It’s that time of year again, where the sun starts to shine, the evenings get longer, and there’s a general carefree atmosphere around campus. But wait a second, because that’s not quite true, is it? There’s something lurking just around the corner, making your knuckles sweat, and giving you an unpleasant feeling in your stomach. We’re talking about exams, and even thinking about them can be enough to send you into a naked panic. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. Because our guide to preparing a sensible study routine, keeping yourself in shape, and managing stress is here to put an arm around your shoulder and tell you that you’ve got this.
Organise your study space
It’s time to find out if there’s actually a desk underneath all those folders, paper and discarded flyers. If so, now is the time to organise your laptop, notes and textbooks ready for your study schedule. Oh, and make sure you’ve removed any distractions. That means limiting your laptop Facebook access and removing those addictive games.
Check your light source to ensure you won’t strain your eyes, and make sure your chair isn’t going to hurt your back. Don’t make yourself too comfortable though, because you don’t want to wake up with spilt coffee and wet paper stuck to the side of your face at 3 am.
Actually, avoid those cramming sessions and all-nighters
Nobody is suggesting you have to sit for hours and hours cramming information into your brain. In fact, we’re actually saying don’t do that. It’s far better to dip into your studies for half an hour or so at a time and then take a little breather. Go eat some nuts, or take a walk around the block before you start your next study stint.
And those all-nighters that many students pull during the run-up to exams? They’re actually a bad idea. Research suggests that those sleep-free nocturnal study sessions can impair your memory and reasoning for days afterwards, and could leave you stumbling into exams and struggling to focus when you need it most.
So, sleep more and study less. Not bad advice, eh?
Whichever genius decided to put exams on during the hottest months of the year wasn’t thinking about the temptation of beer gardens, especially during times of stress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your study materials down to the park when it’s a nice day. You could even slide yourself into a discrete booth at a coffee house or library and bone up on a few chapters of text. In fact, fresh air and a change of scenery are great ways to help your brain soak up more information. But remember, resist the temptation of that beer garden, because bringing your study notes to the bar is never going to work.
Do sweat the exams
Not only will exercise make you feel better, reduce overall stress levels and keep you healthy, but it can improve your memory. In fact, just twenty minutes of dancing, jogging or even fast-paced walking is enough to get your brain primed for information storage. So whether you’ve got an exercise routine already, or are thinking about it, get that tracksuit on and start busting some shapes.
Eat brain food
That energy drink might give you a boost for an hour or so whilst you’re studying, but before you know it, your energy levels will come crashing down and you won’t be able to focus. In fact, any sugary, carby, (and, yes, let’s face it, delicious), junk food is going to hinder your exam prep game. So save the burger for after exam season if you must, and instead stock up on nuts, seeds, yogurts and berries. Oh, and get some oily fish into your diet. All these foods are great for aiding concentration in ways that a hotdog or pot noodle simply isn’t. And when it comes to the exam day, don’t skip breakfast. Make sure you eat well, so you’ll get slow release energy throughout the exam, no matter if it’s fifty minutes or three hours.
The night before
Apart from double checking your alarm is set, what’s the best way to spend the night before an exam? Watch your favourite show, talk to friends, and generally find a way to make yourself laugh. It’ll relax you, lower your stress levels, and give you a better shot at a good night’s sleep. And if you feel the need to do a little last-minute revision, go ahead, but know when to stop. Sleep is just as important.
Studying in style
At the end of the day, everyone prepares for their exams in a different way. But making the time now to actually have a plan is important and will give you your best chance at getting the grades you want. And if you’re looking for a comfortable, stable and relaxing base with plenty of room to study, then take a look at what we’ve got on offer.