how to stay sane when taking university exams.

It is the season for students all over the country to walk around and tell everyone how stressed they are. Or how much revision they’ve done but still no nothing. Or how they can’t wait for their first post-exam pint. Happy May everyone!

This will my third year of taking university exams and it actually a year since I last sat one. I’m nervous, obviously, but after six years of revising and studying and sitting exams I have my pre-exam prep down to a tee. I thought I’d share my tips and tricks for exam season in case anyone is need of a little nudge.

work when you work best.

I cannot stress the importance of this. Whether you a morning bird or a night owl, it doesn’t matter what you are, work when you work best. I work best from mid-morning into late evening.

I can’t pull all-nighters or study in the library from 7am but I can work really well in the hours I know I thrive best in. I think it is just important to listen to yourself and not feel like you have to set up camp in the library for nine hours straight at 6pm.

have chill time scheduled.

It can be too easy to forget that sometimes our brains need to relax. If you have six days till your next exam it can be really difficult to allow yourself a couple of chill hours slotted in here and there. Do this for your sanity people.

Watch a bit of Netflix in the morning before you start or arrange coffee dates with your friends during the day to break it up. Maybe allow yourself a lie in on a weekend and going out for dinner on one evening won’t kill you. It is just as important to relax as it is to study or you’ll burn out.

remember to eat.

I must confess, it is very rare that I’ll forget to eat. I spend most of my time thinking about my next meal. If you are in the library for prolonged periods of time it can be easy to forget to have lunch though. I always try to organise my lunches if I know I’m going to be studying all day so I don’t go hungry.

This is also a great way to prevent a Deliveroo order or a Pret run as I’m not hungry when I leave or too tired to cook when I get home. It is also handy for working from home as it means you don’t need to waste a lot of time on making a meal if you’ve pre-prepared.

stay hydrated.

This is something I definitely need to remember to do. I’m awful for drinking enough water anyway let alone when you factor in the stress of exams. I always try to take a bottle of water to the library with me and make sure I know where the water fountains are in order to fill up. When I work from home (which I prefer to do) I have a sippy cup on my desk as I find it a lot easier to drink water with this there for some reason.

make a study plan.

I’m a planner by nature and ever since I started properly studying for exams when I was fifteen I’ve been using a study plan. I tend to make notes of all the themes I need to cover in my revision, texts I need to revisit and when I need to have it done for.

I just draw up a calendar on a piece of paper and write in when I want to get things done. Breaking revision down like this makes me feel a lot more organised and less overwhelmed.

find your work space.

I love studying at home as it is where I feel most peaceful and calm. Working from home in the comfort of my pyjamas or chill clothes at my desk with my music playing loud and a few candles burning is my favourite place to be.

Don’t feel pressured into declaring you can only now be found in the library if studying there isn’t where you are most productive. Sometimes if I need a kick-start I like to study for a couple of hours in my favourite local café as it makes it feel less stuffy and difficult – a breath of fresh air.

If you are ~ still ~ struggling I wrote about my tips & tricks for managing a busy month which might useful during exam period if you are still trying to live your life.