student life

Seven things not to do during the exam period

It’s that time of year again when it’s time to dig out your old notes, spend long days in the library and stock up on energy-rich foods.

It’s that time of year again when it’s time to dig out your old notes, spend long days in the library and stock up on energy-rich foods. You can’t quite start getting ready for summer until those all-important exams are out of the way, so until then it’s important to persevere and stay motivated until the end.

It’s easy to say what you should do during the exam period (study, of course) but this student generation is living in a world full of distractions that can stop us achieving our potential. So, if you can avoid doing these 7 things for the next few weeks, you should be able to tackle those end-of-year assessments with confidence.

DON’T keep refreshing your news feed

In the age of social media, it’s always tempting to have a quick scroll through your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feed but resist! If you don’t, before you know it, you’ll be watching YouTube videos, taking BuzzFeed quizzes and precious minutes will have flown by.

Resort to desperate measures if you have to. I deleted Facebook from my phone for a week and it felt so liberating. Other people have let their friends change their passwords, installed software that temporarily blocks access to certain websites and deactivated accounts. Do what you have to do and limit your usage– your digital life doesn’t need your constant care.

DON’T use a degree calculator

Lots of universities these days are providing degree calculators to help students work out what marks they need to achieve the grade they want. Friends of mine that have used them throughout the year have been constantly stressing out about meaningless numbers but what’s the point of working these things out?

You can never predict the exact mark you’ll get so surely it’s a more productive use of your time to just work on performing as well as you can. If you feel like you need to know, then do the calculations once the submissions and exams are over because, at the end of the day, if your best doesn’t end up being good enough then there’s not much else you can do.

DON’T let your diet slip

The tendency to develop a dependency on energy drinks and takeaways is always common during the exam period. We know they’re bad for us but we can’t help but rely on them to help us through long days (and occasional all-nighters!). Of course, there is some truth to the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ saying, so it’s important to try and maintain a balanced diet and not reply too much on caffeine, sugar and fast food. Your body and your bank balance will thank you afterwards.

DON’T get ill

There is nothing worse than falling ill during the exam period. Finding yourself bed-ridden and missing out on days of revision leaves you falling behind and ends up stressing you out even more. This is an additional motive to make sure you’re dressing sensibly and keeping healthy even when it might not be cool or convenient to do so. No-one likes a chronic cougher or nose-blower in the library!

DON’T let the sun distract you

The weather has a habit of improving dramatically just as the exam period starts – just take last week’s 3-day heat wave! As students, we’ll take any excuse to go down the local park with a few beers and soak up the sun but this can be quite the distraction. Being out in the sun makes you feel more tired and this means you can lose a day of productivity.

While everyone understands that the Great British summer is notoriously short and should be made the most of, revising for exams ought to take priority… and anyway, the sun will still be around when you’ve finished (hopefully!).  

DON’T spend too much time procrastinating

No, the exam period is not the best time to start watching a new series on Netflix! By all means, taking time out to de-stress and do something other than revision is normal and healthy but finding something more enjoyable to do will mean you always have a temptation to fall upon.

Instead of giving in to distractions around you (and if you’re lacking in motivation), plan treats and rewards for yourself when you reach revision targets and finish exams. You’ll enjoy them much more then.

DON’T be underprepared

Finally, probably the most boring (and obvious!) piece of advice is to make sure you do some useful revision! Do practice papers, discuss ideas with your friends and make the most of resources, time and people to make sure you enter that exam room as prepared as you can be so you can leave with no regrets!

Good luck to all!

What do you think? How are you getting through the exam period? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: Gnarlycraig / Wikimedia Commons