Once you graduate you’re more than likely to be in a full-time job with regular hours so you may as well get into this pattern now. Treat your revision with the discipline of a full-time job and your brain will get used to working at these times, making you extra productive at certain times of the day. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean 9-5, five days a week. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to experiment; if you find it easiest to concentrate in the evenings treat yourself to a social morning or a lie-in knowing you’ll get your head down later in the day. Just make sure you’re accountable and not cheating yourself out of giving this your best shot – no one knows your procrastination techniques better than you!
You are allowed to have fun during exam season! It can be easy to fall into a vicious circle where you feel guilty about any time spent away from your desk. You don’t need to be revising 24/7 and giving yourself a complete break gives your brain the chance to reenergise and you’ll come back to your desk refreshed – and as a result will revise more efficiently.
Align your timings with friends and course mates and plan short activities together as breaks; grabbing a drink (non-alcoholic!) or playing a game of pool are a great way to take a break without completely switching off from your work.
If possible, revise away from your bedroom to avoid cabin fever. That physical distance will also do wonders mentally; your bedroom will remain exclusively a relaxation space and as a result you’ll sleep better and be much better rested. The fresh air you get on the way to your chosen revision space should mean you arrive with a clear head, energised and raring to go.
Don’t just sit down and open your books. It’s so important to have a clear plan of action for your revision, with digestible and achievable targets. Take the time to review this at the beginning and end of each day so that you know exactly how you’re doing; this should be rewarding and motivating and help prevent your workload from becoming overwhelming.
As an added bonus, you can refer back to this revision timetable in any future interviews as an example of your time management and organisation skills. Find out what other key skills employers are looking for here.
Make your plan realistic. Exams are draining – it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to come out of an afternoon exam and do any more useful revision that day for your next one. Give yourself the evening off, have some fun and try not to dwell on how the exam went!
Eating well during exam season is one of the easiest ways to keep your body – and more importantly your mind – in peak condition to tackle those exams. Investing some planning time in your meals is well worth the pay-off. Why not make your list first then do an online shop? This saves that precious time you feel you can’t spend anywhere but with your books. Make sure you have lots of healthy snacks – nuts and dried fruits are great – to nibble on while you work.
Try and avoid relying on caffeine and energy drinks if you are not used to them; getting plenty of sleep, eating in moderation and exercising regularly should keep you stable, feeling healthy and able to work the most effectively. Drinking water to stay hydrated should leave you alert and focused without an unnatural high that can be followed by a lethargy-inducing sugar crash. Health authorities recommend taking on two litres of water a day.
Nothing relieves stress as well as exercise. Whether this is your bike ride to university and back or a kick-around post-exam with friends, incorporating at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your day will pay dividends in leaving you relaxed and ready to tackle the next subject.
Finally – stay focused and remind yourself why you’re doing your exams in the first place. This time won’t last forever and once it’s over the satisfaction of knowing there was nothing more you could do will make all the sacrifices well worth it. At the end of the day you’re working for yourself so make yourself proud. And just think of that summer break!
If your exam focus means you’re yet to secure yourself an internship for the summer or a graduate job for September, don’t panic. Many of our opportunities are still open for applications so keep checking back with IP Careers for the latest IP jobs from top employers.