Once again it’s everyone’s favourite time of year. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about exam season! (Don’t worry, I am being sarcastic.) Unfortunately, no matter how much we hate them, exams are an inevitable part of University. Here’s a few of the tips I’ve learned over the years that you might find useful for the upcoming exam time.
Find Your Perfect Place
Manchester offers so many different places to study, you’re almost spoiled for choice. Despite this, most people end up studying in the Ali G or the Main Library, which can both be an absolute nightmare when you’re trying to get a seat past 10am. For me, I actually like to get a change of scenery every couple of hours, otherwise I tend to lose focus. It’s also a good break walking between different locations.
My favourite spots are the coveted group rooms in Ali G, Stopford Library, the Atrium in Uni Place and the study space in Manchester Museum. Sometimes I’ll even make the trek to John Rylands to feel like I’m studying at Hogwarts, just look how pretty it is! But some days I do enjoy working from home, and I can save an hour of travelling which means more time for studying… or sleep.
Finding your perfect place to study definitely comes into this one. It’s all about you and how you work best. Knowing which environment you thrive in is only part of it. Do you work better with music, or in total silence? Do you like to be surrounded by other people or alone? What time of the day are you most productive? Do you like writing loads of notes or making colourful flashcards with lots of diagrams? How long can you concentrate before giving up and scrolling through your Facebook feed?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you take the time to figure out what works best for you. No two people will be exactly the same when it comes to revision, and you might find that your techniques even vary from module to module. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach, it might make the world of difference!
Now you know how you best work, it’s time to get the tricks of the trade. For me, I love having pens in a million different colours to help jazz up my notes. I also have friends who like to cover their rooms in post-it notes of facts and figures. Whatever you need to suit your revision style, make sure you stock up.
I’m sure this isn’t a new piece of advice, but it’s one that’s definitely worth repeating. Make sure you have structure to your revision days, because habits are so much easier to keep up with if you repeat them daily. Also look ahead to any coursework deadlines you have, or any days off that you might need, and factor those into your planning.
Give Yourself a Break
Whilst your planning your revision day schedule, make sure you give yourself some time to relax. You’ll be much happier if you have regular breaks for tea, coffee or snacks rather than staring blankly at a computer screen for hours on end. It’s a good idea to actually set a timer on your phone to remind you to take a break. When you start working, set the timer for about half an hour, and when it goes off you have to step away from your computer or notes to stretch your legs or just doing something else unrelated to studying. It’s also important that you set a designated time to be finished with work for the day so you can come home and get to bed. These little breaks and good sleep will make you much more productive in the long run!