Beating the exam blues

By Jennifer Constable, Editor-in-Chief (@Peculiar_Jenny)

Another academic year is nearly over; the days are getting longer; the pollen count is getting higher, and visions of long, warm evenings spent in fairy light lit beer gardens are almost within our reach. However, for those of us who have exams to endure as part of this semester’s curriculum diet, these hazy summer daydreams seem a whole other world away.

We can all agree here that exams are the bane of our university life; effectively a glorified test of how much information we can memorise and regurgitate (without really properly understanding) in a three hour period, to account for a whopping 60% of our overall grade. So while, yes, they might be infuriating, they’re sadly very important, and for most of us, out future academic prospects; be it within uni or in the outside world, hinge on how well we do in them.

As an honours year student, almost at the end of my undergraduate journey, it is my wish, in this article, to impart the wisdom that can only be gained from four years worth of all nighters, as to the best way to prepare for your exam diet, and how to beat the exam blues. I’ve stayed cleared of the usual advice you “work out” and “meditate” because, lets be serious, who has time for that?

Classical Music

For me, I personally find it hard to study effectively when I’m listening to lyrical music; trying to deconstruct the motivating factors behind the cold war becomes increasingly more difficult when they’re competing for attention with the likes of Little Mix. If you want to get productive studying done, without the danger of finding yourself singing along with ‘Touch’ on level one of the Andersonian, I’d recommend downloading some classical soundtracks to your phone; enough to stimulate your brain and calm you down, but not enough to completely occupy your attention.

Deactivate your social media

Deactivating your social media, in my experience, is crucial for keeping yourself focussed on your exams. Living in an age where our social media accounts are logged into our phones, it can feel difficult to escape from the social media bubble; compulsively refreshing our pages every ten minutes in case we miss something. Deactivating your accounts temporarily can remove this temptation and help to effectively de-clutter your mind. You can even download some apps if which effectively lock your phone for a period of time so you physically can’t check into your Instagram, even if you want to.

Swap coffee for tea

While many of us turn to our tried and tested cappuccinos for sustenance in times of academic anxiety, swapping your regular coffee for a nice early grey can be just as effective and less damaging to your mental wellbeing. Coffee has be proven to increase our anxiety, which is surely the last thing we need in the middle of exam season. A nice cup of tea can give you a welcome dose of caffeine, without completely destroying our sleep pattern, and setting our nerves on edge.