Name one person who enjoys exams. Just one. Stuck? That’s what I thought. Exams have to be, without a doubt, the absolute worst time of the year. Forget the annual trip to your great aunt Doreen’s for broccoli soup, the day when you find out you’ve lost your flat’s security deposit, or the entire month of January – exam time sucks so much more than all of the above, and has to be the most stressful, depressing and downright unpleasant part of your year. Who invented testing as a fair form of working out how much someone knows anyway? They ought to be tied to a lamppost every exam time and be subjected to exam questions from every exam-hating passerby. Which will include the whole population, obviously.
There are ways, however, to make exam season less tragically painful. Although they are extremely few and very far between, they do exist – and may just save your sanity for the upcoming weeks of testing.
YOU WILL NEED
- a positive attitude
- Be prepared. Print out and colour code your exam timetable, write it into your diary, or tattoo it onto your forehead; if it makes you remember it, do it.
- Stock up on stationary – it’s a great excuse to go crazy and buy every possible colour of post-it notes and sparkly gel pens (definite necessities)
- Take short 5 minute breaks every hour of studying to keep yourself energised. This might include a walk around your flat, a few sit-ups… or my personal favourite, singing the Mulan soundtrack with my flatmates. Knowing ‘Be a Man’ is on the cards after another hour of study is a terrific motivator.
- You’ve probably worked out your best studying environment by now, so make sure you actually work there; be it at home or in the library, with or without music, or whatever – now is not the time to try and change these habits; stick to what you know works and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Or not fail miserably at least.
- Reward yourself every time you get a certain amount done. For example, when I cover a topic I reward myself by watching Maury videos (you know, the American Jeremy Kyle). The people on this can only make you feel infinitely better about your life as they are mostly 13 years old, pregnant, have around 7 potential baby daddys and wear the worst clothes ever. Funny and self-esteem boosting.
- Eat well, ’cause exams are bad enough without the inevitable comfort-eating weight gain or face full of spots. And getting your 5-a-day makes your brain work better apparently.
There’s no denying that exams will always be horrendous, no matter how you approach them – but doing even some of the above may help you feel a bit less stressed or at least less suicidal. Preparation is key when tackling them, so stop leaving things to the last minute, we all know cramming is never the answer. Go all Bear Grylls and view exams as being a situation you can make the most of to survive and succeed. But for the love of God, don’t ever try to drink your own piss. Please.