The summer exam season has reared its ugly head again, and university students from all over the UK are busy preparing (or getting ready to cram!) for their final assessments.
Summer is approaching, and the days are becoming warmer and longer. Revising is probably the last thing that you want to do, but it’s important to find a balance between relaxing and having fun, and studying for your exams. Now is the time to get set for May!
We have compiled a list of our top tips on preparing for the summer exam season, so that you can avoid exam panic and go in feeling refreshed and ready to take on your assessments!
Create a study plan
Creating a study plan in preparation for the summer exam season will help you to stay on top of everything that needs to be done. With a study plan, you’ll be able to manage your time more efficiently and turn revision, which might seem like an overwhelming task, into something much more manageable.
Follow these tips on creating an effective study plan for the summer exam season:
1. Write down your exam dates and any other deadlines
Once you receive your exam schedule and the dates of any other deadlines, make sure that you record them all in your study plan. This will help to keep you focused and aware of how much time you have left to study.
2. Plan for each exam
Break your exams down into topics, and decide how much time you are going to allocate to each one. Topics that you find more difficult should be deserving of more time in your study plan.
3. Tailor your study plan to how you work best
Perhaps you’re at your most productive early in the morning, or maybe you work best in the afternoon. Do you prefer to study in short bursts, or for more prolonged sessions? Take your conditions for optimum productivity into account when creating your study plan, to ensure that you get the most out of it.
4. Set realistic goals
Don’t spread yourself too thin, as this could lead to you falling short of your own expectations. It’s important that your study plan is realistic- no one can be expected to revise for 10 hours straight each day! Set smaller and more achievable daily or weekly study goals.
5. Set aside time for breaks
Taking breaks in between study sessions has been proven to boost your productivity and enhance your ability to retain information. It’s crucial that you allow yourself regular breaks in your study plan to give your brain time to consolidate and rest. A break doesn’t have to be long; even just a short ten minute break to grab a snack or phone a friend will go a long way!
Avoid procrastination by minimising distractions
It can be tough to stay focused whilst studying, but minimising distractions around you should help. Keeping your phone in a different room or on ‘do not disturb’ mode so you are not tempted by social media or distracted by notifications is a good idea. You should also remove any clutter from around you whilst studying, and try to sit somewhere without a lot of noise.
Find the study strategy that is most effective for you
There are many different ways to study; there isn’t one strategy that is better than another. Find out what works best for you through trial and error.
Two popular study strategies are the active recall method and the Pomodoro technique.
- Active recall is a study strategy that helps to extract information from your brain and expose any gaps in your knowledge. This strategy will give you a better understanding of what you do and don’t remember from so far this semester, and will show you which topics you need to focus on more. Check out this YouTube video for more information on the active recall method.
- The Pomodoro method is a study strategy that involves breaking your revision down into shorter sessions, with each session followed by a short break. This video explains the technique in more depth.
Some other strategies that you could integrate into your studies are:
- Flashcards: turn your notes into bite-size chunks of information using flashcards. Write out formulae, key concepts, quotes, and anything else you need to remember onto your flashcards and test yourself using them. As flashcards are portable, they are perfect for studying whilst out and about.
- Past papers: you could revise by practising past exam papers. Your university should have exam papers and mark schemes from previous years available for you to print and study with.
Practise healthy habits
Preparing for the summer exam season is not all about studying. You also need to care for yourself mentally and physically to ensure that you’re in a fit state when it rolls around.
Healthy habits include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly (even light exercise like walking counts) and drinking plenty of water.
Keep your body and your mind healthy to help you achieve the best results in your exams!
Allow yourself time to relax
Don’t forget that you deserve a break! You shouldn’t be studying 24/7: hang out with your family and friends, take part in activities that you enjoy, and take time to recuperate before the summer exam season begins. Giving yourself regular downtime from your studies will help you to avoid the dreaded burn out.
Optimise your study space
The environment in which you study can have a huge impact on your productivity. In the lead up to exam season, devote some time to optimising your study space.
- Keep your workspace clean and tidy. Spend a few minutes at the end of each study day wiping down your desk and removing any clutter that might have built up.
- If possible, study somewhere as quiet as possible. If your study space is too loud you might find it difficult to focus. Situate yourself away from any street-facing windows, and if you are living with other people, request that they keep noise to a minimum whilst you study. If this is not possible, it could be worth investing in some noise-cancelling headphones.
- Make your study space a place that you like to be in. Maybe you could set up some fairy lights, or have a houseplant and photos on your desk.
Ask for help if you need it
There is absolutely zero shame in asking for help. Summer exam season is a really testing time and finding it difficult is not something to feel embarrassed about.
Your university is on hand to help. If you are struggling academically, it’s important to get into contact with your teaching staff, who may be able to provide additional resources or advice. If your mental health is suffering, your university should have wellbeing and mental health support services.
Student Minds created this useful resource on dealing with exam stress, which also signposts different places to seek help from.
Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome