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What to do when you’ve finished your exams (the ultimate guide)

There’s always a large build-up when it comes to exam season – you spend so much time studying that you forget what a normal day-to-day routine looks like. So, it’s only natural to feel absolutely liberated once your final exam is over!

But one big question remains – what do I do next?

To give you some ideas, we’ve come up with a list of things you can (finally) do. Whether it’s looking into summer opportunities or exploring more of the city, there’s plenty to do now that you have free time:

Explore the city

One great thing about Manchester is that it’s always evolving – there’s always something new to see. Content Ambassador Lina found this out during her street art tour – why not take a look and see what’s changed since Lina saw herself? (Hint: a certain Arya Stark has made an appearance in the Northern Quarter, we hear…)

There’s also plenty to see at the Manchester Art Gallery (Content Ambassador Mickey has provided a short tour of the Gallery). The newest exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, which questions why people are brought together. And don’t forget – we’re hosting our very own Peterloo Massacre exhibition at the John Rylands Library – it’s definitely worth a visit.

If you like your music, there are some great events taking place (we’re definitely not jealous of anyone who got Spice Girl tickets…). If you love your dance music, get yourself to HOME which is celebrating the evolution of dance (a journey from Bach to Beyonce).

Thinking about doing some shopping? Why not venture out to the Trafford Centre where you’ll find plenty of shops, lots of places to eat…and the world’s largest chandelier! Content Ambassador Malaika has you covered with all the details about how to get there and her top recommendations.

Plan for working over the summer

Now’s the time to get yourself organised for the summer!

If you’re thinking about working over the summer or you’ve secured a job after you’ve graduated, you’ll need to think about preparations. Have you organised your travel? Do you still need to purchase any uniform/suitable clothing? Are there any more questions you need to ask your employer before starting?

Funding your work experience can be slightly difficult. However, there’s still time for you to apply for one of the Career Service’s Work Experience Bursary Scheme which can cover some of the cost.

Or, if you haven’t got anything planned, it’s a great time to start searching. The Careers Service have some great advice on how you can look for part-time work, and there are lots of graduate vacancies on CareersLink.

We’ve got much more information on how you can make the most out of summer work experience (including a handy guide from Content Ambassador Nana) for those who are returning to the University next year.

We’ve also got our ‘Graduating this summer – what next?‘ guide for those of you who are graduating so you can browse through some options for your post-university career.

Finish the Ethical Grand Challenges

Second- and third-/final-years still have the chance to complete their matching Ethical Grand Challenges (which can be completed online).

Second-years have until Friday 14 June (23:59 GMT) to complete the Social Justice Challenge.

Third-/final-years have until Friday 7 June (23:59 GMT) to complete the Workplace Ethics Challenge.

Remember – you need to complete all three Ethical Grand Challenges to be eligible for the Stellify Award.

Plan for travelling over the summer

You might just want a break from Manchester after all the hard work you’ve committed. If you’re thinking of staying in the UK, you’ve got the Peak District right on your doorstep and many other cities in the North to explore.

Going abroad is also an option. It’s never too late to book a holiday now that we have the internet! Check out lastminute.com to see if there are any cheaper vacations you want to go on.

Content Ambassador might have been blogging about taking a study break abroad, but it’s well worth reading her article on city breaks abroad, which includes her top tips on booking holidays. Plus, you might find some inspiration for potential destinations!

Give it, don’t bin it!

Sadly, it’s time to pack up your stuff from your student accommodation. However, when you’re packing up your belongings, think about how useful some of your things are (Marie Kondo-style) and consider donating any unwanted items.

Last year, our Give It Don’t Bin It scheme collected just over £511,000-worth of donations, as well as the equivalent of 2,300 meals from donations to foodbanks.

For more information on how you can donate, check out our Give It Don’t Bin It article.

Sort out your deposit

Another less exciting task to do. But, it’s really important that you leave your accommodation as you found it as, at the end of the day, you don’t want to lose any money.

To ensure you don’t, take a look at our top recommendations.

Have a celebratory meal

There are so many restaurants across Manchester to eat at, and what’s not to like about being with your mates and eating good food?

Check out student blogger Cristina’s top recommendations or if you’re veggie or vegan, Daria has some great places to eat.

If you’re thinking of saving a bit of money, you could get creative – you could host your own Come Dine With Me and rate each other’s meals (just be careful not to give anyone a 0!)

Do all the things you wanted to do during exams

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for – you can procrastinate guilty-free! Take the opportunity to spend some time with the mates you were unable to see over exams, restart an exercise routine or even just sit back, relax and leave Netflix on autoplay.

Stay in touch with us!

Although you won’t be on campus, it’ll be useful to follow our social media accounts so you can keep up-to-date with everything that’s happening before your return (or, if you’re a final-year, to relive all the nostalgic memories!)

Make sure you’re following Students at Manchester and My Manchester News for all the latest bits of news and exclusive video content!


We hope you enjoy yourselves now that you are exam-free! Have fun, stay safe and (hopefully) take advantage of the nice weather!

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