hours, then so be it. You won’t miss much. (I need to remember this tip the most!)
It’s not every motive that you must attend. This is why I say plan- you might work hard on Monday to Friday & give yourself the weekend off. Of course, life happens; you’ll have family parties, friends birthdays and what not- just as long as you can schedule yourself properly, then you should be fine. I know some people really avoid going out completely, because they can’t handle the distraction and that is okay too. (Just as long as you don’t completely isolate yourself from others).
5) Ask questions!
Ask your lecturers questions. Ask your tutorial leaders questions. Ask your course mate questions. I cannot reiterate it enough. You don’t want to go into the exam and not be fully equipped with the information you need to know. Honestly that is what they are there for- your benefit!
Remember you are paying for your education, you are entitled to help if you need it. All you have to do is ask.
6) Keep on going
Now my final tip is to just keep on going. Keep on going when it gets tough. Keep on going when you feel like giving up. That vision of where you want to be, what you want to succeed- keep it close to your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 – I can do all things through Christ the Lord who strengthens me.
I wish you all, the best of luck and success in your forthcoming exams.
Don’t forget: Keep on going.