A British Lifestyle Blog

31 March 2015

A Guide To Studying For Your Exams, From A Gradate Who Has Been There

Around Leeds, there a many young people who have the same look about them; ashy grey faces from lack of sleep, twitching eyes from too much reading and outfits that they (if they were actually awake and not half asleep) would not be seen dead in....

Yes, it is that time again- exam time. In fact I had two lovely ladies at work who were begging me to write this post as guide to students on how to survive this time. 

I recognise these signs as I was one of them, a plucky young lady who step into my university's new building; thinking this was the start of a new beginning. Little did I know that in 8 months time I would be up every night working hard in order to pass my exams. My exams were a little different, I didn't really have a test happening on a certain date. My test was my portfolio work, so it was a year round test I was taking. That said, a few weeks before the hand in deadline, I was up sewing into the early hours of the morning, scribbling and drawing to get everything finished.

There were many tricks I tried to stay up and motivated and most of them were shit- and made me feel ten times worse once everything was done. Oddly, I repeated this process for the next two years until I graduated and I vowed that if I ever had to take an exam again (god forbid it) that I would never do this cycle ever again. So just for you students out there, here are my tips on what to do and not to do when cramming for an exam...

Do NOT Mix Pro- Plus and Energy Drinks Together
I did this and believe me, the shakes and the wide- eyed awake-ness that I felt at 3.00am when I was trying to sleep was not good. In fact I don't think I went to bed until 2.00am the next day! Instead if you need to take something to stay awake I would try tea or coffee or if you want to have some of the strong stuff, just stick to either Pro- Plus or energy drinks. Please never take both it is not worth it. 

Do Eat a Healthy Dinner
Something that I found was deciding to stuff your face with junk food right before you study, even though it is very comforting, will make you feel sluggish and your most likely will not concentrate as much as you need to (therefore you will be staying up longer than you actually need to!) Try a meal that is high in protein and carbs to give you slow releasing energy- pesto pasta (both cheap and healthy) or chicken and couscous would work a treat. 

Do NOT Sit In an Uncomfortable Situation
I think the myth is if you are sat too comfortable you will end up fall asleep. In actual fact, sitting at a desk or at a diningroom table in a hard wooden chair for hours on end will hurt your back, make you feed awful and again, you will end up taking longer to finish the work. Sitting on the sofa or on your bed with lots of support will help you back and get you in a good position to power through. 

Do Take Breaks
Something I never did, figuring the more time I sat there and did the work, the quicker I would be done. Thinking about it now, doing the work with short breaks would have actually been better. Think about it, if your doing the work at night, the light is going to be bad so your eyes are going to be straining, your going to be sat still for a long time, which is definitely not good for you. I would recommend a break every 45 mins- 1 hour for about 15 minutes; it will allow you to stretch your leg, rest your eyes and get that much need snack as a reward for all that hard work you have done so far. 

Do NOT Forget To Drink Water 
I am like a camel and can go for quite a while without drinking water (I am talking about 5 hours as a record- one not to be proud of) and quite frankly it is ridiculous to think you can go through pulling an all nighter without it. Your brain is made up of 75% water, and you are working that little noggin hard so remember to keep yourself hydrated. 

Do Reward Yourself With Rest Afterwards
The best thing to do after an all nighter is to pull what ever comfortable clothes you have, head to where you need to hand your essay/ work into and then go straight back to bed. Rest your body and please NEVER do a few all- nighters in a row, no exam/ essay is worth it. And please, please, please NEVER EVER do an all nighter the night before an exam. You need sleep for the big thing and if your brain hasn't absorb it by then, it never will. 

Good luck to all the students out there and if you have any tips, please leave a comment bellow! 


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