Is it sad that I now associate better weather and warmer temperatures with looming exams? It’s April! Ie. time to get stressed out about exams if you’re a student of any kind (if you aren’t, well… pfft, stop gloating). Exams are a pretty integral part of life in society nowadays, and it’s pretty much unheard of to not have had to deal with one at some stage in life. Here is a collection of things to remember during exam season – they’ve kept me sane, they’ve kept me alive, they’ve kept me going. Let’s get to it.
Also, you know when you write a blog post and it masquerades as a slightly more persistent reminder to yourself? Yeah well, we got ourselves one of those today.
Know what you need to accomplish.
Anyone who asks me an innocuous “How are you?” around March onwards will probably get some variation of “Ugh I have so much to do”. Before you launch into hardcore revision, know exactly how much you need to get done. I’m a serial list maker and I find this so helpful – whether it’s a list of notes you haven’t written up, areas that require more reading, or stationery you need, write it down. It’ll help put things into perspective and stop you from blindly freaking out.
Do it the way you do it best.
Everyone learns differently. Everyone sure as hell revises differently too. Just because the person who gets the highest grades in your year revises a certain way, this does NOT mean that you should too. Sure, learn good traits from everyone you meet and be inspired by people who do well, but don’t copy them in the hopes of achieving similar levels of success. You do you.
Keep it interactive.
This being said, reading a textbook over and over doesn’t often help too much. It’s a good idea to actively involve yourself in your learning as much as you can. I’m personally a huge fan of drawing flow diagrams, summarising notes by hand and making posters. If you’re revising something mathsy, practise those calculations by hand and you’ll soon find them much more instinctive! Don’t be afraid to summarise something you’ve just read out loud, as if you were teaching it to someone else with no contextual knowledge whatsoever. Teaching someone often teaches us even more – blog post on this coming soon.
Look for the good stuff.
Sometimes, the material is so dull that you just want to crack your skull open, I know. It’s all about finding something in it that you enjoy – I tend to do better at things once I’ve spent some time getting to know them and finding elements that appeal to me. It took me a while to discover this in my degree, but once I did, I never looked back. It’s honestly one of the best feelings you could have.
Exams are not what life should be about.
Amidst all your exam stress, keep a healthy perspective on things. We should be striving to be better human beings who live a life full of passion, mistakes and colour – not good exam takers. There is so much more to life than getting above 70% or coming top of your class. Remember that not everyone has had the experiences you’ve had, the dreams you’ve dreamt and the struggles you’ve overcome. That number in red on your exam paper does not make you a more or less accomplished human being than your classmate who sits next to you in lectures.
But they do matter.
I like to think of life as a video game, and exams as a gateway to the next level. They seem almost trivial when you look back on them, but you need them to move on to the next level. Without them, you’d either be stuck at the same level for longer than you need to be, or less equipped with the power-ups you need to ace a higher level. It’s all well and fine saying that life shouldn’t revolve around them, but not doing your best at them simply because you dismiss them as a superficial part of an increasingly superficial society is just as silly – you ARE society, and exams are nothing more than a challenge, just like any other. And no, I am not a gamer.
What about you? Do you have exams coming up and if so, do you have any favourite tips on how you prepare yourself for them (and look after yourself in the process) I’d love to hear them – put them in the comments below!
On that note, I will be gearing up for exams myself for the rest of this month, so I apologise if new posts don’t appear for a while! Much love and best of luck to you with your exams, we can do this. You go girl.
Disclaimer: All images were obtained from Pixabay. The featured image was designed on canva.com by J, exclusively for thenellybean.