Studying for exams can be a stressful time, but with some careful planning and consideration it can feel a little less daunting. At Collegiate, we believe in taking a holistic approach – from precision planning to mindful mornings, we hope our handy guide can help you with the all-important exam preparation.
It’s all too easy to say ‘once I’ve done X, I’ll do Y.’ So, get those tasks done. Whether it’s tidying up your accommodation, rearranging your desk or getting the coffee brewing; prioritise and don’t leave yourself any excuses not to start. Get out your books and pens, and have a water bottle to hand so you’re ready to go as soon as you sit down at your desk.
Plan your revision
A good plan can really help when studying for exams. You can easily make a revision timetable online or draw one from scratch. Whichever medium you prefer, treat like a mindfulness activity. The more positive action you can attach to revision (especially when it can become so arduous) the better!
Protect your time
Cutting out technology entirely simply isn’t realistic, it’s likely you’ll at least need your laptop to get your revision done. However, when you’re studying for exams you can still protect your time by staying off social media, emails or any other time-consuming sites. It’s easy to get lost in your favourites – websites are pretty much designed to keep you on them – however, an app like KeepMeOut will actively limit your time on them if you need a little extra boost.
Make yourself unavailable
Not all technology is off the hook, of course. When you’re deep in exam preparation, it’s best to keep your phone out of sight. Put it on silent, turn notifications off or put it in a drawer (do all three if you need to!). Above all, keep it away from your study space so you aren’t tempted to tap the home screen and only check it when you’re taking a break from studying.
Find your flow
We all have different rhythms, and preparing for exams can feel a whole lot easier when you come to understand yours. If you hate early mornings, there’s no point trying to get up and study at 7am. Equally, if you know your mind is sharper in the morning, it makes sense to consciously go to bed earlier. Your study days don’t always have to follow a typical 9-5 pattern so play around with times that work for you.
Boost your learning
Your natural starting point is of course your course notes, lectures, books etc. But there’s a world of information available online to supplement your learning. A cursory Google search for free online courses opens a wealth of knowledge and resources such as Future Learn, Skillshare and Masterclass. Trying searching #education on YouTube or check out the University of Reddit subthread where fellow users happily impart their knowledge on specific subjects. Every little helps when it comes to exam preparation!
Experiment with learning
There’s a good chance you’re revising in the same way you did at school, which is fine but switching things up might help to keep things fresh. If you haven’t before try flashcards, post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, ask your friends to quiz you – there’s plenty of ways to get creative with it. You’ll also find lots of exam studying tips online and from us too, of course.
Rest and recharge
It’s worth remembering that it’s not just the hours you put into exam preparation but what you actually do in those hours. Keeping on top of your health and wellbeing is much more conducive to productivity. Simple things like drinking plenty of water, having healthy snacks to hand, regular breaks and exercise can make a world of difference. Setting a timer can help make sure you take breaks but be sure to move around and make an effort to look away from your screens. You’ll be amazed how fresh things can look after just five minutes away!
Take time away
The lines can get very blurred in your living space, after all it’s likely where you cook, sleep, dress, exercise etc. Luckily Collegiate’s accommodation offers space and common areas when you need a change of scenery to study or relax. However, it can also help to create a shutting down ritual to help signal that you’re not studying anymore. Even just tidying away your study materials and laptop into a drawer or box can help.
Come the day of your exam, it can be so tempting to cram and re-read everything you’ve done but studies suggest this is not the way to go. Instead focus on keeping nerves and potential anxiety at bay; go for a walk, do a meditation, maybe leave enough time to pick yourself up a coffee before you go in, whatever you like to do to feel calm. If you’ve planned, prepped, rested and revised then you know you’ve gone in and given yourself the best possible chance.
Collegiate is dedicated to offering the best student experience possible by creating stylish living spaces that support your studies and benefit your wellbeing. Check out our student accommodation to find out what’s on offer for you or get in touch with our team who’ll be happy to chat through options with you.
Head over to our student advice hub that’s packed with practical guides and top tips on making the most of your study time at university.