With the December exams now fast approaching, it’s pretty obvious that most of us will be spending a lot more time either in the library, a cosy café or a chilly Edinburgh kitchen over the next few weeks. Although exams can be anything from an unnecessary bore to an overwhelming pressure, if you follow these five tips your revision will be much simpler and less of a hassle.
1. Plan your time.
It may seem the most obvious place to start, but time management can be a real problem for busy students. Before you start any official revision, make sure to plan for the next couple of weeks. Whether you draw up a timetable, write it in your diary or use your calendar on your phone, make sure you know exactly what you’re going to revise and when. There is nothing worse than turning up to the library or settling yourself down to work and not knowing where to start. Planning is key.
2. Make sure to take lots of study breaks
A fact that can probably be backed up by the majority of Edinburgh students is that, in terms of revising, the human concentration span can only really last for around half an hour. Taking study breaks may seem counterproductive but in reality, they are vital to the structure of your revision session. An easy way of building them into your routine is by setting a timer on your phone for anywhere between 20 -30 minutes and working solidly until it goes off. That being said, try and keep your breaks brief. Short and sweet is better than long and lazy. Make sure to do something completely different and non-study related in your breaks. Good examples of break fillers include making a cup of tea (or equivalent beverage for your non-tea drinkers) or stepping outside for some fresh air. A change of scenery is always useful.
3. Don’t be confined to note taking
It’s fair to say that most of us, at one point or another, have fallen into the trap of monotonous and unhelpful note taking. Writing out your lecturer’s slides word for word is not a good way to learn. Instead, why not try making up your own practice questions and asking a friend to test you? Why not try teaching one of your topics to a friend from a different course? Although not for everyone, a more practical and active approach to revision will keep your brain on its toes and stop you from falling into the trap of procrastination.
4. Set achievable goals
Set goals are essential to revision. When planning your time out, be sure to set yourself realistic and worthwhile goals. Instead of attempting to revise a whole section all at once, why not take one lecture at a time. It’s far more overwhelming trying to cram everything into one revision session than it is spreading your time and content out. If you’ve finished going through your notes then maybe set yourself goals based on practice papers or revision questions. Make sure to treat yourself every time you complete a past paper question or finish a section of notes. This will help to keep you motivated, no matter how small the treat; whether it’s a bar of chocolate or five minutes on your phone, every little thing will help.
5. Try not to stress. Just think: it’s nearly Christmas!
It’s easier said than done, but getting yourself overly worked up about exams is really not worth it. Any form of assessment can be particularly stressful, and for the majority of students, exams can provide an unwanted and unneeded amount of anxiety. Each evening try and do something which takes your mind off exams. Make sure to set a time out each day when you can completely relax, whether it be watching your current Netflix favourite, chatting with your friends or reading a (non-study related) book. Zoning out from the stress of academic work is a must. Through all of this, let’s not forget that at the end of this tough period comes arguably the best time of the year, so focus on getting through exams and enjoying the wonderful Christmas period.
image: Meditations via Pixabay